General Dynamics F-16 
"Prototypes and experimentals"


General Dynamics F-16 prototypes and experimentals in 1/72 scale : modelling reports
Prototype F-16
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F-16 CCV

On this page some typical F-16 prototypes and experimentals during development of this aircraft.  During the development stages of the F-16 "light weight fighter", several prototypes, early development and experimental F-16 types were used. 

The first F-16 flew "by accident" during a high-speed taxi test on 20 January 1974. The test pilot, Phil Oestricher, decided to lift off to avoid crashing and safely landed with some damage few minutes later. The YF-16's first supersonic flight was in February 1974, and the second YF-16 prototype first flew May 1974. 

Many stories say that the initial F-16's prototypes were "90%" scale of the later F-16 variants. I never saw how that could be true. F-16's later developed got modified and became heavier, but these modifications were in various areas. Not a straight 90 > 100% upscale. New stabilizers, thicker noses, updated wings and engines and much more like new systems were applied but that depends on the particular F-16 version. Yes, later F-16's were very different than the prototypes but not simply "scaled up". 
 

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F-16 Prototype

First the prototype was tackled as I had a very old Revell F-16 kit in the stash (a F-16 CCV will also be made). 
Memories came back when I bought this old Revell kit as a boy, as the Revell kit was very impressive for me: it had many stores, a very colourfull presentation and even an engine and a tractor, engine dolly and more were in the kit!

It was decided to simply do a rather "straight out of the box" or read: "back to basics" build. Make the kit using current techniques, but otherwise just simply accept any faults and inaccuracies. Just for fun here to go back to old days.

The Revell kit no. H-222-3800 dates back from 1976. It was in white plastic and even inscribed panels, although a bit rough. Many sprues covered stores like fueltanks, bombs and their bombracks, and much more like an engine and a tractor, engine dolly and more were in the kit!. 



Two schemes through decals were provided:
- the red-white-blue F-16 prototype scheme for "F-16" , serial 07515 
- a vague "grey USAF" version

The old kit was simply assembled. Surprisingly the fit was not at all that bad! The inner engine parts were not installed during step 3, only the engine fan #15. In step 4 the speedbrakes were set closed. The tailhook was set retracted. The main wheels were replaced by spares from the F-16A Plus as well as the nose wheel. 

Next, a base white coat was applied with the airbrush, using Revell Aqua white #301 acrylic.

The most difficult part is applying the F-16 paint scheme for "07515". This serial number looks incorrect and hypothetical, but it was used anyway for this "back to basic" build. The main effort that took "modern days" techniques was using a fine airbrush and masking tape and... a lot of patience. 

Colours used were a base gloss white, and later Tamiya Red X7 and Tamiya  Royal Blue X7 acrylics. The reason that I used Tamiya was that the airbrushing was combined with a parallel made much larger F-16 Thunderbirds in 1/32 scale.....


The decals of the old Revell kit are need particular for the tail logo's but a bit "yellow". Put the decals one week behind a window and the sunshine will "remove" the yellow. On the kits a mix using newer decals from the spares box was applied. This F-16 had no black walkway lines I believe, so these were not applied. 


Two large fueltanks as in the kit are only set under the wings. The tractor, engine dolly, tow bar and ladder got a yellow colour. The model setting will be similar to the one shown on the box art.  To protect the model, decals and to get an even gloss sheen, with the airbrush a coat of GUNZE SANGYO #H30 acrylic clear was added. 

The completed F-16 Prototype model is seen here......


The tractor and engine dolly are also in the Revell kit. 

...and set on the airfield tarmac....

Also a F-16 CCV will be made... (Interested in American prototype aircraft? Have a look here... )

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References on F-16 aircraft:
- see F-16 1/32 info page here..... 
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Created this page 
October 1, 2013