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Julien

F-16 A/B NSAWC Adversary Kinetic 1:48

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F-16 NSAWC Adversary

Kinetic Model Kits - 1/48

 

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I would pretty much assume that almost all modellers reading this review are familiar with the F-16 Fighting Falcon. It is probably the most used combat aircraft in the world at this time. The F-16 was developed by General Dynamics for the USAF. This was as a result of proposals for an Advanced Day Fighter Concept. Following on from an Air Force study group the idea of a Lightweight Fighter was developed. Certain elements of the Air Force remained hostile to this as it was perceived as a threat to the then F-15 programme. A request for proposals was issued in 1972 for a 20,000lb class air-to-air day fighter with a good rate of turn, acceleration and range. This was to be optimized for speeds 0.6-1.6 mach at altitudes 30,000 to 40,000 feet. The cost of such a fighter was envisaged at $3 Million.

In 1972 General Dynamics was awarded a contract to produce the YF-16, and Northrop the YF-17. The YF-16 rolled out in 1973 with its first flight in 1974. The YF-16 as it then was introduced numerous innovations in fighter design, including a frameless bubble canopy affording the pilot greater visibility. Air-to-air missiles were mounted on wing tip pylons to free up underwing stations. The central control column was replaced by a side stick controller. The pilots seat was reclined by 30° to reduce G forces. In technological terms the aircraft was one of the first to use fly-by-wire and relaxed stability were by the computers actually flew the aircraft instead of conventional inputs.

Like many aircraft the F-16 has developed over the years, probably to point where the original designers would marvel at the difference between the YF-16 and the latest 2 Seat aircraft with external Avionics spines & conformal fuel tanks which are now rolling of the production lines. It has certainly gone from a Lightweight fighter to a more overweight example, no doubt like a lot of us over the years!

It is estimated over 4500 F-16 aircraft have now been produced, with 25 variants to date, being used by 24 countries.

Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC)
The NSAWC is the centre of excellence for US Naval aviation training and tactics development. It is located at Fallon Naval Air Station in Nevada and provides services to aircrews, squadrons and air wings through out the US Navy. NSAWC was created in 1996 by consolidating 3 commands into a single structure. The Naval Strike Warfare Centre was joined by the Navy Fighter Weapons School (The famous TOPGUN) and the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School. The latter two moved from NAS Miramar following the US Base realignment and closure programme in 1993.

NSAWC is the primary USN authority on training and tactics development. The command is responsible for development, implementation, and administration of several courses of instruction, and the Navy’s point of contact for all issues relating to Air combat training. NSAWC operate both F-16 & F-18 aircraft in the Adversary role.

The Kit
Kinetic have produced quite a few F-16 Kits to date, and it shows in the box for this kit. The various different sprues seem to me to have come from different boxings of the kit. The are all in different shades of plastic which would seem to suggest large runs of parts, and then they are boxed up according to the needs of specific boxings. Probably one of the ways they can offer so many different boxings at competitive pricing. There are a large number of unused parts in this kit, with plenty of spares for the spares box, or other F-16 projects.
 

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The main upper & lower fuselage parts come as single parts with the wings moulded on like most F-16 kits, with the nose as one part, this comes loose in the box. The main choice for the kit then comes if you decide to build an A model or B model, the upper fuselage and cockpit parts for these come on two separate sprues.

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The rest of the main parts come on a further sprue.

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Intake parts, pylons and undercarriage parts are on a further four sprues. From pictures I have seen most of the NSAWC aircraft operate without wing pylons.

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Following this you seem to get three sprues which consist of mainly weapons and fuel tanks. These contain a few parts for this kit, however most of the parts will not be used for this model. A spares box bonanza.

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There is one small sprue containing two ACMI pods, one containing an ECM pod, and one containing an ALQ-188 ECM Pod (I have seen these on USAF Adversary aircraft, but am not sure the NAVY carry this pod?). Also there is one last sprue with two ECM pods on it.

Overall the parts look well moulded with no obvious flaws anywhere. The wings and tail planes have the static wicks moulded on, the instructions go to great lengths to point out these are delicate, and to take care.

Canopies
Being that the kit is an F-16A/B both the single seat canopy and the double seat canopies are included. These are clear and fairly distortion free. Given the mould limitations they do have a centre seam with the modeller will have to remove. It is worth noting that the canopies supplied are clear, some of the NSAWC aircraft have fully tinted of partially tinted canopies. The modeller will have to do their own tilt, so you will need to consult your references as needed.
 
 

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Instructions
Kinetic give us an 18 page A4 sized instruction booklet. The diagrams are large and easy to follow, and like some of the sprues in this kit it looks like the drawings have been "recycled" from another kit as there are notations about parts for use with separate European F-16s. These will have to be ignored.

Painting instructions are only in Black & White with appropriate FS numbers. This is a bit of a let down as due to the complicated nature of the Adversary camouflage, and some full colour painting/decaling instructions would have been most welcome.

Decals
 
 

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Decals are provided for three options.

 
  • F-16B NSAWC 04 Topgun 90th Anv 2009 (Blue camo scheme)
  • F-16A NSAWC 60 2006-2009 (Blue camo scheme)
  • F-16A NSAWC 53 2004 (Brown colour scheme)
What I do find slightly disappointing is that they don't supply decals for the aircraft shown on the box top. I was hoping to do a 2 seater in the Brown camo but this is not catered for.

Decal artwork has been designed by Fightertown decals, printed by cartograf and are in good register. Care will be needed if doing the Blue camo single seater as the NAVY decal crosses two shades of blue.

Conclusion
This looks to be a nice model kit. I have heard that some people claim the Kinetic F-16 has shape problems, however it looks like an F-16 to the reviewer. If you want an Adversary F-16 and don't want to buy aftermarket decals, then this is kit for you. Also for the F-16 modeller you are getting a complete set of weapons for the spares box as you don't use them for this kit. For the plastic in the box good value for money.
 

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Many thanks for the review, Julien.

In terms of 'fitness for purpose', has anyone tackled this kit? If so, can they confirm that an accurate NSAWC F-16A can be achieved from what's in the box?

AFAIK, Kinetic's Vipers have a broadly OK (if not stunning) reputation; however in light of the comments about the instructions being 'recycled', alarm bells were triggered when I looked at the scans on HobbySearch. They appear to specify the multi-blade IFF(?) nose for these Adversaries...shurely shome mishtake?

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