Mitsubishi 
F-2 Fighter JASDF 
[Page 1]
designer

F-2 model in 1/32 scale: modelling report and conversion by Meindert de Vreeze

Conversion from F-16 kit 

The Mitsubishi F-2 fighter from Japan always had my attention as an interesting aircraft with its F-16 resemblance and nice colours. In 1/32 a model would be a very nice companion to the F-16 models, and as I had been given a spare F-16C kit from Revell by my good modelling friend Peter and still had some spare parts from F-16 kits of Hasegawa, I started a conversion project.


The Revell F-16 kit is quite basic but has an accurate shape for a F-16 model. The kit has been released in several variants, an F-16"A", "C" including such schemes as the greys, agressor scheme, Tiger scheme etc. There is no engine intake ducting and the cockpit has no details, decals being supplied for the instrument panels. It has rubber wheels and the undercarriage bays are not too bad. You also get some stores, but only 1 centerline fueltank. Stores like the Sidewinders are very basic. 

This kit will be extensively be converted into a Japanese F-2 fighter. So let's start....


First some history about the real plane:

The F-2 is intended to be the latest generation fighter for the JASDF as companion of the currently used F-15J's. Starting in the nineteen nineties, the Japanese aircraft industry started to develop their own fighter, using expertise of General Dynamics/Lockheed on the F-16. Mitsubishi acted as main contractor. 
Called the FS-X, the aircraft looks like a F-16 but is very different indeed. The wing is significantly larger than the F-16 wing. The rear fuselage is one frame longer; it has a tri-part canopy and lots of new Japanese avionics and internal equipment. The radome is also slightly larger to host the radar.
The engine is the now standard F-16 engine, the GE F-110-GE. The subtype is the -129 engine. 

The now called F-2 has a lot of underwing pylons that can carry Japanese missiles and standard US ordnance. First flight was in 1995. The F-2 has a good performance but the project had lots of problems and cost overruns. At the end of 2004 it was decided by the Japanese Government that the number of F-2's that will be put into service will be much lower than originally envisaged. 
F-2 wingspan (including the tip launchers) is 11.13 m, length 15.52 m.


As a reference for the conversion I obtained the 1/72 kit of the F-2 of Hasegawa number E15. It is a state of the art kit for this scale and can be used a check up model for the larger 1/32 model based on the Revell F-16 kit to be made.
1/72 kit 

The F-2 fuselage has an extra frame in the rear fuselage. 

A cut was made in the upper fuselage and at a more forward position in the lower fuselage to keep some strength in the to be assembled fuselage later on.
An insert was made of bended card, adding strength with longitudinal strips. 

The extra fuselage length is here one frame, being  11 mm in 1/32 scale. 

 Below can be seen the added card for strength inside the rear fuselage. 

Measuring the Hasegawa kit it was discovered that the F-2 has the smaller engine air intake, despite the GE-110 engine used. This is the same as the first F-16C 's that were delivered to the USAF at about the same period the F-2 project was started. This meant that the older style F-16 intake was needed. Although the Revell kit has the correct small intake, the kit gives you no intake ducting! One looks straight into the bare fuselage and nose wheel bay. As I had a spare Hasegawa 1/32 intake (of the Hasegawa S27/ 08027 or use the S25/ 08025 kit), I decided to craft this intake onto the Revell kit. The result is seen here and it fits very well indeed with some cutting, sanding and filler.

The Hasegawa F-16 kit's intake is much better and sharper moulded that the one of the Revell kit so this is an improvement indeed. Also, the main wheel bay is also much better and will be used as it is integrally moulded on the intake ducting of the Hasegawa kit.

It can be seen here. A small part of the Revell intake was still needed on the side of tha main gear bay. This was cut-off and installed. 

 
The F-2 wings are much (about 35 %) larger that the wing of the F-16. Also the wing span is larger. It was discovered that the wing sweep is also a bit different but the larger area is in the inboard wing sections near the to be blended in fuselage. The outboard sections are very similar to that of the F-16 ! Using the Revell kit's wing, a conversion using these parts can be done. Several cuts are needed, see the pictures.

The tips needs some slightly different angles of sweep, the launching rails for the wing tip missiles were cut off. Note the small portion of wing that was also cut off here.

Below, the new added area made with thick card is seen of the inboard sections. A lower and upper piece of card was used to get body into the inboard wing profiles and the get the appropriate wing shape. Make sure to get enough strength by using supporting thick card.

As can be seen in the picture, the inboard card section is tapered as the wing sweep angle is not so big as on the General Dynamics/Lockheed F-16. This is caused by the fact that the wing loading is smaller than on the F-16, requiring less sweep for similar performance. 

The section added has the dimensions as een in the picture, measurement in millimeters (mm).
In fact the triangular wing root section is 16 mm at the leading edge and 32 mm at the trailing edge. Also note the small fillet at the rear, the flap section cut-off the F-16 wing and re-installed at the fuselage with some extra card. 


The radar nose of the F-2 is slightly larger , especially at the lower section of the radar nose. A lower cut was made in the Revell radarcone , the nose bended in a slightly different shape and card used to get a smooth result. The radar nose width was kep the same as for the original (F-16) nose. 
The radar nose is also a bit more tilted down when seen sideways, this can be done through sanding off some plastic.. Filler is needed later on.

Nose wheel bay can be used as supplied for the F-16. 
Below can be seen massive amounts of filler to smoothing things up. A lot of sanding , patience and work is needed here... but the F-2 is beginning to emerge as a model...

The F-2 cockpit section is also changed compared to the F-16, with a 3 piece canopy and the cockpit is also slightly more forward in the fuselage. A cut was made, some material removed. The rear section of the F-16 cockpit canopy can be used. Of the main canopy, the rear part can be used. A new windscreen is needed however that is more straight curved (will be done later on)

Some blending and filling is seen here. Also note the wider sidewalls made with some card.

The stabilizers of the F-2 are also much larger than those of the F-16. The F-16 parts can be used as a basis however, supplemented with again pieces of plastic card. An 8 mm wide root section was added, the tip section trailing edge was sanded in a triangular shape. 

Filling and sanding gives the correct larger stabilizers.


The basic shape of the F-2 is seen here. Also note the wing root edge/fuselage LEX , made from card and blended in with putty. The wing is much bigger now! 

The F-16 vertical tail can seen with a thin base section (at the older F-16A's) or a thick base. The thick section tail is normally used on the later variants of the F-16, from the F-16C onwards. 

The F-2 tail is similar to the later F-16C tail. The kit's tail however does not have the long parachute fairing as seen in also in for example the actual F-16C.  As I had a spare 1/32 scale Hasegawa vertical tail of the F-16C with a thick lower base, I used that part. The fairing at the rear was extended with card, filler and sanding was needed off course.

 separated parts...

Below, the forward windscreen can be seen made using a spare part from the spares box. (note: It can also be made from a simple straight curved section of clear plastic acetate if needed). 
Also note the wingroot fillets made from card and filler , making the F-2 wing more blended into the fuselage and air flow being guided aft the cockpit. 

Also, at the wing leading edges, 2 small fairings (I think for ECM antennas) were added from a piece of plastic rod and sanded in shape.

on to F-2 PAGE [2]......

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LAST UPDATE OCTOBER 29, 2005 

 
References:
- 50 years of JASDF, MOOK, mr. Tokunaga, Aoki, Matsuzaki,  ISBN 4-87149-627-9: has splendid colour pictures!
- The Hasegawa kit of the F-2 in 1/72 or 1/48 scale
- Air International volume 52 page 145-150
- World Air Power journal 39, pages 40-50
- www.F-16.net
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Created February 5 , 2005