Ah... The new Academy kit, I would say one of the best 72nd scale F-16 offering in the current market. You get lots of stuff in the box, very nice details (rivets on a 1/72 aircraft!!! Cockpit details .etc), decals by Cartograf (markings for 5 planes I think).
The pretty boxart...
Sprue layout, something different done by Academy is that they molded some sort of protective shield on the clear sprue to protect your clear part, very nice indeed.
And the Cartograf decals, lots of markings and teeny weeny stencils...
I started work first on the canopy, since there's a long flash in the surface, sanded lightly with 400 grit, then 600 grit and 1000 grit sandpaper. Then I used dried up powder metal polish to polish, doesn't work as well as rubbing compound as it left the surface a little hazy. A dip into Future to brighten things up!
Leaving the canopy to cure somewhere safe from dust, I started work on the cockpit. Same as usual, dry-brushing to highlight the raised detail. Ejection seat came in 5 parts, was quite a pain to put together. But I ended up with this
Intakes.... very precise fitting needed here to get a perfect fit without putty, otherwise might end up like mine, having a large seam where the intake lips join the 'main intake area thingie'. Also, when joining the intake to the lower fuselage, again careful positioning for perfect fit, or end up having a step like mine..... -.-
Weapons loadout configuration will be like this: (Image taken from www.F-16.net)
Stations 1/9: AIM- 120 AMRAAM
Stations 2/8: AIM-9X Sidewinder
Stations 3/7: GBU-38 JDAM
Stations 4/6: Fuel tank
Initially, I planned to load stations 3/7 with HARM, but one of it flew out of the window, and into oblivion so I had to change to something else...
More progress done during the weekend. landing areas painted white, aircraft preshaded! (Look at all those panels!!!)
And finally I started the painting stage. Paint used were according to the instruction manual. Underside was easy, just one color to cover the whole thing, but masking the inside of the intake was tricky. Did some high-lighting of panels on the topside so it doesn't look so plain.
Exhaust cone painted and decals up!!! Quality thin decals printed by Cartograf! Oil wash done and whole plane futured!!! Will leave it to cure for a day or two before the final flat coat.
Exhaust cone. Masking those black parts was quite a job! You can see from the photo that the decal responded quite nicely with mark softer, sitting nicely in the panel line and rivets.
Underside, landing gears mounted, gotta admit it was extremely frustrating to assemble it, over 10+ tiny and thin parts.
And Future brushed on...
And just to show how tiny some decals are (especially the 'No Step' decals), pls ignore the speck of dust near the exhaust area :)