F-16C Fighting Falcon CFT
F-Toys/Platz have been producing small-scale (1/144th) aircraft kits for a few days now and originally released their F-16 kit in 2015. This latest iteration has new parts and decals that will allow you to build an F-16C with conformal fuel tanks. The new parts, in a soft resin, are those tanks and decals for a test bed aircraft stationed at Eglin AFB circa 2001 and another assigned to the 14th Fighter Squadron at Misawa AFB, Japan.
The kit comes in an open-ended box with some extra bits that will allow you to build several different configurations should you so choose. At the very least you will have some excellent parts (various under-wing stores) for the spares box. There is even a pilot figure. Another nice addition is an alternative vertical stabilizer with the braking parachute housing.
The assembly instructions are simple and easy to follow. It should be noted that the placement guide for the conformal fuel tanks (CFT) is printed on the side of the box. I did have some difficulty removing the pour stubs for the CFT's but that was more from my lack of patience than a manufacturing issue. The biggest problem with fit that I had involved the canopy. I wound up having to do some minor surgery to get a plausible fit. [Side note: the canopy was painted on the inside with clear yellow to simulate the tinting on the prototype.]
Another concern I encountered was with the upper fuselage (part# 1). The wing tip launch rails are pretty much to scale and consequently are on the delicate side. I did manage to not knock them off but not from a lack of trying. Of course, the provided wing tip stores will strengthen that section of the upper fuselage even in a worse-case scenario. Just watch it and don't be as ham-fisted as I was....
The cockpit is a three-piece affair with a forward instrument panel, seat, and cockpit tub. A head and shoulders above the level of detail are not often included in kits of this scale. This assembly gets sandwiched between upper and lower, horizontally split fuselage halves. There is a snap-fit quality to some of the parts and I found it prudent to shorten or remove some of those attachment points to aid in assembly.
The landing gear may be displayed in either configuration (up or down) and the level of detail for those parts is more than appropriate for this diminutive size. The forward nose cone has the appropriate detail molded onto it and provides a convenient place for the nose weight that you shouldn't forget to add. [Pro Tip # 738: Wait until all assembly, painting, and dealing are finished before attaching the piton tube.]
As mentioned there is quite the suite of underwing stores including fuel tanks, various air-to-air missiles, and targeting /ECM pods. The mounting points/holes are incorporated into the kit parts so you'll need to give some consideration to filling those mounting points should you wish to build your F-16 sans armament.
A pleasant inclusion in the kit is a captive air training missile (that blue, pointy thing) you sometimes see on the wing tip launch rail. Should you desire other under-wing options, F-Toys/Plato does offer two weapons sets in this scale ( # AW-1/ #AW-2).
This F-16C with conformal fuel tanks from F-Toys/Plato is a wonderful, pleasant addition to the world of aircraft kits in the 'one, true scale'. Really!
My thanks to F-Toys/Plato and IPMS/USA for the review copy.
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