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Kinetic 1/48 scale F-16C Block 25/42 USAF plastic model kit review

An all-new kit with weapons stores to spare
Kit:K48102 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$49.99
Excellent recessed details; lots of ordnance; multiple variants
Black-and-white instructions; some flash; predrilled mounting holes
Injection-molded plastic (light gray, clear); 220 parts; decals
The F-16 “Fighting Falcon” lightweight, multirole fighter jet entered service in 1979. Originally conceived as a day fighter, it has evolved during its career into an all-weather strike fighter. Over 4,500 F-16s have been built and serve 25 allied air forces around the world. What’s more, is that the aircraft remains in production with no end in sight.

Kinetic produced its first F-16 in 2008. This latest offering, an all-new F-16C Block 25/42, shares no common parts with the older kit and is molded in light gray plastic with fine recessed details throughout.

Construction starts, as usual, with the cockpit. The instrument panel and side console details are sharply molded but sparse. There is no sidewall or rear bulkhead detail, but the kit provides decals for the instrument panel and side consoles. While fair, the ACES-II ejection seat has no molded-on or photo-etched metal seat belts. You’ll need to fill a small gap on the rear of the headrest.

The aft section of the air intake includes the well-detailed main landing-gear bay. Raised and recessed panel lines, plumbing, and other ancillary details adorn its interior. You can install the landing gear after gluing the bay into the fuselage.

Despite its detail, the main gear bay presented the kit’s biggest challenge. Part D7, which forms the bottom of the gear well, has a pronounced step where it meets the lower aft fuselage. I had to sand and fill this area to reduce the step, but I could not eliminate it entirely. Pay attention to the assembly instructions because there are two different configurations for each production block.

The air intakes build up from four pieces with a noticeable seam along the intake walls. The good news is that you can see only the forward section once the whole model is assembled, lessening necessary cleanup.

The forward fuselage and upper wings come molded together, eliminating the seam where the wings join the fuselage that appears in other kits. However, pay attention here because there are two production block options in this kit. If you choose Block 25, the “bird-slicer” IFF antennas must be removed and sanded until smooth. Be careful — be too aggressive, and you’ll remove the fine recessed details during sanding and have to scribe them again.

The lower wing halves left small gaps along the fuselage that needed filling. Also, the mounting holes for underwing stores are predrilled. This might please some builders, but if you don’t plan to mount any ordnance, you’ll have to fill them.

The final assembly is straightforward, but be careful of the static dischargers on the trailing edge of the wings and tail planes. Molded on, they are easy to bend or break. You’ll also find more block differences for antennas and missile rails. The kit includes a large selection of ordnance, including Sidewinders, AMRAAMs, laser-guided bombs, and ECM and laser designator pods, along with the usual fuel tanks.

The flaps can be posed up or down, and poly-caps allow you to move the horizontal stabilizers.

Kinetic offers three marking options: two in Hill Gray II camo and one in the new Have Glass V scheme. The finely printed decals appear in-register, but they need a decal setting solution to adhere properly. I painted my Falcon with Mr. Color paints and a flat clear coat.

I spent about 30 hours building the new Kinetic 1/48 scale F-16C Block 25/42 plastic model kit. Despite a few wrinkles, it makes an excellent replica. Kinetic has already announced a two-seat boxing, and, going by its previous lineup, more variants are sure to be on the way for fans of this important fighter.
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