Lockheed Martin F-16A ADF

Published on
September 12, 2021
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/72
MSRP
$44.99
Product / Stock #
01980
Company: Hasegawa - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Hobbico
Box Art

The Aircraft

I worked for the Air Guard at Peoria, Illinois, from 1987 to 1996. During that period (1992), the 182nd TASGp, with OA-37Bs, became the 182nd Fighter Group, equipped with the F-16A ADF. In October 1995, the F-16s were replaced by C-130Es, and the outfit is now the 182nd Airlift Wing. So when Steve announced the availability of Hasegawa’s F-16A ADF, I had to build it. But being in the Air Support Operations Center, I didn’t know what to look for when telling the F-16A ADF from any of the other F-16s. Fortunately, I was able to email Norris Graser, who sent me several beautiful photos of the ADF birds, as well as a cockpit photo of Steve Konie, who has been known to build a model or two in the last 30 years or so.

The big differences between the ADF and the standard F-16 are bulges at the base of the tail where the antenna matcher for the HF radio forced the relocation of the hydraulic actuators. Another big difference is the addition of the “bird slicer” IFF antennas in front of the windscreen and under the intake. There are also two additional bulges on either side of the nose, and a wonderful light, used for visual identification at night. Steve says you could light up a good-sized piece of real estate with that light.

The Kit

This is a repop of Hasegawa’s older but still OK F-16. The interior needs a better seat, and Quickboost has new main gear doors, but otherwise it’s good. I gave up checking shape against drawings many years ago, when one set of drawings said the fuselage was too short and another set said the fuselage was too long. If it looks right, it’s good enough, OK? OK.

The things Hasegawa got right: The vertical stabilizer has the correct bulges at the base. They also include the unbulged stab if that’s what you want. The bird slicers are in there. The bulges on the nose are there, and the spotlight is included as a decal. Also, the ADF A models were updated with the larger horizontal stabilizers, and Hasegawa has the right ones.

The base for the bird slicers is a little too thick. I discovered this after I installed it. I may take the time and effort to remove the one in front of the cockpit and thin the base and reinstall it.

The kit decals are for a wonderful Italian scheme with a snake wrapping itself completely around the aircraft. Although I didn’t use any of the kit decals, I will vouch for their quality as they’re by Cartograf of Italy, and I’ve NEVER gotten a bad decal from those folks.

Assembly

This kit was well-engineered when it was originally released back in the ‘90s. Except for the intake, everything fits well and requires only touches of filler. Even the seam where the bottom of the vertical tail butts up to the fuselage top only required minimal fitting and fussing.

Painting

The Peoria ADFs were painted in the 2-tone scheme of 36118 over 36270, with the radome done in 36118. Except for the canopy and the radome, there was no masking required, as the original paint job had a soft edge. Future, and ready for decals.

Decals

The markings took longer than any other part of this project, mainly because I had a huge computer problem and had trouble scanning and printing my custom decals for this project. On the other hand, I scavenged decals from several F-16 1/72 sources, including ones from Super Scale and Fox 1 ANG sheets. The “Peoria” stripes were done early on at our club’s Scale Modeling Clinic. I demonstrated making decals, and Steve Collins demonstrated putting decals on a model. Win-win for me. Not so much for Steve, as the first stripe I made curled up and died when he put Micro-Sol on it. Good thing I could make another just like it.

Finishing up

After decals I put on the landing gear, gear doors, pitot tube, bird slicers, and the searchlight. I used a drill, silver paint, and Micro Kystal-Kleer for the searchlight.

Overall Evaluation

Well recommended. Assembly is straightforward and Hasegawa got all of the changes right. The Italian ADFs are going out of the inventory in 2012-2013, but if you want to do an ANG ADF, you can do it very well from this kit.

Thanks to Hobbico for providing an addition to my modern fighter collection, and to IPMS/USA and Steve Collins for the chance to build this trip down memory lane.

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