• F-16 and P-61

    by  • December 11, 2012 • Scale Models • 0 Comments

    One new project and one old in-progress project.

    The first is an F-16CJ Wild Weasel in 1/32 scale. The model is by Academy, and it’s big. Lots of parts and some build challenges so far.

    Academy’s 1/32 scale F-16CJ under construction

    The biggest challenge was the lower half of the fuselage, which seemed to be slightly bent. The air intake housing did not fit well into the lower fuselage, and required a lot of patience to squeeze it and then glue it into place. Then the main landing gear housing fit was very tight. Above the main landing gear bay is the rear section of the air intake, which ideally would mate with the front half of the air intake. Shining a light into the air intake should reveal the compressor fan at the front of the engine. But, I had to cut away part of the air intake on the landing gear bay to make it work.

    The Main Gear Landing Bay

    As you can see, I’ve pre-painted items that will be covered by the canopy or panels, and dirtied them up a bit with Vallio sepia wash. Adding the gear is the next step in construction, but I’ll probably wait until I’ve given the model it’s base coat and painted it before returning to interior details.

    The M-61 Vulcan cannon

    One of the biggest criticisms of this particular casting is the cockpit. The angle of the pilot seat is too far back, and the cockpit glare shield is apparently wrong (and not attached yet). The model allows you to display the Vulcan cannon and ammunition casing. After viewing some excellent close up shots of Dutch F-16s, I repainted some parts and added a bundle of cables coming out of the side of the gun, which I need to touch up again now.

    The top and bottom of the fuselage did not want to mate and hold together, especially up front. I wound up using some superglue, which did the trick, but the seams are messy and will need some patient sanding to even out.

    Academy’s P-61 Widow Maker in 1/48 scale

    The old project is this P-61B Black Widow in 1/48 scale.  This is also an Academy kit, which I purchased just before learning of the very popular Great Wall version of the P-61 in 1/48. I’ve got it painted and decaled, and now just need to finish off some of the details, like the propellers. I didn’t add enough weight in the nose, so I have a piece of clear plastic rod keeping it from falling back on its tail. The P-61 is one of the most iconic American plans of the war, and didn’t get into the fight until late. I think it’s a fascinating design.

    That’s all for today. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, let me know!


    Michael has been writing professionally for print, television and the internet for thirty years. As a Senior Producer at CNN International, he examined the future of technology with dozens of brilliant scientists, philosophers and entrepreneurs on the acclaimed series Future Summit. Before that, in the CNN International newsroom, he helped lead the production of award winning coverage of news like the 9/11 attacks, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the devastating 2004 tsunami in Asia. As a director, he has created a dozen short films in the last seven years. He lives with his wife, dog, four cats and two horses in the suburbs of Atlanta.


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