F-16C Baby Got Fullback Aggressors

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Base Kit
Hasegawa F-16 Block 25/32
Provided by: Twobobs Aviation Graphics - Website: Visit Site

The Air Force’s 64th Aggressor Squadron uses specially painted F-16s in fulfilling its role of simulating opposing air forces. Over the years its F-5s and F-16s have worn a wide variety of paint schemes mimicking those used by potential opponents. Last year, the Squadron painted several of its F-16s in the “Shark” and “Splinter” schemes recently observed on Russian Su-34s and the Sukhoi T-50. Two Bobs has now issued decal sheets in 1/32, 1/48 and 1/72 scales to allow modelers to depict both schemes.

Sheet 72-104 provides markings for two aircraft in the “Splinter" scheme and one in the “Shark” scheme. Two of the aircraft (one in each scheme) are Block 32 jets while the third is a block 25 jet. As I had an old Hasegawa model of an early block F-16, I decided to use it for this project. I am not an F-16 expert, so it is possible that the kit actually represents a different block number, so I apologize in advance if I did get it wrong!

The sheet provides three full sets of markings and stencils so it is possible to decal three models from this set. It also includes a set of vinyl masks for masking off some of the antennas that are a different shade on the Su-34.

The instructions sheet is double sided and in full color giving you full views of the both schemes, with half sections added where the markings between the two Splinter jets differ. Two Bobs also includes a four part color wheel for each scheme listing the FS595 colors as well as a model paint cross index listing matches for Testor’s Model Master, Humbrol, Gunze, Xtracrylics and Mr. Paint, if there are any.

I opted for the Block 25 Splinter aircraft as I like the fact that the markings include the legend “57 ATG” on the tail. I also like to use Model Master enamel paints when I can, so I dug into my paint drawer and pulled out three of the splinter colors. Testor’s does not make 36628, but I pulled out my FS 595 book and noted that it is very close in color to 36495, so I added a little white to a bottle of Model Master #1732 Light Grey (FS 36495) and used that for the lightest color. I think my bottle of 35109 must be pretty old or it did not get fully mixed as it came out a lot darker than I had expected.

One gripe I have with the instructions is that 36270 and 36251 are very close in color and shade, so while they appear very distinct on the color wheel, I could not tell which was which on the full view diagrams. I think a little note somewhere stating that the main grey is 36xxx and the radome, etc. are 36yyy, would be greatly appreciated. I therefore flipped a coin and used 36251 as the base grey for the jet with 36270 being used for the radome and the wingtip missile rails. It is possible that I lost the coin toss and these two should be reversed, but as the photos show, these two paints are very close in color.

Once the base grey was painted, it was time for masking, and lots of it. I used a combination of Tamiya tape and low tack drafting tape to lay out the splinter pattern. Please note that the upper and lower schemes are identical, not mirror images, so the bottom of the left wing is to be painted exactly like the top of the left wing, etc. As I was still trying to decide what to do for the 36628 color, I painted the blue next. Once the blue had dried, I removed all of the masking as some of the areas I just painted blue were surrounded by the 36628 color. I then masked off the areas that were going to remain either medium grey or blue and painted the white grey using my lightened 36495.

After the three main colors had dried, I masked off the radome and the wingtip missile rails and painted them 36270. Then I masked everything off and painted the metallic area around the exhaust nozzle and the nozzle itself using Metalizer shades. Finally I masked off the landing gear bays and the intake and painted these areas and the landing gear Tamiya white. When the landing gear was dry, I attached the struts and the nose gear as I prefer to let the model stand on its gear during the decaling process. Then I sprayed two coats of Future/Pledge MFF to prepare for decaling.

Two Bobs’ decals are printed by MicroScale and with the exception of the white lines around a couple of the Red Stars, they are lined up and in register. I used MicroSet and MicroSol to apply the decals and they laid down beautifully. The instructions are very helpful in figuring out where almost all of the stencils go (I ended up with a couple I could not figure out where they went) but I wish they gave a bit more information on which walkway stencils go where. I figured most of them out by trimming them close to the ends and then holding them next to the model to see where they went. I managed to get all but a couple of them in the right place, but I inadvertently installed the two short decals that make up the forward edge of the fuselage walkway around the speed brakes instead, only to discover that the decals I thought were the ones for the front of the walkway were way too long after the shorter ones had permanently been attached around the speed brakes. I therefore ended up trimming the aft walkway strips to fit up front and applied the remaining parts of these decals around on the fuselage next to the speed brakes.

Two Bobs includes two “No Push” decals for each petal on the exhaust nozzle and they look really good installed. Unfortunately the writing on these stencils is too small for my eyes, so there is strong possibility that some of these are actually upside down on my model!

Once the decals had all been applied and checked, I used an old t-shirt to wash off the decal residue and then sealed everything with another coat of Future followed by a final coat of Testor's flat.

Even with my minor gripes, I really enjoyed this set of decals. I like the information Two Bobs provides for the paint matches and I am going to use these same colors on a Revell Sukhoi T-50 kit that I have been holding off painting while trying to figure out what colors to use.

I highly recommend this decal set! As an avid 1/72 modeler for more than 40 years, I hope Two Bobs will consider issuing 1/72 scale sets of some of their 1/48 decal sheets such as the Su-24 Fencer.


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