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Looking for a F-16 specialist!


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Fellow modellers,

 

Recently I got my hands on an older Heller F16 A/B kit (80337) from 1989 from a hobby shop. Judging by the information on Scalemates it seems to be a reboxed '80s Airfix kit. The kit in itself is fine, it isn't as detailed as a modern Revell kit, but it isn't cutting corners like Academy's M-21 Fishbed [sic] either. The kit allows for two versions to be built, either a Belgian F-16A model or a Danish F-16B, and I'm heading for the latter. However, I could use some help identifying what model it actually is. Scalemates says the F-16B is a block 1 Fighting Falcon, but the Heller kit contains no info whatsoever or contains dubious stuff (according to the booklet's specifications the F-16 is a twin-engined fighter!). 

 

The kit is supplied with some weaponry, like AGM-65 Mavericks on a two TERs, and wing fuel tanks can be swapped with something that resembles 1000 lbs Paveway II. Wing tip hard points come with AIM-9s, likely AIM-9Js but I am not sure about that. It also has an option for the centerline hardpoint that appears to be an ECM pod, likely the ALQ-119 jammer. I  am comparing the kit supplied weapons with one's I have from Hasegawa's Aircraft Weapons sets, as I have not really any point of reference at this point. Heller instructions for reference

 

My plan is to make a period-correct project, so not really fantasy load outs but something that is either realistic or semi-realistic. I am considering dropping the guided bombs in favour of fuel tanks, and stick the Mavericks and AIM-9s on, but I was mainly wondering what exact model this F-16B would resemble andif that F-16B would need any provisions to be able to fire such ATGMs, like special pods or something. Or that such loadout for that plane would be unrealistic.

 

Please let me know!

AIM-9sspacer.pngspacer.pngspacer.png

From left to right: (1) AIM-9s supplied with the kit (left and AIM-9s from Hasegawa's Aircraft Weapons III, (2) the ECM pod supplied by the kit, (3) the closest match I could find from Hasegawa, (4) the guided bombs included in the kits (light sprue) and Hasegawa's Paveway II (dark).

 

Edited by Bernd A.
Added some pictures for clarity
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Hardly a specialist, but IIRC the A's and B's extended through Block 20...with the increased-area stabilizers being introduced with Block 15.

Best to check for photos of your intended a/c, since assorted 'lumps and bumps' were added to nearly all the early models throughout their service life.

Cheers

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have a look at f-16.net, it's a very comprehensive site where you can find more infos on any given serial number and foreing users.

 

Alex

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bernd A. said:

However, I could use some help identifying what model it actually is. Scalemates says the F-16B is a block 1 Fighting Falcon, but the Heller kit contains no info whatsoever

Short tail housing and small elevators, and you can match the serial number(s) likely to the production dates. Since both the BE and DK F-16s were SABCA built, use the Belgian subsection on F-16.net.

Initial Order

F-16A Block 1 17 FA-01/FA-17 1979-1980

F-16B Block 1 6 FB-01/FB-06 1979-1980

F-16A block 5 8 FA-18/FA-25 1980-1981

F-16B Block 5 4 FB-07/FB-10 1980-1981

F-16A Block 10 30 FA-26/FA-55 1981-1982

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21 minutes ago, alt-92 said:

Short tail housing and small elevators, and you can match the serial number(s) likely to the production dates. Since both the BE and DK F-16s were SABCA built, use the Belgian subsection on F-16.net.

Initial Order

F-16A Block 1 17 FA-01/FA-17 1979-1980

F-16B Block 1 6 FB-01/FB-06 1979-1980

F-16A block 5 8 FA-18/FA-25 1980-1981

F-16B Block 5 4 FB-07/FB-10 1980-1981

F-16A Block 10 30 FA-26/FA-55 1981-1982

Cheers, that seem to have helped quite a lot. I checked the tail number for the Belgian F-16A first, and according to both your post and f-16.net it is a block 10A variant. Looking up the serial on the Danish F-16B comes up with block 1 upon delivery and remained a block 1 fighter up until the block 20 MLU upgrade in 1996. Since the Danish decals are for Esk. 727, should mean that it can be either outfitted either for the period 1984 to 1989 or 1992 to 1996. That gives some room to play with.

 

Now, that leaves us with possible load-out options. Judging by f-16.net's story on F-16 versions the ability/capability to fire AGM-65s came with block 15 OCU and onwards. So, that wouldn't be possible on just a block 1 version I guess?

 

Anyway, thanks to all for the useful comments so far. Really helpful!

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Think you've got the bestvresource already with F-16.net.  An MPC boxing of this kit was one of my very first F-16 kits - unless they've altered the tooling, the horizontal stabilizers are the early type (square trailing edges, parallel to the aft end of the airbrakes). Also worth noting is that most Belgian airframes featured the extended tail base, housing a braking parachute and (space for) ECM equipment.  Again, unless it's been modified the Airfix kit doesn't include this option (available in Revell AG and ESCI/AMT, among others). 

 

Keep in mind that at least early in service the Block 1 airframes featured gloss black radomes. Not certain when/if the early blocks may have been retrofitted with the later gray nosecones.

 

As for payload, the Airfix kit features fuel tanks that are a very early style, to the best of my knowledge only carried by the USAF FSD batch of test airframes. The large tanks used in service have less tapered front end and blunt tail, vs the kit type with elongated taper at both ends. Centerline tank may also differ - the type used in service has a distinctly upswept aft end (to maintain ground clearance on takeoff).

 

Armament-wise the kit wingtip missiles are a not-so-great representation of the AIM-9L, but better than the attempt in Hasegawa's Weapons Set 3 you have next to it! Hasegawa's AIM-9J/P version (part #4s) are much more accurate for those variants. The "9Ls" (part #5s) would need replacement forward fins, otherwise their best use is probably removing the forward fins entirely to represent a captive-carry acquisition round as used for training.  The 9J/P wasn't common on European F-16s but could be seen occasionally. I'm not sure about specific use by individual NATO nations.  If you need better versions of the more typical AIM-9Ls, Hasegawa did a *far* better job of them in Weapons Set 9.

 

For the laser-guided bombs, to the best of my knowledge these were theoretically an option from the beginning of service, but I don't believe they were carried often (even for training). No reason you can't put them on your model, but a more likely load would be a pair of the training bomb carriers (SUU-21) also included in Weapons Set 3.  If using the Paveway IIs, keep in mind the 500 lb (GBU-12) or 2000 lb (GBU-10) versions are more typical than the 1000 lb GBU-16.

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12 hours ago, CT7567 said:

As for payload, the Airfix kit features fuel tanks that are a very early style, to the best of my knowledge only carried by the USAF FSD batch of test airframes. The large tanks used in service have less tapered front end and blunt tail, vs the kit type with elongated taper at both ends. Centerline tank may also differ - the type used in service has a distinctly upswept aft end (to maintain ground clearance on takeoff).

I can't find any info quickly on different types of wing fuel tanks on f-16.net, but I do have a Revell Belgian F-16 MLU (03905) for comparison, and Heller's fuel tanks are of equal size. So that either means both kits got the fuel tanks wrong, or they're the right ones. Heller's kit doesn't come with a centerline tank, but instead is supplied with an ECM pod, likely the ALQ-119 jammer.

 

12 hours ago, CT7567 said:

Armament-wise the kit wingtip missiles are a not-so-great representation of the AIM-9L, but better than the attempt in Hasegawa's Weapons Set 3 you have next to it! Hasegawa's AIM-9J/P version (part #4s) are much more accurate for those variants. The "9Ls" (part #5s) would need replacement forward fins, otherwise their best use is probably removing the forward fins entirely to represent a captive-carry acquisition round as used for training.  The 9J/P wasn't common on European F-16s but could be seen occasionally. I'm not sure about specific use by individual NATO nations.  If you need better versions of the more typical AIM-9Ls, Hasegawa did a *far* better job of them in Weapons Set 9.

Thanks for the clarification, I am not too famliar with different types of Sidewinders in use in Europe during the Cold War, so this helps. I could try and see if a local hobby shop has Weapons Set 9 available, but considering your reply I may as well get away with just the one's from the kit.

 

12 hours ago, CT7567 said:

For the laser-guided bombs, to the best of my knowledge these were theoretically an option from the beginning of service, but I don't believe they were carried often (even for training). No reason you can't put them on your model, but a more likely load would be a pair of the training bomb carriers (SUU-21) also included in Weapons Set 3.  If using the Paveway IIs, keep in mind the 500 lb (GBU-12) or 2000 lb (GBU-10) versions are more typical than the 1000 lb GBU-16.

So, what you're essentially saying is that unmoddified F-16Bs Block 1 could carry and use LGBs straight without any extra provisions? The kit so far isn't supplied with a laser designator or comparable equipment, so they'd need someone else to designate the target I'd assume. So that leaves station/hard point 2 and 6 with Paveway options. Would it be far-fetched to load it with six GBU-12 Paveway IIs with triple ejector racks on those stations? I can't find the exact model and make of the TER right now, but it is the one supplied with Hasegawa weapon sets VI I have in my stash.

 

So just for clarification, each wing has three weapon stations/hard points on this make, including a wing tip pylon for AIM-9s, and one fuselage centerline hard point.

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by Bernd A.
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If you're building a Belgian aircraft, then LGBs would have only been used after the MLU update.

The original armament of the type was Sidewinders and Mk.82 bombs of various type. Later AGM-65 missiles were bought in small numbers.

Of course in peacetime very little was carried and the most common load was the SUU-20 dispenser for training

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2 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

If you're building a Belgian aircraft, then LGBs would have only been used after the MLU update.

The original armament of the type was Sidewinders and Mk.82 bombs of various type. Later AGM-65 missiles were bought in small numbers.

Of course in peacetime very little was carried and the most common load was the SUU-20 dispenser for training

Thanks for the reply, peacetime load-out makes sense considering the context of the cold war, I'm pretty sure I have a few of those SUU-20 dispensers in one of those Hasegawa weapon sets. I'm going for the twin-seat Danish block 1, so I am contemplating a logical load-out for that plane in the 80s. I do have a spare pair of Mk 82 from a Hobby Boss kit somewhere, but arming that plane with just two mk.82s seems silly to me 😛

 

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The first Danish Blocks 1 and 5 were upgraded to block 10/15 early in their career. Later batches of aircraft were delivered as block 10/15. Contrary to what you may find on F-16.net about block 20MLU, all official documentation still refers only to blocks 10 and 15. 

To the best of my knowledge, no sort of LGBs were carried by Danish aircraft prior to MLU, so Mk84s, Mk82s or AGM-65 would be a realistic load out for any pre-MLU bird. During the Kosovo conflict in 1999, even MLU-birds delivered only dumb bombs.
Post MLU, the Block 15s could carry the targeting pod on the intake and a number of new PGMS were introduced. The AGM-65 was last used around the 2004/5 timeframe.

Danish F-16s never carried external jammers unlike most other users. The Danes incorporated the jammers into the wing pylons.

 

If you're doing a pre-MLU block 10/15 F-16B in Danish colors, I'd recommend going with the two 370 gal gas bags and two Limas. In case you want to display a bird bombed up for an air-to-ground sortie you could add Mk84s or Mk82 under stations 3 and 7. You might even add three mk82s on a TER, but any other kind of air to ground ordnance would not be realistic. Bear in mind that the Danish two seaters were (and still are) used for training only and haven´t seen combat.

 

HTH

Edited by Phantom726
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15 minutes ago, Phantom726 said:

The first Danish Blocks 1 and 5 were upgraded to block 10/15 early in their career. Later batches of aircraft were delivered as block 10/15. Contrary to what you may find on F-16.net about block 20MLU, all official documentation still refers only to blocks 10 and 15. 

To the best of my knowledge, no sort of LGBs were carried by Danish aircraft prior to MLU, so Mk84s, Mk82s or AGM-65 would be a realistic load out for any pre-MLU bird. During the Kosovo conflict in 1999, even MLU-birds delivered only dumb bombs.
Post MLU, the Block 15s could carry the targeting pod on the intake and a number of new PGMS were introduced. The AGM-65 was last used around the 2004/5 timeframe.

Danish F-16s never carried external jammers unlike most other users. The Danes incorporated the jammers into the wing pylons.

 

If you're doing a pre-MLU block 10/15 F-16B in Danish colors, I'd recommend going with the two 370 gal gas bags and two Limas. In case you want to display a bird bombed up for and air-to-ground sortie you could add Mk84s or Mk82 under stations 3 and 7. You might even add three mk82s on a TER, but any other kind of air to ground ordnance would not be realistic. Bear in mind that the Danish two seaters were (and still are) used for training only and haven´t see combat.

 

HTH

Thank you for the detailed info Phantom, so the most logical loadout would either be a dumb bomb load-out on station 3 and 7, or SUU-20 dispensers and a pair of AIM-9Ls on the wing tips. Judging by your post, I should ditch the ALQ-119 jammer on the centerline station? It would make sense if the Danish mainly use their twin-seats for training purposes.

I guess I'll settle with AIM-9Ls on the wing tip stations, either some dumb bombs on the middle stations, inner wing stations 3 & 5 with the fuel tanks and centerline station will be ommitted all together, since the kit doesn't come with a centerline fuel tank as an option.

 

I have a Belgian F-16AM MLU on the bench too, I guess the neat weapon systems will go on that one

Edited by Bernd A.
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17 hours ago, CT7567 said:

Also worth noting is that most Belgian airframes featured the extended tail base, housing a braking parachute and (space for) ECM equipment.

Single seaters only - all Belgian F-16A's were either built or refitted with the extended base for the internal (therefore no taking up space on an external weapons  pylon) Loral Rapport III ECM system that turned out to be somewhat of a lemon and was never fitted in service. Since their B's were not intended for combat, these were never fitted with the extended tail housing.

 

Later on the French Carapace passive ECM system was fitted. However, since this is a passive system only, for jamming an external pod still has to be carried.

 

Belgian F-16's were never fitted with brake chutes.

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

Edited by Hook
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3 hours ago, Bernd A. said:

Thank you for the detailed info Phantom, so the most logical loadout would either be a dumb bomb load-out on station 3 and 7, or SUU-20 dispensers and a pair of AIM-9Ls on the wing tips. Judging by your post, I should ditch the ALQ-119 jammer on the centerline station? It would make sense if the Danish mainly use their twin-seats for training purposes.

I guess I'll settle with AIM-9Ls on the wing tip stations, either some dumb bombs on the middle stations, inner wing stations 3 & 5 with the fuel tanks and centerline station will be ommitted all together, since the kit doesn't come with a centerline fuel tank as an option.

 

I have a Belgian F-16AM MLU on the bench too, I guess the neat weapon systems will go on that one

 

Bernd,

I don't recall seeing a RDAF F-16 with the SUU-20. I'm not saying it was never used but if is was, it would be very rare to see.
Back in the 80s, 70-80% of all RDAF F-16 training was focused on the air-to-air role, and live air-to-ground ordnance was rarely carried - let alone by a B-model. When used for ground attack training, B-models would normally carry the small red and blue training bombs and I believe that was normally done using TERs. As the air-to-air training was conducted using mainly short range Sidewinder and M61 profiles, seeing aircraft with no external fuel tanks, or with a centerline tank only was almost the norm. Still, you can easily put two Dollies on a B.
Re. the ALQ, that should be ditched, yes.

Putting the hardware on a BAF F-16AM would seem much more logical. 

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7 hours ago, Hook said:

Belgian F-16's were never fitted with brake chutes.

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

Quite correct.

 

The Norwegian ones, OTOH, used this kind of housing for a brake 'chute.

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Just now, ivand said:

Quite correct.

 

The Norwegian ones, OTOH, used this kind of housing for a brake 'chute.

As do we Dutch. But for the Belgians and Israeli, ECM only.

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

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Indeed, I remembered the Dutch ones just now, but you beat me to it. 🙂

 

The 1/72 Revell F-16A provides both the 'Belgian' and the 'Dutch' tail base extension.

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17 hours ago, Phantom726 said:

 

Bernd,

I don't recall seeing a RDAF F-16 with the SUU-20. I'm not saying it was never used but if is was, it would be very rare to see.
Back in the 80s, 70-80% of all RDAF F-16 training was focused on the air-to-air role, and live air-to-ground ordnance was rarely carried - let alone by a B-model. When used for ground attack training, B-models would normally carry the small red and blue training bombs and I believe that was normally done using TERs. As the air-to-air training was conducted using mainly short range Sidewinder and M61 profiles, seeing aircraft with no external fuel tanks, or with a centerline tank only was almost the norm. Still, you can easily put two Dollies on a B.
Re. the ALQ, that should be ditched, yes.

Putting the hardware on a BAF F-16AM would seem much more logical. 

Pardon my ignorance. Considering its load-out for air-to-air training. So two AIM-9Ls on the outer wing stations would be the most logical course of action, right? I'd assume it wouldn't make really sense training-wise to have more missiles attached to pylons, say station 3 & 7 for example (this kit doesn't ship with 2 & 8). And considering the centerline station, since I have no fuel tank for said station, could I just sand the holes with putty or would it still need a part to resemble an empty pylon?

 

Considering the AIM-9s in dogfight simulation, I have read about AIM-9 training or dummy rounds (blue) and @CT7567 mentioned creating captive-carry acquisition rounds out of AIM-9ls by cutting off the forward fins. Would it make sense in the context of a RDAF F-16B in the 80s to be fitted with inert or training rounds rather than live missiles?

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Bernd,
 

Two wingtip mounted Limas or captive/training rounds would be the most logical missile load-out. Prior to the arrival of the AIM-120 (which came with the MLU), Danish F-16s didn't often carry missiles (let alone empty pylons) on stations 2 and 8.  Live missiles would normally be carried only by Quick Reaction Alert and during live missile firing exercises, so captive/training rounds  would be the daily norm.

The only time, RDAF non-MLU F-16s took part in an armed conflict was during the first part of Allied force in 1999 in which they were obviously also armed with live ordnance.
I don't believe that stations 3 and 7 are wired for air-to-air missiles at all but I could be wrong. However, beginning in the mid-80s, the RDAF F-16s started to receive a Danish-designed ECM/EW-suite which was integrated in specially designed pylons on stations 3 and 7. Therefore, aircraft would normally carry these two pylons (even when empty). 

When the centerline tank is not installed, you can also remove the associated pylon.

 

Here's a little pre-MLU peacetime inspiration for you:

 

https://www.f-16.net/g3/var/resizes/f-16-photos/album37/album20/acu.jpg?m=1371905893

 

https://www.f-16.net/g3/var/resizes/f-16-photos/album37/album20/acq.jpg?m=1371919071

 

https://www.f-16.net/g3/var/resizes/f-16-photos/album37/album20/adt.jpg?m=1371927193

 

https://www.f-16.net/g3/var/resizes/f-16-photos/album37/album20/aeq.jpg?m=1371927060

 

https://www.f-16.net/g3/var/resizes/f-16-photos/album37/album20/afs.jpg?m=1371917554

 

https://www.f-16.net/g3/var/resizes/f-16-photos/album37/album20/agi.jpg?m=1371922913

 

https://www.f-16.net/g3/var/resizes/f-16-photos/album37/album20/agv.jpg?m=1371903202

 

https://www.f-16.net/g3/var/resizes/f-16-photos/album37/album20/agw.jpg?m=1371896127

 

https://www.f-16.net/g3/var/resizes/f-16-photos/album37/album20/ahb.jpg?m=1371897891

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@Phantom726 thanks a lot for the insights, that should really help! I was kind of hoping for a cool load-out at first when I got the kit. Oh well, luckily I have that BAF MLU on the bench :)

 

So, the black radome/nose section on the F-16B is something I need some more information on. As I understand it was discontinued after block 1 due to it being quite an eye-catcher. Do you by any chance know what colour that nose is? The FS code should suffice.

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Well, it can really be almost any grey - the coating on the nose picks up dirt and grime very easily, and is prone to fading as well. Some are lighter, some are darker, take your pic - there's a famous shot of a lineup of 31st FW Aviano birds with wildly varying shades. 

 

Paint it any grey, and somewhere there's a photo to prove that you're right. 

 

HTH,

 

Andre

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3 hours ago, Bernd A. said:

@Phantom726 thanks a lot for the insights, that should really help! I was kind of hoping for a cool load-out at first when I got the kit. Oh well, luckily I have that BAF MLU on the bench :)

 

So, the black radome/nose section on the F-16B is something I need some more information on. As I understand it was discontinued after block 1 due to it being quite an eye-catcher. Do you by any chance know what colour that nose is? The FS code should suffice.

As stated by Andre, the color of the nose cones differ significantly. You'll need to go through photos and decide what suits your model! 🙂

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Thanks for the replies @Phantom726 & @Hook, I am still a little indecisive about the nose. The pictures are great for reference, but they tend to differ as has been said before. Would Tamiya XF-1 be too dark? The most dark gray I currently have on the bench is XF-54 (not counting glossy gun metal) which I'll be using for the darker gray parts of the F-16 "camo" scheme.

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XF-1 is flat black so that would need to be glossed up a bit to represent one of the early blocks with the black nose.
XF-54 is close to FS36270 if I recall correctly. That could be an option for the later blocks. Again, tonal variation to the radomes ranged from deep grey to light grey. Here´s an example for ET-204. Same airframe in all the photos - yet multiple shades on the radome:

https://abpic.co.uk/pictures/construction-number/6G-1

 

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On 2/1/2021 at 6:31 AM, Phantom726 said:

Danish F-16s never carried external jammers unlike most other users. The Danes incorporated the jammers into the wing pylons.

HTH

Hi there HTH

 

Please post some photos or link

 

Regards

 

Armando

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7 hours ago, RAGATIGER said:

Please post some photos or link

 

There's some info on p. 5 of this TERMA brochure,

 

https://www.terma.com/media/105013/integrated_electronic_warfare_self-protection_solutions_for_all_types_fo_aircraft_-_brochure.pdf

 

Also, see halfway here, under "Pylon Integrated Dispenser".

 

Cheers,

 

Andre 

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