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  1. Back to 1978 and the new range of ESCI 1/48th scale kits. At this point ESCI had an excellent reputation for producing 1/9th scale motorcycle kits, then a range of scale military vehicles and many of their subsequent 1/72nd aircraft kits are still sought after today. So, what could possibly go wrong? In the late 70's ESCI released a range of 1/48th scale aircraft kits and these were eagerly purchased by many scale modellers. Some of them were superb - the Henschel HS-129 and the Mirage F-1 come to mind. However others were not quite so good - I have binned two awful F-100D Super Sabres so far - and the brand started to acquire a bad reputation. Some of the company's products were acquired by AMT/ERTL in the late 80's then IIRC they decided to stick to producing car kits and that was the end of much of the ESCI range. However, Italeri do still produce some of the better ESCI kits even today so the product still lives on. In the mid to late 70's the General Dynamics F-16 (it had no name then) was one of my favourite aircraft - it looked so sleek and cool compared to the aircraft then in service and had I had the money I would most likely have tried to build a 1/48th scale kit of this futuristic jet fighter. I think I had three choices in 'quarter' scale - from Monogram, Tamiya, and ESCI - and I think ESCI would have been my choice. So, for this Obsolete Kit Group Build I bring you the ESCI art 4010 General Dynamics F-16A Starting with the box art: The fun thing with these early kits is trying to work out what version of the F-16 this might be. The two prototypes had 1972 fiscal codes, the 'FSD' or Full Scale Development aircraft had 1975 fiscal codes, whilst the first production or service aircraft wore 1978 fiscal codes, the first being 78-0001 which was a Block 1 aircraft which was delivered to the 388th TFW at Hill AFB, where initial pilot training on the type was performed. The artwork is contradictory - an all over grey paint scheme, gloss black radar cone, original 'small' tailplanes and the lower UHF/IF aerial under the air intake. The serial of the aircraft to the left appears to end in '569' which could possibly have been 72-1569 which would have been the next serial after the two YF-16 prototypes - except this was allocated to the rival Northrop YF-17 Cobra. Oh dear! Better move on to the kit: Ahh <sigh> thin shiny lightweight silver plastic, raised surface detail, it's pure back to the 70's nostalgia The instructions and the decals: Way back then the ESCI instructions were very detailed and quite cutting edge (well, to me anyway). Now, the decals are very interesting. The USAF option is 75-0747 which was the third FSD aircraft, she was eventually converted into the F-16XL/B and she ever entered active service. The Danish and Norwegian decals have no detail at all, while the Dutch F-16A is J-212 which was serial 78-0212 and the first aircraft delivered to the RNLAF via the 388th TFW at Hill AFB. The Belgian decals are also very interesting:- A two greens and tan camouflage scheme aka the Belgian F-104 Starfighters and the Mirage V's which the F-16 was to replace! Note the large roundels on the wings only. Don't ever recall seeing this before and this could be a great scheme to finish the model in. The first F-16A FA-01 was delivered to the Belgian Air Force in March 1979 so it seems that ESCI was still very much guessing with this kit's markings. A last photo of another decal possibility:- The part decal sheet to the left is from the AMT/ERTL F-16A 'Falcon' which was issued 2002. This was identical to the ESCI kit but had better plastic and much more accurate decals for a Block 1 F-16A. At this point I am minded to build F-16A 78-0004 as she was when delivered to the 16th TFTS at Hill AFB in Utah on 17th February 1979 (though the Belgian camo scheme is very tempting!). And to finish off - how much did this kit cost? Purchased on eBay in 2007 for £0.99 plus £2.95 P&P total £3.94 Michael
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