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AFV Club F-CK-1 Ching-kuo

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/48 scale plastic model aircraft kit
Designed and manufactured in Taiwan, the “Ching-kuo” Indigenous Defense Fighter came into existence due to a U.S. arms agreement with China. However, the inspiration and influence of the F-16 design is obvious.

Taiwan is the only operator of this aircraft; both single- and two-seat versions have been produced and have seen service.

AFV Club presents a new tool of this interesting little aircraft in 1/48 scale; previously, the only one was a basic representation from Zhengdefu.

Opening the box reveals a lot of parts for such a small aircraft! Some are tiny and require extra care to ensure they do not fly into oblivion. The gear-door actuating arms are particularly small, and I must confess the miniscule throttle is MIA.

Closer inspection reveals several exterior surfaces have a general roughness that demands sanding if you want a smooth surface to paint.

A big letdown of this kit are the resin instrument panel and side panel — almost as though the master were some porous foam, with soft detail and rough texture. There is beautifully molded plastic for these parts, but they are for the F-CK-1A, not the F-CK-1C called out on the decal sheet.

Otherwise, cockpit detail is sharp, accurate, and receives paints well. Photo-etched or fabric seat belts would be the only thing worth adding.

Construction was a breeze: Everything fit well with just the smallest smear of filler in a few areas where sprue attachment points marred the finish.

If you want the canopy closed, the inner canopy rails (Part D11) will prevent it; omit the rails and the fit is fine. Interestingly, there are no alignment pins for the missiles on their rails. A diagram shows where the end of the missile should be, but there is no other indicator. The missile rails have nice detail on their faces (though it is hidden by the missiles themselves). Somehow, the slots that are supposed to accept the separate forward fins on the AIM-9P4 Sidewinder and TC-1 Sky Sword are not long enough for the fins. The centerline-mounted TC-2 Sky Sword II missiles are mounted on trapezes that can be either retracted or extended.

Air-to-ground munitions will have to be obtained from other sources.

Detail in the wheel wells/undercarriage is well done. The mount of all parts is solid and secure, and can wait until after painting. Air brakes can be shown deployed or closed.

The air brake on the F-CK-1 (and F-16) has a small “eyelid” cover in front of the brake panel on the underside. This is the only kit that I am aware of that correctly depicts this cover as a separate piece, allowing it to be correctly set in the open position.

AFV Club has a novel idea of supplying a sheet of red vinyl to make Remove Before Flight tags. You cut the material into thin strips, punch a hole in one end, and apply decals to both sides for the appropriate script.

The kit’s decals worked quite well and responded favorably to GSI Creos Mr. Mark Softer and Mr. Mark Setter. There are four sets of markings provided, all of which are for the -C (or MLU) version of the aircraft.

This is a terrific little kit that occupied approximately 30 hours of enjoyable bench time. There are no real pitfalls to watch out for during construction, since everything fits pretty well.

I’ve wanted to add this aircraft to my collection for years. AFV Club has brought us a kit that is easy to build and reflects the design and look of the aircraft very well. I will more than likely build a two-seat F-CK-1D as well!

Note: A version of this review appeared in the March 2018 issue.
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