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Tamiya 1/48 F-16C Block 52 Swamp Fox Jet


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Hi Guys, haven’t posted here in ages, but I’m back into modeling after being away from the hobby for several years.  I started on Tamiya’s excellent 1/48 F-16C a couple of months ago and figured I’d share my progress.  The subject will be the below block 52 jet of South Carolina’s Air National Guard unit. 

 

131107-Z-WT236-027

 

 

I didn't take any photos of all the aftermarket goodies I’m using back before this project started, but here’s the rundown.

The Kit: I’m starting with Tamiya’s 1/48 Thunderbird boxing (61102) since it depicts a block 52 jet, but unfortunately does not include any weapons other than AIM-9’s and AIM-120’s and an ALQ-184 pod. 

Decals: I’m using Speed Hunter Graphic’s SEAD specialists part I sheet (48007) that includes decals for 92-3922 during SC ANG’s TDY to Nellis in November 2013.  By this time, these jets had received the CCIP upgrade and BLOS radio mod, so I’m depicting these in this build. 

Cockpit:  I’m using Avionix cockpit set (BLC48018).  However, Avionix’s seat does not depict the latest ACES seat with the sheepskin covers.  I replaced it with Wolfpack’s seat (WP48092), which depicts the latest seat USAF F-16’s use

Weapons: Hasegawa’s weapons set E (X48-17) provides the necessary Sniper targeting pod and HTM targeting pod late model USAF F-16’s normally carry now.  The ACMI pod that F-16’s often carry is sourced from Hasegawa’s weapons set D (X48-8).  HARM missiles will come from Eduard (648180).  Since I’m depicting this jet carrying training missiles, the training missile markings will come from TwoBob’s training missile set 48-172.

Wheel bays: I’m using Aires’s wheel bay set (4370) along with Eduard’s undercarriage set (49390) for miscellaneous detail.

Photoetch: I’m using Eduard’s detail set (49383) for miscellaneous detail where necessary.

Engine: I started with Eduard’s Brassin P&W engine nozzle (648004), but found it was undersized compared to the kit part.  I’m using Aires’s engine nozzle (3487), as it fits much better.

Miscellaneous:  Eduard Brassin wheels (648007) and Royale Resin’s nose (R026).  I was very pleased with the fitment of the nose to the fuselage.

 

The Avionix cockpit fitment turned out pretty well. 

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ACtC-3fs1QEDcLtySa0CupjXwKaz7t8Bu4_oWbzm

 

The Aires wheel bays also fit well, but the nose gear bay did require the intake trunk be sanded paper thin to fit. 

 

ACtC-3eBxoShMdu47aEylK7czBjFaCDuImpCaAcZ

 

ACtC-3eX5cYYAJqmAvgEf0_sIAEzpwCHcDIH4ZPZ

 

ACtC-3dYWYejIP8iO0HlInQcByweVG3qBDQWcoU5

 

I scratchbuilt the JHMCS MTU that F-16”s with the CCIP upgrade have.  I also added wiring and other detail to spruce things up.  I find adding canopy detail tedious, but worth it since its very visible when the model is complete.

ACtC-3cCIBLWlo3AiRwD6z1rlFag1x68QEKUdOO0

 

ACtC-3d3OgZQ6n1FU-Mq_y61HaGGesCX0zhCI-U3

 

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ACtC-3fj5Eqir_-oQQwB4kD-OPvRnpeaNiFsK_F7

 

The BLOS radio mod panel on the tail was added by masking off the panel and spraying high-build automotive primer to simulate the raised panel.  Once tape is removed, I cleaned up the edges and drilled rivet holes around the perimeter.

 

ACtC-3c00kiZGvOWD-vWMrwxjA3fmEuieOSH1Hth

 

That’s all for now.  Next up are pylons, drop tanks, and masking for paint!

 

 

 

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Thanks for the kind words guys!  Night Owl Models, to answer your question on why I decided on SC ANG markings, I’m a native South Carolinian and I always thought it was cool that our National Guard unit has flown the latest F-16’s in the Air Force’s inventory since they were brand new.  They were even the first Guard unit to fly F-16’s in 1983.  About your question on the undercarriage, I already primed and painted them.  I recently discovered a good off-white color to use for the undercarriage, wheel bays, and intake, which is Gunze’s C69.  Although Tamiya’s kit has decals for the landing gear, I don’t think they look that realistic.  Instead, I used some placards from Mike Grant’s WWII cockpit decals set as well as Airscale’s Modern Cockpit Decal Set.

 

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ACtC-3fHihkGwlbuIPiW6NK8bU_N3kiLqZUTnJD2

 

 

The Eduard undercarriage detail set includes photoetch gear bay doors, but they look too flat to me to look realistic.  I also didn’t want to deal with bending the photoetch into the correct curvature.  Instead, I thinned down the doors in the Tamiya kit to a more realistic thickness.  I also added some riveting to the inside of the nose gear door and thinned down the nose gear door hinges.

 

ACtC-3eziJI7BF7H1cPUlhkQvem5TE2zFEiRwiBL

 

 

Finally, I simulated the holographic look of the HUD projection with Hasegawa’s TF-902 polarized film which shifts colors depending on the viewing angle. 

 

ACtC-3dwgEUblq51jvHHhmT_fshWb7kv1KknowMz

Edited by Drew T.
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On 11/6/2020 at 7:19 AM, Drew T. said:

Thanks for the kind words guys!  Night Owl Models, to answer your question on why I decided on SC ANG markings, I’m a native South Carolinian and I always thought it was cool that our National Guard unit has flown the latest F-16’s in the Air Force’s inventory since they were brand new.  They were even the first Guard unit to fly F-16’s in 1983.  About your question on the undercarriage, I already primed and painted them.  I recently discovered a good off-white color to use for the undercarriage, wheel bays, and intake, which is Gunze’s C69.  Although Tamiya’s kit has decals for the landing gear, I don’t think they look that realistic.  Instead, I used some placards from Mike Grant’s WWII cockpit decals set as well as Airscale’s Modern Cockpit Decal Set.

 

ACtC-3dAf5Yuhqu0oE5ZC7mANAG_VAbj3cqmQ8M0

 

ACtC-3fHihkGwlbuIPiW6NK8bU_N3kiLqZUTnJD2

 

 

The Eduard undercarriage detail set includes photoetch gear bay doors, but they look too flat to me to look realistic.  I also didn’t want to deal with bending the photoetch into the correct curvature.  Instead, I thinned down the doors in the Tamiya kit to a more realistic thickness.  I also added some riveting to the inside of the nose gear door and thinned down the nose gear door hinges.

 

ACtC-3eziJI7BF7H1cPUlhkQvem5TE2zFEiRwiBL

 

 

Finally, I simulated the holographic look of the HUD projection with Hasegawa’s TF-902 polarized film which shifts colors depending on the viewing angle. 

 

ACtC-3dwgEUblq51jvHHhmT_fshWb7kv1KknowMz

 

Can agree more! That Gunze color is the most realistic undercarriage white. 

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Thanks for the kind words everyone!  Janissary, the raised rivets on the IP coaming are already on the part from the Avionix cockpit set.  I just picked them out with some neutral gray paint.  The raised rivets on the gear doors are already existing from the Tamiya kit.  I used a pounce wheel style riveting tool from Galaxy Models to add some recessed rivets to the nose gear door.

 

I had a hiccup a few days ago when the paint peeled up from the IP coaming.  Apparently, I forgot to wipe the resin with denatured alcohol before painting, so the paint peeled off when I pulled up the masking tape protecting it.  It's repainted now and the paint sticks much better after a thorough cleaning.  I'm working on the drop tank pylons right now.  I've found some inaccuracies when I compare the kit parts to close-up photos of the drop tank pylons.  I'll post an update on the progress in the next few days once they are complete.

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Thanks for all kinds words guys! David, to answer your question on the canopy, after sanding the seam, I polished with Tamiya rubbing compounds. They make a coarse, fine, and finish grade. This is the first time I've used them and they work great.  I recommend them.  

 

I'll post an update in a few days. I finally finished the drop tank pylons. They took a good bit of work to fix some inaccuracies, but I'm happy with them now.  After a few more odds and ends, I'll be ready for paint.

 

Drew

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Big update today, and hopefully the last one before painting.  Below is the progress I made with the pylons.  I added some detail at the back of the LAU-118 HARM missile launchers that come in the Eduard kit based on photos from Jake Melampy’s excellent Modern Viper Guide.  I also added some detail to the Tamiya pylons with Albion tubing to replicate the sway braces.

 

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The drop tank pylons needed more work.  They should have a rectangular “bulge” right below the triangular protrusions at the top of the pylons and a long narrow “bulge” at the bottom of the pylon.  The below image shows what I’m talking about.  I replicated this with sheet styrene sanded to shape.  I also replicated what appears to be tubes sticking out from the pylon with Albion tubing and drilled a few extra holes that were missing based on photos.

 

SCANG’s first day of flying in support of ACE 19

 

 

Below are images from South Carolina’s ANG photo gallery on Flickr.  These photos are all taken from the 2012-2020 timeframe.  The rear of the drop tank pylon has what appears to be extra bracing of some type that the kit pylons don’t have. 

 

170717-Z-VD276-012

 

 

160514-Z-VD276-003

 

 

The photo link below is of a block 30 F-16C taken by David W. Aungst in 2002 and can be found in the ARC walkaround gallery.  This pylon design appears to match Tamiya’s kit and does not have the extra bracing.  It seems that at some point in the last 20 years, this pylon design was changed. 

 

http://www.arcair.com/awa01/401-500/awa409-F-16C-Aungst/23.jpg

 

Since I’m depicting a jet from 2013, I modified the kit pylons to match the later design with some sheet styrene.  You can also see that some of the panel line detail of the Tamiya parts were filled in and rescribed, since it did not match the photos.  I’ve started using Kombi Spot Putty as my go to gap and panel line filler.  It seems to shrink less than Tamiya’s putty, and it dries faster, too.  It still sands down very smooth, so I recommend it.

Honestly, I’ve probably spent more time tank pylons than its worth since they aren’t that visible, but at least they’re accurate now. 

 

 

ACtC-3e_9ZzoBdACTt2_vfWaqEXRD-RVp1FdIeTx

 

ACtC-3cpTyhRtNC3LHxXDowin_ZBN0vcHShuQb65

 

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I thinned down the lip at the rear of the drop tanks and the fins to look more realistic.

 

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ACtC-3dsPHCC8Q6yHds6CpBOvqH_scVGgbWUqdth

 

Rivets were added to the horizontal stabilizers. 

 

ACtC-3c_ZviycDOqoS6uQpmax8IGEO6qTlO9CnzV

 

I decided to go ahead and attach the HTS pod and the pylon for the Sniper targeting pod, since there are minor gaps where these mate to the sides of the intake.  It’s easier to fill these gaps now before paint.

 

ACtC-3cUi0dszLh-m3icdglTsJfoXd1JsC1xWLdp

 

ACtC-3efGZnh8a-D98JhrcOWABmsaJWQyYCj28Oj

 

That’s all for now.  Once I get all the masking done, I’ll finally be ready to paint!

 

Drew

Edited by Drew T.
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7 hours ago, Drew T. said:

 

Below are images from South Carolina’s ANG photo gallery on Flickr.  These photos are all taken from the 2012-2020 timeframe.  The rear of the drop tank pylon has what appears to be extra bracing of some type that the kit pylons don’t have. 

 

 

The photo link below is of a block 30 F-16C taken by David W. Aungst in 2002 and can be found in the ARC walkaround gallery.  This pylon design appears to match Tamiya’s kit and does not have the extra bracing.  It seems that at some point in the last 20 years, this pylon design was changed. 

 

http://www.arcair.com/awa01/401-500/awa409-F-16C-Aungst/23.jpg

 

Since I’m depicting a jet from 2013, I modified the kit pylons to match the later design with some sheet styrene.  You can also see that some of the panel line detail of the Tamiya parts were filled in and rescribed, since it did not match the photos.  I’ve started using Kombi Spot Putty as my go to gap and panel line filler.  It seems to shrink less than Tamiya’s putty, and it dries faster, too.  It still sands down very smooth, so I recommend it.

Honestly, I’ve probably spent more time tank pylons than its worth since they aren’t that visible, but at least they’re accurate now. 

 

There are two types of pylons, and you're the very first person I've ever seen to notice that Tamiya has them molded per the lesser common of the two types.  They are not incorrect, per se, but definitely not as common.  Tamiya molded the Lockheed Martin pylons, but most jets still use the Sergent Fletcher pylons.  See page 197 in the book.

 

Jake

 

 

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9 hours ago, Drew T. said:

  I also replicated what appears to be tubes sticking out from the pylon with Albion tubing.

They're not tubes, they are reversed cart retainers which hold impulse cartridges ( small explosive charges which are electrically primed ). The Weapons crew would install  them so, if the pilot needed to jettison those tanks for whatever reason, he can.

I wouldn't be too concerned with filling the gaps of the two pods which attach to the sides of the intakes. These items are removable on the jets and have gaps on them in real life.

I admire your attention to detail, keep up the great work.

Steve

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21 hours ago, arnobiz said:

Stunning work there Drew, makes me want to build mine!

 

Thanks for sharing,

 

Arnaud

Thanks Arnaud! Glad I can be a source of motivation.

 

15 hours ago, jmel said:

There are two types of pylons, and you're the very first person I've ever seen to notice that Tamiya has them molded per the lesser common of the two types.  They are not incorrect, per se, but definitely not as common.  Tamiya molded the Lockheed Martin pylons, but most jets still use the Sergent Fletcher pylons.  See page 197 in the book.

 

Jake

 

 

Thanks for the info and kind words Jake!  I didn't realize the two pylon designs are due to different suppliers. I don't have the second edition of your book, and I don't think my copy mentioned the two types of pylons.  I'm surprised no one in the aftermarket offers the Sergent Fletcher version of the pylon if most jets use it.  

 

14 hours ago, A-10 LOADER said:

They're not tubes, they are reversed cart retainers which hold impulse cartridges ( small explosive charges which are electrically primed ). The Weapons crew would install  them so, if the pilot needed to jettison those tanks for whatever reason, he can.

I wouldn't be too concerned with filling the gaps of the two pods which attach to the sides of the intakes. These items are removable on the jets and have gaps on them in real life.

I admire your attention to detail, keep up the great work.

Steve

Thanks for the info and compliments Steve!  I love finding out about these kinds of things.  I actually ended up going back and shimming with styrene the front part of the joint where the pods mate to the sides of the intake since the pods were sitting at a slight angle when they should be parallel with the ground.  I'm guessing Hasegawa designed the pods to mate with the GE big mouth intake as the box photos show.  When I use them with the smaller intake, the geometry between the two isn't exactly right.  

Drew

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On 11/18/2020 at 6:28 AM, Drew T. said:

Big update today, and hopefully the last one before painting.  Below is the progress I made with the pylons.  I added some detail at the back of the LAU-118 HARM missile launchers that come in the Eduard kit based on photos from Jake Melampy’s excellent Modern Viper Guide.  I also added some detail to the Tamiya pylons with Albion tubing to replicate the sway braces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The drop tank pylons needed more work.  They should have a rectangular “bulge” right below the triangular protrusions at the top of the pylons and a long narrow “bulge” at the bottom of the pylon.  The below image shows what I’m talking about.  I replicated this with sheet styrene sanded to shape.  I also replicated what appears to be tubes sticking out from the pylon with Albion tubing and drilled a few extra holes that were missing based on photos.

 

 

 

 

Below are images from South Carolina’s ANG photo gallery on Flickr.  These photos are all taken from the 2012-2020 timeframe.  The rear of the drop tank pylon has what appears to be extra bracing of some type that the kit pylons don’t have. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo link below is of a block 30 F-16C taken by David W. Aungst in 2002 and can be found in the ARC walkaround gallery.  This pylon design appears to match Tamiya’s kit and does not have the extra bracing.  It seems that at some point in the last 20 years, this pylon design was changed. 

 

http://www.arcair.com/awa01/401-500/awa409-F-16C-Aungst/23.jpg

 

Since I’m depicting a jet from 2013, I modified the kit pylons to match the later design with some sheet styrene.  You can also see that some of the panel line detail of the Tamiya parts were filled in and rescribed, since it did not match the photos.  I’ve started using Kombi Spot Putty as my go to gap and panel line filler.  It seems to shrink less than Tamiya’s putty, and it dries faster, too.  It still sands down very smooth, so I recommend it.

Honestly, I’ve probably spent more time tank pylons than its worth since they aren’t that visible, but at least they’re accurate now. 

 

 

ACtC-3e_9ZzoBdACTt2_vfWaqEXRD-RVp1FdIeTx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACtC-3cCHQ5hh-q2YFvEEV7C_PMDh0dfDoJqIAIp

 

 

 

I thinned down the lip at the rear of the drop tanks and the fins to look more realistic.

 

 

 

 

 

Rivets were added to the horizontal stabilizers. 

 

 

 

I decided to go ahead and attach the HTS pod and the pylon for the Sniper targeting pod, since there are minor gaps where these mate to the sides of the intake.  It’s easier to fill these gaps now before paint.

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all for now.  Once I get all the masking done, I’ll finally be ready to paint!

 

Drew

 

Your attention to detail is just awesome. Tamiya F-16 kit is brilliant out of the box. But adding so many little details needs a very keen eye. I was wondering what size of Albion tube you have used here? 

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23 hours ago, stalal said:

 

Your attention to detail is just awesome. Tamiya F-16 kit is brilliant out of the box. But adding so many little details needs a very keen eye. I was wondering what size of Albion tube you have used here? 

Hi Salal, Thanks for the kind words!  I think I used 0.4mm and 0.8mm Albion tubing on the drop tank pylons.  I have their assortment set SFT1.  I do agree that the Tamiya F-16 kit is awesome. Makes it hard to ever go back to the two Hasegawa F-16 kits I have in the stash.

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8 hours ago, SaG said:

You are elevation a great kit even higher! I love your attention to detail(ing) 👌

Thanks SaG!  One note I found on the Tamiya kit is that you have to be careful aligning the wingtip missile launchers.  I originally attached them at the same downward angle as the missile launchers under the wing.  However, as you can see in the photo I posted at the top of the thread, they wingtip missiles should be angled just a touch lower than the others.  There's enough play in the kit launchers that you can place them at the correct angle as I did below.

 

ACtC-3cmu7m5cGv2jjm_D2X-tLfuU8seeGDcGXkh

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On 11/18/2020 at 1:28 PM, Drew T. said:

 

170717-Z-VD276-012

 

BUT, I'm the pilot, why do I have to push the plane???

 

Seriously now, Drew, your project is a true seminar, which makes me think, I better switch to a more relaxing and less complicated hobby like needle-stitching!!!

 

Keep up the good work!!!

 

Bill

 

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5 hours ago, SERNAK said:

BUT, I'm the pilot, why do I have to push the plane???

 

Seriously now, Drew, your project is a true seminar, which makes me think, I better switch to a more relaxing and less complicated hobby like needle-stitching!!!

 

Keep up the good work!!!

 

Bill

 

Hi Bill, thanks for the kind words! Didn't realize the hilarity of that photo until you guys commented on it! 🤣  I do wonder why in the world the pilot is pushing his own plane????

 

44 minutes ago, Mr Matt Foley said:

Nice work on the Viper! Excellent skills with the details too! Is this going to use the Have Glass scheme? 

Thanks for the compliments! Not doing the Have Glass scheme on this one.  The decals I have are for exactly how the jet looks in the top photo.  Honestly, I prefer the original grey scheme of the Viper, the new Have Glass scheme looks too monochromatic to me.  I'm tempted to try it in the future though just for the challenge of recreating that metallic sheen it has.  Plus, it provides a better opportunity for weathering since that finish seems to get dirtier than the plain gray finish.

 

Drew

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