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IDF F-16A Fighting Falcon

Or: Bang for the Buck Part III

n by Rafi Ben-Shahar

I am not a great fan of topics related to aircraft of the Israeli Defence Force. Yet, from the perspective of model making, I cannot turn a blind eye to the geographical proximity and high accessibility to related references. The F-16A Fighting Falcon has become a favourite topic of mine, particularly since the IDF camouflage scheme is among the most diversified in the otherwise ubiquitous dull grey variations that dominate other air forces.

Where's the Bang for the Buck?

Thanks to the low price of Hasegawa's old 1/48 F-16A kit, I was able to dwell on the intricacies  of the IDF Netz. The kit is not free of glitches. These include the conspicuous seam along the canopy, lack of proper fit between the fuselage and wings, built-in tilt upon the installation of undercarriage and terrible seams inside the air intake to name a few.

Nonetheless, and in spite of the Hasegawa kit's age, the crisp panel lines and accurate design come only marginally short by comparison to the contemporary 1/48 Tamiya F-16CJ. In addition, what makes this kit a true Bang for the Buck candidate is that it does not require additional aftermarket goodies other than decals.

Most aircraft in the IDF service have been heavily modified and deviate sometimes extensively from the original production-standard machines. However, the Netz retained its original form and requires very few modifications that can be made from scratch or be found in the spare box. For example, the flare and chaff dispensers were taken from Hasegawa's Phantom II sprues. In addition, I acquired some low cost Aces II resin cast ejection seats that I spread among newly built models. The open structure of the cockpit contributes a tremendous boost to the overall appearance of the model.

The camouflage scheme airbrushed with Humbrol Nos. 119, 120 mixture with 121 and white looks extremely close to the appearance of the real aircraft.

From a time perspective, I can see that have not managed to excel my original building style significantly when comparing the old "107" and newer "290". However, I do apply my lessons in the more advanced C and D models. 

In all, I keep finding myself going back and planning some more building projects around the Netz because its cheap, easy, accessible and looks great together with the older models on the display shelf.

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