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Steve McArthur

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About Steve McArthur

  • Birthday 10/22/1967

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    Lawrence, KS USA

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  1. Your caveat demonstrate there are no standards when more than half the kits released as Gold don't meet the criteria for "newer (higher) tooling standards". By your argument Gold doesn't mean squat, it's just a markup on the kit price. It can be old tool, new tool, no PE fret, just whatever Kinetic feels like. Just the fact that some standard releases have PE frets shows that Kinetic recognizes there are details that can't be easily molded and their "newer (higher) tooling standards" would argue that a PE fret for at least the structural stiffeners should have been included. I've never seen anything in print from Kinetic about what a Gold kit was supposed to be. I just did the research and found the one common element in Gold kits was a PE fret with seat belts that wasn't in the standard boxings. Please find me a gold kit without seat belts (other than the F-16) to prove me wrong. There were several blue box releases with PE that were re-released as Gold kits and the PE fret was changed to one with seat belts. F/A-18 and Harriers did this. This was consistent until now and implied to me Kinetic's "standard" includes seat belts in Gold kits. I'm disappointed their "standard" slipped on this kit. Marketing is the only reason I can see that Kinetic is calling the F-16 a Gold Series is to differentiate the new tool F-16s from their original tooling kits, it's got nothing to do with standards. It won't really matter, the clueless will still ask "Is this old tool or new" for any Kinetic F-16 kit boxing no matter when it was released. I've already seen it happen with the their F-16E/F that released this year. I'd really like Kinetic to post a video destroying their original tooling. Warp the molds in a press, drill holes through them, demolition charges, drop them in the ocean, anything to guarantee those molds can no longer ever be used.
  2. By a current Kinetic employee? It's a sales pitch not a review At least he explained why the weapons are broken down like they are. It was for Magfire. They needed precise holes for magnets, so all weapons get weird breakdowns to put through holes molded in the parts. Looking at pylons it looks like most have locating pins where magnets should be, so I'm wondering how "Magfire Compatible" this really is and I don't remember the video with instructions discussing Magfire. It would be nice if someone scanned the instructions and posted them to Scalemates.
  3. I don't have the DACO ones in my stash, but do have a couple others. Do you know for a fact that they align with the scribing on the Kinetic kit? Many of these came out when the Hasegawa F-16 was still the best F-16 in 1:48. They could be fine, but until someone tests the DACO product on the Kinetic kit, no one really knows. I do have a question for Kinetic, why are these kits labelled as Gold Series kits and have no photo-etch? I ran across a kit review this morning for the Cheetah D that pointed out one of the features the separate the Gold Series from the standard boxing is that EVERY 1/48th Gold Release include a PE fret with seat belts and other details. I went and checked the instructions of every Gold series kit (there are a lot) posted on Scalemates (Pucara, F-104, F/A-18, Harriers, M-346) and they all do have a PE fret. If one were in this kit I wouldn't be complaining about this kit as much. Why no PE in this one? Based on Kinetic's release history with Gold Kits there should have been one included. So what makes this a "Gold" kit? Was it supposed to be "MagFire"? Any kit is "Magfire Compatible" if the builder still has to source magnets and figure out how to mount them to the plane and stores. It's non-sense to print this on the box. This was a feature had been talked about in the press as launching with this kit. Based on what ended up in the box this feels like Kinetic rushed out a half baked release before Christmas. All Kinetic has managed to do is torch the reputation they had been building over the last several releases (at least for me anyway).
  4. You should try to restrict your comments to the kit and quit complaining about other modeler's opinions. Attack the kit, not the modeler. Do you really think we would have a new tooled F-16 from Kinetic if people hadn't complained about their original F-16 molding? Or, that they would have fixed their F/A-18 windscreen and vertical tails without people complaining? FYI, I'd trust Tamiya to make multipart weapons that fit with minimal cleanup. Based on their track record, I don't have the same faith in Kinetic.
  5. I never said it was a crisis, just said it was enough of a problem to me, that I am not buying either of these boxings precisely for the reason that I shouldn't need aftermarket to build the kit as depicted by the kit markings. Probably 95% of the buyers won't know or care that details are missing. Personally, if Kinetic want's my money I don't think it is too much to ask that they include a combination of parts and decals to make an accurate model out of the box. If you want to buy this kit and aftermarket to fix deficiencies, go for it. Tamiya did put out a "Detail Up" PE set for their F-16s that included seat belts and stiffener plates for those that wanted them. I've seen no hint of that from Kinetic and if they had announced a similar approach I wouldn't be complaining about them missing from the box. Each marking in the instructions lists a year and location and you should be able to build the kit for that timeframe with what's in the box. The F-16C kit planes should have stiffener plates for at least 2 of the 3 markings in that kit based on photos I found online. I haven't looked for photos of the third yet. They could have put in weapons and decals for a Desert Storm era F-16C and the kit would have been fine. I'm not an expert on the modification history of every F-16 ever built, so I possibly made a bad assumption on the timeframe MLU planes received the structural mods, but feel pretty confident the later timeframes depicted in the kit should have stiffener plates. Doing a quick search, J-515 was did not have them as late as 2007, so the lack of stiffeners is okay for the kit decals. I can't find many photos at all of RDAF 80-3603, but the Belgian plane had stiffener plates as early as 2006 and the kit markings are for 2016. RNoAF 680 had them in 2011, but no idea how early they were added and it's not my job to figure it out. It was Kinetic's job to get it right, and based on the shoddy approach to the rest of the details, I wouldn't trust them to have done their homework.
  6. Yes it is a MLU, but pay attention to the tail. You have included a photo of 15133 which is from Peace Atlantis II (15121-15140) and has a very different history. These were used USAF Block 15OCU planes that were built in the early '80s like most of the EPAF F-16s and had the standard "A" tail like your photo. They were bought in the late '90s after Portugal's original purchase of F-16s. These got the structural reinforcements during MLU like I noted in my previous post in this thread. These planes went through MLU a few years before the Peace Atlantis I planes and many of them have since been sold off to Romania. The Peace Atlantis I planes (15101-15120) with the "ADF" tail, were newly built specifically for Portugal in the '90s and did not get the reinforcements during MLU. At least I have not been able to find a photo post MLU that show any reinforcements. Based on date photos I've looked at Pease Atlantis II (former USAF planes) went through MLU around 2003-2004 and Peace Atlantis I happened around 2010-2011. To add another complaint to my list - Portugal only has AN/ALQ-131 ECM pods originally bought for their A-7Ps, not included in the kits, and their F-16s were AIM-7 compatible. Peace Atlantis I - MLU - no reinforcements - Can be built out of the box. Peace Atlantis II - MLU - with reinforcements - Cannot be built as shown out of the box due to the missing structural reinforcements and AN/ALQ-131 pod.
  7. I found a review that paged through the instructions and they also screwed up which parts to use for the Portuguese plane. They never mention the ADF tail base. The standard A tail base can be right for Portugal, but not for the serial number in the decals. The more I think about the more this kit irritates me for the sloppy execution, I'm not buying either of these boxings, maybe if they fix things in a future release.. It's not any one thing, but the collection of glitches and missing details turn me off. I would like to be able to buy a new release kit and build it without needing to go to aftermarket to add details that should be in the box. Problems noted on decals in the MLU kit requiring aftermarket for at least the Norse and Danish planes. No seatbelt or pilot (requires aftermarket seat or 3D decals), There is no excuse for this. No structural reinforcement plates that should be on every plane in BOTH boxings (except for the Portuguese plane) Aftermarket required that doesn't exist, unless an existing set fits this kit. It looks like there are landing lights for the main gear legs (part G18) so early pre-MLU planes could be built but those probably need aftermarket decals. Same with the Block25/42 kit. You can build planes close to when they were new, but not late career. Numerous errors in the instructions. Most of the errors seem to be about which parts apply to which variants. This is the worst way to Kinetic could screw up instructions because these are subtle errors. If you swap part numbers for "left" and "right" a lot of times the builder will catch this because the parts don't fit right. Errors like this requires the user to be a SME to know which parts are the right parts for the variant they are building. Lack of EPAF unique pylons and pods. It would have been nice to include some of the gear that is unique to the air forces in the decals. ADF bird slicer shape errors and missing antenna for under the intake maybe this would be fixed with a new sprue for a dedicated ADF release along with Sparrow pylons and AIM-7s.
  8. The lack of scab plates is disappointing. Most of the planes in the decals should have them if they are supposed to be 21st century planes. It looks like the one ADF strip they included doesn't have the right shape for the antennas. I wondering if Kinetic didn't do their research and assumed ADF and MLUs had the same antennas forward of the cockpit and just included a part for the antennas under the intake on ADFs. You can build a Portuguese F-16 out of the box if they provided the ID light in the side of the nose. Portugal bought a version that looks like an ADF, but technically aren't ADFs. The ADF program was a conversion program of earlier block F-16A/B to a air defense optimized version for the US Air National Guard. ALL ADFs were conversions of earlier airframes. After ANG service some spent a few years in Italy and others went to Pakistan, Jordan and Thailand. A few ADFs were converted to target drones including at least one of the Italian planes. Portugal ordered new build Block 15OCU F-16A/B Block under Peace Atlantis I that included the ID light in the port side of the nose, HF Radio and vertical tail of the ADF, but did not include the bird slicer IFF antennas. So they got new build planes that look like ADFs without bird slicers. The plane in the kit decals in its original configuration in 2004. Landing lights on landing gear no bird slicers. Where things get interesting is these were put through the MLU program around 2010 and got the AIFF antennas like Kinetic molded on the kit fuselage. From the photos I've looked at these planes did not get the structural reinforcement plates applied to most F-16A/B as they went through MLU. I'm guessing since these were built in the '90s they incorporated structural upgrades on the assembly line similar to Block 50/52 (and Taiwan's Block 20), so the scab plates are just not necessary. This is the airframe for the kit decals post MLU (2012) in the fresh 3-color camouflage. No evidence of structural reinforcements. Landing lights on nose gear door and AIFF antennas. In the late '90s Portugal bought a batch of second hand USAF Block 15OCU planes. They received the ID light, but none of the other ADF features. When it became obvious during NATO exercises how dated these planes had become, they were the first planes Portugal put through the MLU program. They have since sold some of these planes to Romania and bought 3 replacements in 2019. All of these planes have scab plates post-MLU.
  9. How many different products do you have in your inventory to deal with conventional decals? Using CA for these doesn't really seem like a stretch to me. I'd suggest that you quit thinking of them as decals. They're not really, but the manufacturing process is probably similar to most decals. They are multicolored vinyl 3D printed parts. After I tried fixing the first one in place I realized the decal paper and glue was more of a shipping convenience and decided to assemble them more like pre-painted photo-etch.
  10. I've only used 3D printed decals twice (Quinta and Red Fox) so far, but I used CA to fix them in place. I don't think the decal adhesive is really intended to glue them down, but mainly to release them from the backing sheet. One of them had a bunch of seat belts and what worked for me was to get them to release from the backing paper and then wipe them dry before using CA to glue them in place. For panels I went ahead an used the decal adhesive to tack them in place and tried wicking some CA around the edges after they were dry. My primary complaint is the color of the sets I've used have been way off. FS36231 is a lot darker than what Quinta used. It looked closer to FS36375 I tried to paint over it where I could and blend it in with washes. The Red Fox one was low resolution compared to the Quinta. You cold easily see the dot matrix pattern used to print the colors.
  11. Ukraine does not operated Su-25SM that is a Russian Air Force upgrade program. Ukraine has done it's own Su-25M1 upgrade program. I think it unlikely that Zvezda would ever produce this variant.
  12. Israeli used three versions of the single seat Skyhawk, A-4E,H & N. The A-4H & N were new build versions unique to Israel and the A-4Es were transferred from US Navy inventory as attrition replacements. The H was a stripped down A-4F with Israeli avionics. The N was an Israeli variant of the USMC A-4M. That kit represents an A-4H no matter what is printed on the box. The shape of the canopy sill is a dead giveaway. The later A-4N the canopy sill was a straight line from the windscreen aft to the behind the seat and the canopy is larger. It's honestly the simplest way to ID the early A-4E/F/H/K from the later A-4M/N/KU. Until Hasegawa released an A-4M in 1/48 there was no way to make an M or N out of the box without a conversions. The square vertical fin tip makes it an H, rounded would make it an E. A-4H was delivered without the avionics hump and with 20mm cannon and fought the '67 war in this configuration Best I can tell, the 30mm DEFA cannon were installed after the '67 war. The hump was added in '72 to upgrade the A-4E/H to the same standard as A-4N just entering service. The hump and 30mm DEFA cannon installation was the common configuration for the '73 War. I've seen at least one source indicate this upgrade also replaced the engine and intakes, but this difference is subtle. A-4Es were upgraded to match the A-4H configuration, but retained the curved vertical fin tip though their career. The extended tailpipe was added after the 1973 war and would have fought in Lebanon in this configuration up until retirement. For your kit there is no need to add the extended tail pipe unless you want to, but you should track down a set of 30mm cannon if the kit doesn't have them. Also a braking parachute was installed under the tail on the A-4H from the start and should be on all planes with humps.
  13. A few years ago a modeler over on ARC did a comparison of different brands interpretations of FS36170.
  14. The common configuration for retractable gear helicopters is to delete some or all of the doors. I started making a list of all the retractable gear helicopters missing doors and realized the list for all landing gear fully retracted and covered is a lot shorter: 1) Sikorsky S-76 (driven by marketing) 2) Sikorsky RAH-66 (driven by stealth) 3) ??? Most of the drag reduction is from getting the strut and tires out of the breeze and you save a little weight and maintenance deleting the doors and retraction mechanisms. You really only go for the added weight and complexity of retractable gear if high speed and range are design goals and the Mi-24 was one of the fastest helicopters when it was introduced. With all the stuff hanging from the nose of a Mi-24 the flow under the nose is not going to be all that smooth, so I'd guess they figured out there was no advantage to keeping the nose gear doors.
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