F-16C (Block 52 Advanced) Fighting Falcon “Zeus”
History – The Hellenic F-16 Demo Team was created in February, 2010, continuing the legacy of the former Aerobatic Teams of the Hellenic Air Force: “Carrè of Aces”, “Acro Team”, “Hellenic Flame”, “New Hellenic Flame”, and the T-6A Demo Team.
In November, 2010, the first official performance of the F-16 Demo Team of the Hellenic Air Force was made during the Open Days of the HAF at Tanagra Air Base. The aircraft used was the #534 and the pilot was Captain Karachalios.
The current team comprises personnel from the 340 and 343 Squadrons, both of which are based at Souda Air Base. The team consists of two display pilots, two safety observers, one narrator, one camera man and three crew chiefs. The team uses an F-16 Block 52+ configured with Conformal Fuel Tanks.
Team's call sign during the demo flights is “Zeus”, representing the father of the Olympian Gods of the Ancient Greek mythology.
Box Contents – There are 17 sprues, including the clear parts. Several of the sprues appear to be from the original issue of the C model, and are supplemented with sprues for parts required to build the Greek Air Force version of the F-16C. The original parts are beginning to show their age with some minor flash. Parts not used in the build are clearly identified in the instructions and will find a home in the spare box.
Instructions – The instructions are an eight-page foldout with 12 steps to the build process. Although busy, the steps are easy to follow with a minimal amount of confusion if reviewed properly.
Cockpit – The instrument panel and side consoles contain raised detail and can be painted to represent a fairly realistic cockpit. A harness will need to be added to the ejection seat if increased realism is desired.
Fuselage – Two small holes must be drilled in the aft section of the fuselage upper half to align the fuselage conformal fuel tanks properly. The tanks were installed with no problem once the tab was aligned with the aforementioned hole. The engine intake required some filling and sanding of injector pin marks on the interior surfaces. The Hasegawa version is a multipart assembly that does require some effort to look nice. There is no provision for a turbine face beyond the intake, so the flat surface was painted flat black. The fit of the finished intake to the fuselage again is not perfect: I found a slight step on both sides that can be difficult to eliminate.
Sufficient weight must be added to the radome or front fuselage. The radome is a butt-fit to the front of the fuselage and requires some care for a proper installation. Even still, the fit is not perfect.
The canopy may be posed open or closed. There is a fine mold seam down the center of the main canopy sections that must be removed.
Wings – The kit wingtip rails must be cut off with a fine razor saw and alternate versions installed in their place. This was easily done and the replacement parts glued in place.
Miscellaneous – The underwing stores include two 370 gallon fuel tanks, two AIM-120 missiles, two wingtip AIM-9L missiles, and a choice between a centerline travel pod or a 300 gallon fuel tank. The travel pod is shown with some dandy-looking markings on the painting and decaling instruction pages. I added a full complement of AIM-65 missiles to pylons 3 and 7 (you cannot hang enough ordinance off the wings).
Painting – The painting is shown in the last two pages of the instructions and shows a cloud pattern camouflage scheme that wraps around the top and bottom sides. Paint colors are identified as Gunze Sangyo and with some effort can be converted to Model Master or other brands.
Decals – Decals are included for the Hellenic Air Force Demonstration Team 537 and will create a rather striking model. The decals went on well with the help of both MicroSet and MicroSol.
Conclusion – Although the bulk of the parts are from the original molding of the Hasegawa F-16C, the kit still builds up to a fine representation. The parts are beginning to show their age just a bit. The camouflage paint scheme and colorful decals will offer a unique version of this famous and popular aircraft. This is not a difficult kit to build and will offer several hours of fun to build and paint. I found no significant build or fit issues with the kit and recommend this for anyone will just a bit more than beginner skills, For me, the kit went together quickly and was therapeutic! A nice change of pace.
I wish to thank Hobbico and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this product. If you like F-16’s, you will enjoy this build.