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DECAL SHEET REVIEW


Speed Hunter Graphics # 32006
Big Scale Vipers
1:32 Scale


Over the last 20 years, the USAF F-16 Fighting Falcons have conducted a wide variety of missions at home and abroad, from securing homeland airspace following 9/11 to bringing the war on terror to the doorstep of Al Qaeda and ISIL.  The General Dynamics (now Lockheed) F-16 Fighting Falcon remains a workhorse of the USAF and ANG inventories.  While these jets often have a lot of flight hours on them, they are also equipped with some of the most recent systems upgrades, structural enhancements, and other features seen on front-line jets.      

This decal sheet set by Speed Hunter Graphics provides markings for 10 F-16Cs and CJs assigned to various F-16 squadrons between 1998 and 2015. Sized for the Tamiya family of 1:32 scale F-16Cs, they cover a range of tail numbers, production blocks, squadrons, and history: 

These decals were designed by Speed Hunter Graphics and printed by Cartograf of Italy – you can’t really get any better than this.  Print quality is exemplary and carrier film is precisely applied right at the very edges of each decal.  Complete airframe stencils (including HTS pod markings) are provided for one jet.

The markings and configuration notes are very accurate and insightful.  In the instructions, the markings guide contains detailed technical and historical notes for each airframe, including notes on the airplanes with the AAIF and CCIP updates and BLOS upgrades.  Other even more subtle and unique airframe variations are noted.

The choices of paint schemes are really great, covering very distinctive F-16Cs from the Tacos of the New Mexico ANG, to the HARM-slinging SEAD (Wild Weasel) F-16s from Misawa to South Carolina.  I particularly love the great tail art on the South Dakota ANG, Wild Weasel 50th Anniversary SCANG jet, and the Minnesota ANG aircraft.

A few notes – pay attention to the tail number and corresponding Block number – important configuration details, from whether in your build you’ll use the small mouth NSI intake, the large mouth MCID intake, GE or Pratt & Whitney motors, specific patterns of external “beef-up” or structural stiffener plates, and AIFF antenna configurations.  Books such as Melampy’s F-16 volumes and his forthcoming F-16C/D Exposed Volume 2 (look for it in early 2017) are the best resources to help the scale modeler navigate these constantly evolving and sometimes complex airframe configurations. 

Another attractive feature on this sheet is that three of the F-16s (89-0005, 91-0336, and 89-2082) are painted as HAVE GLASS jets.  This is a stealthy paint scheme that reduces radar signature and is very similar to that flown on the 5th generation F-35.  The ‘paint’ consists of a high-dielectric-constant polymer base with embedded ferromagnetic particles to absorb and scatter radar energy.  The instructions correctly note that FS 36706 is a pretty close match, though the metallic sheen of the HAVE GLASS finish that you can see under some lighting conditions and certain angles will require the builder to perhaps mix in some metallic shades.  HAVE GLASS jets also have a rough finish and tend to accumulate dirt and grime a lot more prominently than traditionally painted F-16s.  Check your references.       

Many thanks to Jake Melampy for the review sample. You can find Speed Hunter Graphics on the web at http://www.reidairpublishing.com/category-s/1824.htm and get this decal sheet from that site or at Sprue Brothers (http://spruebrothers.com).

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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