F-16 Pitot tube and Angle of Attack probes
In case you have already perused my review on the Master F-14 Alpha and Angle of Attack probe, this review was an added bonus when I voiced my interest to the Reviewer Corps. Unlike the Tomcat with a broken probe, I did not have a Viper in need of repair, nor did I have one assembled to add the parts to, but of course, I did have one or two sitting in my stash (there may be more, but please do not tell my wife). For the purpose of this review, I compared the Master set with what is provided in the Monogram release of a few years ago, which is actually a Revell Germany kit (according to the sprues anyway).
With this item, which is part of their Air Master line, you receive a pitot tube (the large tube on the front of the nose cone) as well as two Angle of Attack (or AOA) probes, which will work on any 1/72 scale F-16 kit, even though the packaging references a Tamiya release (which I have never seen in this scale). The probes are incredibly well detailed, and will make a great difference in the appearance of the plane when installed. The shape and size are true-to-scale, and they have well engineered attachment points on them, which will make the installation, go smoothly. The AOA probes will actually be a nice addition, as the kit that I will be using this on does not have these probes represented.
As I did not have a readily available F-16 to install the parts on, I will still share my lessons learned from using their probe set for the F-14. The single greatest lesson is to use the correctly sized drill bit early, rather than starting too small and working your way up, as this caused nothing but pain and frustration for me on the Tomcat. The parts look to have the same size attachment points as those for the F-14 (in fact, the AOA probes are likely the same parts), so a number 72 bit is about the right size for your final opening. I would highly recommend starting with a bit not too much smaller if drilling a pilot hole, then moving straight to the #72. In addition, the AOA probes have a very sharp and delicate tip that can be easily bent. As I mentioned in my review on the Tomcat probes, using the glass on my workbench and tweezers, I was able to straighten the probe back out with little issue.
I think that having these probes available before I begin construction will make their installation easier for me, as there will not be any existing parts to remove and work around. As with my previous review, I would absolutely recommend these detail parts for anyone wanting to add an extra level of detail to their F-16, but would also recommend that the person have some experience with small detail parts in order to save any frustration. Another word of caution is that the AOA probes tubular bodies are also part of their attachment points, so check your references to set the correct depth, or leave the correct amount showing, depending on how you look at it.
My hits are the same as with my review on the F-14 probes in that the level of detail is just amazing for such a small scale, and with some time and patience on the part of the modeler will add some fantastic detail to your Viper, and in the case of the kit that I intend to install them on, actually adds two details that were left off. I have no misses with this item as the parts come ready to use, and should install in a matter of a minute or two. I will personally be keeping my eyes open for these products in the future for some of those kits that I have sitting in my stash patiently waiting their turn on the bench.
Before I finish, I would also like to mention that the Master web page does a great job of showing their various products nicely magnified. They also have links to both wholesale and retail carriers of their products in several countries, including the USA. Although the text is in Polish, it was not too difficult to maneuver my way around the site where they also have photographs of some of their products installed on models.
My thanks go out to the folks at Master for providing samples like mine to the IPMS-USA for review, and thanks to you for taking the time to read my appraisal.