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Academy 72nd F-16CG/CJ Initial Review

Unread postPosted: 13 Apr 2008, 23:44
by ViperEnforcer
Many Viper fans have been anticipating the Academy 72nd F-16CG/CJ arrival to finally deliver a “complete” Late Block F-16 in this scale. Both Hasegawa and Revell have released late block F-16s, but both are missing key features like the heavy weight gear and other details.

The first hint of Academy’s 72nd F-16CG/CJ can at the last Nuremburg show, where the sprue shots were on display. Since then, there have been other photos of the sprues surfacing on the net. I was able analyze hi-res sprue shots from a contact in Korea. Unfortunately it was quite obvious that this kit was going to be a scaled down version of the 32nd scale Academy F-16CG/CJ kit. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the 32nd scale kit, it’s plagued with a multitude of major inaccuracies and shape errors.

See my LSP review compared to the Tamiya 32nd F-16CJ: ... =6792&st=0


Unlike the 32nd scale kit, the 72nd F-16CG/CJ can only be built as the Block 40 or 50 F-16, as there are no provisions for the NSI intake or Pratt & Whitney Exhaust assembly.

The 72nd scale kit basically a blind scale down of their 32nd F-16CG/CJ, carrying over all the major inaccuracies and adding a few more on top of that. Shape and accuracy errors still exist with the intake, forward fuselage profile, vertical tail dorsal, wheels, MLG doors, GE exhaust, etc... There are also some new problems that arise in the 72nd scale kit over the 32nd F-16CG/CJ I’ll identify in this review.

One of the first deficiencies I noticed was the tooling quality. All the surfaces have a grainy texture to them. It’s like the whole kit as acid etched, giving a somewhat rough feel to some of the parts. This is not a good painting surface for a kit in this scale! Some of the parts are worse than others, like the wings, tanks, and AIFF panel.

The cockpit detail is nice, but the instrament panel is squashed due to the inaccurate flat profile of the glare shield. This is not the scale as the 32nd glare shield, which was grossly inaccurate. The 72nd scale version is better defined, but still off. The side walls are flat panes with somewhat erroneous detail and they do not match the forward console side contours what so ever! You will be left with major gaps in this area.

I like the canopy, as it is nicely done and the only F-16 canopy in 72nd scale that has the proper "bubble" cross section! This is most evident by the seam running down the middle of the canopy.

The MCID intake (no NSI or Pratt exhaust included in the 72nd scale kit) mouth profile is still off. The side profile totally wrong, as it's too thick in cross section and there's nearly no clearance for the wedge splitter, much less the side RAM ducts which are pretty much not represented at all.

The MLG wheel wells are nicely detailed, near equivalent to the Revell kit and superior to the Hasegawa F-16. This also the only kit in this scale that has the heavy weight gear!

The radome is molded with the upper and lower fuselage halves. There are diamond raised plats where the AOA probes are. These do not exist on the real jet and should be removed. The over narrowing of the fore fuselage (avionics bays) prior to the radome, gives the nose a pointed look about it. Both Revell and Hasegawa correctly depicted this area, as I have no idea how Academy got this wrong.

The gun muzzle is a strange affair. First off, fit is poor and the gun muzzle port sides are way too thick. This could be corrected but thinning the sides down, but I have yet to try this.

Another major error is the aft fuselage side strakes, where the stabs mount. On the real jet, from the flaperons the strakes gradually slope down to 10 degrees. The stabs set position is at 10 degrees anhedral; similar to the F-4. Instead of properly angling the aft fuselage strakes down, Academy used the same short cut as they did in their 48th scale kit. They tooled the aft strake flat with non angle and just beveled in the angle on the inside mating surfaces of the stabs. What a Cop-Out!

You get a nice choice of ordinance; Aim-120Bs, AIM-9s, JDAMs, HARMS, a good selection for use on both the Block 40 and 50 F-16s and their respective missions load requirements.

The decals are one of the best aspects of the kit. Well printed by Cartograf, you get marking for 4 units; Misawa, Shaw, Osan, and

Overall it’s an ok kit, nothing outstanding or impressive overall, just ok. Its' a shame Academy did not correct their obvious errors in from their 32nd scale kit, as Academy just settled on scaling down the 32nd scale kit and then added a few more problems on top of that, when they could have made this kit so much better and accurate. This is unfortunate since the surface detailing is more complete than the Revell and Hasegawa F-16s.

Considering the major shape and accuracy errors in the Academy F-16 and rough/grainy surface detail, this kit does not take the place of "best F-16” in 72nd scale. The ROG F-16 kit still retains that title, with Hasegawa second. However, Academy does score well with the Blown canopy, heavy weight gear, great stores selection, and quality decals OOTB. With most of the major errors addressed like the intake, forward fuselage, aft side strakes and the exhaust, this kit can be made into quite an accurate late Block F-16.

Mike V

RE: Academy 72nd F-16CG/CJ Initial Review

Unread postPosted: 16 Apr 2008, 20:28
by Habu
Thanks again Mike. Was waiting for this. One other thing I'll note about this kit, is that it looks like the retail price will be near the $30 tag for their new F-18 kit. While the RoG kit is still just $17 or less. Even if the Academy kit was superior, the RoG kit would still be a better value.

RE: Academy 72nd F-16CG/CJ Initial Review

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2008, 02:15
by ViperEnforcer
Right, overall the Revell kit is still a better value. Besides, with some of teh upgrades we have planned, they will bring the Revell F-16C kit to top notch standards in accuracy and detail.

RE: Academy 72nd F-16CG/CJ Initial Review

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2010, 05:20
by kampfer1945
I recently bought the Academy 1:72 F-16 CJ/CG kit and despite the inherent shape problems; I have found this kit to be quite good and thoroughly detailed through out. The decals by cartograph are short of nothing but outstanding. However I digress there are some fit problems. The wide air intake assembly is a bit awkward and has some ill fitting gaps also another area that left me scratching my head is the seperately molded gun bulkhead panel; again ill fitting. Despite those foibles I believe that this kit deserves a second look. I have always been a fan of Hasegawa and Tamiya respectively. However Hasegawa's kits are some 20+ years old and lack ordanance for their payloads and purchasing the seperately boxed weapons sets (which are hard to find) do not have the current weapons for block 40/50/52/60 Vipers, also all together makes it cost prohibitive. Tamiya's kit I am sure is very good in 48th, but if the 72nd kit is a Italeri reboxing I have some angst. Italeri has in the past been notorius for taking short cuts and leaving out details in the cockpit area and they have had issues with panel line placement, also the decals are either hit or miss. Tamiya you're basically paying for the name despite their usual high quality moldings. The slightly grainy surface of the Academy kit as forementioned has posed no problem under a coat of paint, also for those of you who have been up and close to todays combat aircraft the paint on them have a grainy texture. All in all I try to keep an objective veiw on all preveiws. Also remember what the hobby is about: our enjoyment. :)
This thing is like a wolf. This thing is a wolf. Thus it is a thing to be banished. Mamoru Oshii.

RE: Academy 72nd F-16CG/CJ Initial Review

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2010, 10:06
by Habu
Whoa! Resurrected thread! You're a bit behind, but I will say that you're a bit off on the ordnance. Hasegawa weapons sets are readily available, and the latest one, Weapons Set VII has modern weapons...LGB, JDAM, etc..

RE: Academy 72nd F-16CG/CJ Initial Review

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2010, 14:45
by kampfer1945
I was not aware of a seventh weapons set thank you for that info. I stand corrected in that area. But as previously stated why spend 40.00 to 50.00 on the kit and then spend more for all of the weapons sets? When with the Academy kit you get the appropriate stores all in one and then some for the spares box. It's like buying two seperate main courses when you can enjoy the whole buffet.......

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2010, 14:52
by kampfer1945
Speaking of newish kits anyone tried the 48th Kinetic or 72nd Hobbyboss kits would like some feedback on this if anyone has.

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2010, 16:33
by Habu
The RoG kit is around $17, and the weapons sets are usually about $8. The 48th Kinetic, kits has been well covered here and on You can search for the reviews. But generally, not favorable. The Tamiya kit is still the reigning monarch.
As for the CopyBoss kit in 72nd...STAY AWAY!

Unread postPosted: 17 Feb 2010, 00:24
by kampfer1945
I'm surprised as all the reveiws for the Kinetic 48th scale Vipers I have read have been highly recommended and even classed as being on par with other high end kit makers in terms of detail, fit, and choice of weapons payload. Now Hobby Boss I can say I have a few of their 48th kits and must say they are outstanding! Their A-10 kit is very good and has excellent detail throughout and is light years beyond the vaughnted Monogram, Tamiya, and Italeri offerings. The Rafale C kit offered by them has been stated as a copy of the Revell Germany kit but is a totally new mold and again is most excellent, as for the 72nd "Easy Kits" offered by them I'll take your word for it and avoid them.

Unread postPosted: 17 Feb 2010, 00:38
by Habu
Oh Mike, where are ya man? Help me out on this one. The Kinetic kits are NOT on par with the Tamiya kit by a longshot. The praises for the kit are coming from builders that don't know the subject well. Kinetic has all but admitted to being overly ambitious on the endeavor.

Unread postPosted: 17 Feb 2010, 03:12
by kampfer1945
I digress I'm not at all sure what you mean by Kinetic being overly ambitious, but if you mean by including photo etched parts and lathe turned brass pitot tube, unlike Tamiya then so be it. However in Scale Aviation Modeller International Vol. 15 Iss. 7 there is a great reveiw of Kinetics F-16D advanced Viper in Polish markings by Andy McCabe. Surely to be writing for such a publication he must have a reasonable degree of knowledge on such subjects. He states that the quality of the kit is a testament in the fit and no filler was needed throughout the build. As Enthusiasts in our hobby don't we all have some knowledge in our endeavors we work on? :?:

Unread postPosted: 17 Feb 2010, 03:32
by Habu
I mean that Kinetic chose a subject well known, very popular, and already covered. They're a new kid on the block, and wanted to explode on the scene by making a subject that they thought would get them instant acceptance. They failed. They mainly copied the Tamiya kit, tried to improve it where it needed, and came up short. The quality of the plastic is not to Tamiya/Hasegawa standard, the panel lines are thicker and rougher, and let's not forget the nose issue. Kinetic even went back and retooled the nose on the later release and STILL got it wrong! The seats are off, the fan detail, and exhaust detail is off, undersized, and out of shape. That's just naming a few of the issues. And let me also add that there were technical experts, with years of experience with the full size jet, whose consul was ignored when offered. I'm sure the SAMI article was a good one, and gave it a glowing report. But it was mostly looking at the kit overall, and had no intention of addressing the specific issues which plague the Kinetic releases.
Think of anything you know well. Anything. A product, a favorite object. Then imagine an unknown company suddenly announcing they want to jump into the fray, and make promises of quality and variety. And then getting something that doesn't measure up? Imitation is sincerest form of flattery right? But the effort to imitate just fell short.

Now I'm no knocking Kinetic completely. They do show signs of wanting to improve, and they seem to have reigned in their ambitions to a more manageable level. They're finally starting to take in some of the data from technical experts. But to what end, remains to be seen. They just chose the wrong subject to burst onto the scene with, and have fallen into the trap that Trumpeter and Hobby Boss have. Like them, they figured they could shotgun blast releases of subjects we haven't seen before, or haven't seen in a very long time, and hope that that alone will make it a good kit. It hasn't worked for Trumpeter, Hobby Boos, nor Kinetic. How amany favorite subjects, not just our own, will be gone through in this manner? We will be left with mediocre renditions of subjects that aren't likely to be done again for yet another very long time.

Unread postPosted: 17 Feb 2010, 15:37
by kampfer1945
True Kinetic is a fledgling company, but I don't believe they have attempted to copy anyone in fact they have in fact released kits of the latest most advanced Vipers. These being Block 50, 52+, and 60 aircraft with the conformal fuel tanks, appropriate targeting systems and payloads. Only one other company has produced a Block 52+ F-16I Nesher with the CFT's which is Hasegawa and I don't believe they got it quite right on that as they omitted one of the most obvious features of advanced Vipers is the targeting pods and again payload! Now back to Tamiya I have always stood by their products, but they too are guilty of pure laziness and lack of research on some of their kits. I am a lover of the A-10 Warthog which Tamiya over the years has released in several guises. However the kit is wrong! wrong! wrong! It's not even up to gulf war standards. It's based off of a pre-production aircraft. Several years ago they made some minor revisions to the body of the kit in question. Still they fell very short of complete. The cockpit still is very basic with a poorly represented ejection seat and decals for the consoles. Luckily Eduard and True Details came to the rescue for that area. The wings are still incorrect, still being based off of a pre-production aircraft as the trailing edges of the flapperons would indicate, secondly they still have not molded in the inherent chaff/flare dipensers in their respective spots under the wings, they have left off the slime lights from fuselodge, wing tips, and vert. stabilizers. Modern A-10s have the Laste systems fitted to them, again omitted by Tamiya. Lastly the weapons payload is all wrong these weapons were assessed for use by the A-10 but never approved for carry on the aircraft by the Air Forces Flight and Weapons center, and Tamiya still hasn't attempted to mold lenses for the I.R. sensors on the AGM-65 Mavericks still leaving only blank holes at the ends! Well enough about that. Hobby Boss or Hobby Boos as you call them is the only company to have produced a tandem seat N/AW-10 Warthog which is completely original and a great and accurate kit. Revell of Germany has released some kits that have been pretty good, but the staple or majority of their releases are reboxings of kit toolings from other companies like Hasegawa, Italeri, and Zvesda or tired out kits from the Revell/Monogram America line with raised panel lines that are as old as King Tuts Tomb. Which has me wondering whatever happened to their Promodeller Line? It looked so promissing and then well it just Petered out.......I applaud some of these new companies for trying to produce kits to appeal to advanced and moderate modellers alike.

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2010, 07:51
by Habu
Thus, most of our research are done in "paper" photo, line draw and probably some kit from other manufacturer (you may say this is copy, but w/o the access to the real aircraft, this is only place when a small firm start with).
-Raymond Chung, proprietor of Kinetic Models.

So they admittedly used an existing kit as a base. Whether or not they call it copying is an argument in semantics.

They released those late Block kits, with the updated, weapons, yes. But have you SEEN the quality of these? Certainly not up to the quality of the Big T or H. Just because they released them, doesn't make them any better, or close.

It is no secret, and no qualms have been made of the fact that Hasegawa changed nothing of their basic Viper kit, and added only new sprues. This was done rather tongue in-cheek, as Hasegawa is well aware that many are taking those parts and adding them to Tamiya kits. Perhaps it was this that was even the impetus to even release the Block 52+ F-16I SUFA (not Nesher).

As for the Tamiya A-10, you're using a kit from over 30 years ago! That kit was released at a time when there were no production models available. It has been rereleased, but not in several guises, only one-the original-, which does in fact represent the FSD airframes. Again, no attempt at hiding this fact has been made.

I call Hobby Boss, Copy Boss for a very good reason....take a look at their F-18! An almost EXACT copy, and it's not a development, not a basis, a downright COPY of the Hasegawa kit. A fact that is completely indisputable if you have both kits in hand. I don;t have their A-7 kit, so I can't compare it to the Hase, but I have an idea it's the same deal there.

And you're incorrect, Trumpeter was the first to offer the family model A-10 in 1/32. So the 1/48 kit isn't very original. What is akin to originality is that they produced a kit of an aircraft for which only one example was ever built.

How could you blame RoG for using other molds and reboxing them? They're cheaper kits! I can get the exact same plastic as a Hase 1/48 F-86 in a RoG box for $10 less! They aren't stupid, they bought up the modls to some great older Esci kits and repopped them. Actually a very sound decision. It kept alive some gems, like the 1/72 F-5A/B. I'd damn glad RoG is around these days. And their new tool stuff is very good, and a great value to boot!

I, like many modelers out there wish ProModeler had continued to make kits. They were using a Korean mold maker that made some exquisite molds (F-86D, F-84, F-15E). But Rev/Mon USA, in their infinite wisdom, decided to switch to a Chinese mold maker, and everything went to ish....F-18E/F for example.

But again, RoG comes to the rescue, releasing the SabreDog from time to time, both early and late. Rev/Mon USA just repopped the F-84, if you're looking for that kit. And they continue to make the F-15E, albeit in the basic, non, weapon sprue, non ProModeler boxing. They also just rerelesed the He-111 I believe. So the molds live on, which is a good thing, but as for new kits? I think that's a dream.

Unread postPosted: 18 Feb 2010, 18:02
by kampfer1945
Well tongue in cheek or not Hasegawa should have started from the ground up instead of adding some new sprues. Sorry about the mix up with the names Sufa, Nesher, Barak hard to keep track of them. I do beleive that the company Isra Decal have produced resin upgrades specifically for the Tamiya kit to produce either the Sufa or Nesher and an extensive decal sheet to go along with it. Who better to produce these than the Israelis' correct?

Yes I agree that the Tamiya A-10 was based off of a FSD airframe, but what I meant in guises is the first run had all raised pannel lines and some shape errors, the second release they corrected the shape errors and engraved the panels on the body only. Leaveing the wings, engines, and tail planes panels still raised. The third release they again changed the body adding the smoke deflectors caused by the Vulcan gun and nothing else. The fourth rendition they did away with the old flattend jammer pods and updated with AN/ALQ-113 jammers, but left the rest of the payload intact. Now if they are going to go through that trouble how hard should it be to mold lenses for the Mavericks, add on the chaff/flare dispensers under the wings, improve the cockpit with raised detail and a seat which better represents a ESCAPAC or ACES II, and lastly the Laste bulges on the tail planes. I mean it requires no major overhaul, just modification to an exsisting kit which would not be cost prohibitive to a company such as Tamiya. Now in terms of Trumpeter producing a tandem seat A-10 in 32nd I do recall that now. If I remember correctly it had clear parts so you could display the resin engines included in the kit and also had metal core reinforcements for the landing gear so the kit wouldn't collapse under its own wieght. Ahhh the delights of senility. I had nearly forgotten that one. What I should say is that it is the only one represented in 48th being done by Hobby Boss.

I have some of the affore mentioned kits by Revell, such as the Early Sabre Dog, F-15E sans weapons (still very good kit albeit the Academy F-15k Slam Eagle may be the new contender.) Yes I think the He-111 and Do-217 have both been re-released under the RoG label and the Su-25 Frogfoot too, plus the Ta-154. I would love to nab the He-111 and Do-217 respectively as they were real gems in terms of subject, fit, and detail.