The White Whale


I’m sure that more than a few modelers have a “white whale” of a kit. The one that got away…that went awry…that gnaws at you.

For me, that kit is Academy’s 1/32 F-16D Block 52+ Viper (or, alternatively, the F-16I Sufa…). My first go at this kit – in late 2013 – was cursed from the start. At the time, it felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Beginning with my ill-fated decision to use Eduard photo etch in the cockpit.

HAF F-16D Eduard PE Fail 16

Fortunately, this did lead to my discovery of one of the few resin cockpits I’ve ever touched that installed with zero modification to the kit parts (thanks, Wolfpack!)

PolAF F-16D 11-19-2013 7

In fact, the one bright spot of this cursed build was that notoriously poor-fitting aftermarket parts actually tended to fit like a glove. Not just the Wolfpack cockpit, but the Aires gear bay, as well!


Polish F-16D 12-03-13 8

But apart from my aftermarket wins, the kit was a succession of bad turns and frustrations. Painting the intake was a roller coaster. Installing the intake and dealing with the awful fit and alignment of the intake housing was a roller coaster that only goes down.

IMG_20131203_004508_zps01f0e833 (1)

The slog was partially the kit’s fault, but partially mine, due to where my head was at at the time. I let the damn thing get to me. And then I let it get away from me.

Polish F-16D 12-03-13 2

And I have to confess, it’s been eating at me ever since.

Because I was over the damn hump. I was closing in on paint. And I abandoned it.

I can bitch about the kit all I want – but the truth is, it was my failing.

So I’ve decided to have another go at it. Not immediately – I’ve got other builds ahead of it – but the game is certainly afoot.

And this time, I’ll be playing it differently. On the one hand, I feel that I’ve grown as a modeler in the time that’s passed, and that what threw me then may not now. On the other hand, I’m now equipped to go into the build knowing full well what to expect. Not only where the trouble spots are, but where the bright spots are as well.

And on a third hand, there are some new elements I can bring into play. Eduard has a stencil mask set for 1/32 F-16s, and where those may not quite work, HGW is making wet transfer F-16 stencils now.

Oh, and GT Resin’s making exhausts…something that was totally missing from the equation back in 2013.


Furthermore, Zactomodels recently released an aftermarket replacement for the kit’s Achilles’ Heel: the intake.


Lastly, the version of the kit I’ve secured for my second go-round, boxed by AFV Club, has a few goodies that were missing before. A nice set of resin AIM-120s, for example, and a wonderful canopy with that prismatic anti-reflective coating.


Again – this one’s got a few builds ahead of it. But…it’s back in the stash, and this time I’m going to get it done.



4 Comments Add yours

  1. ted upcott says:

    Good luck with the build, when you start it. I’ll be looking forward to watching you do it.

  2. Doug says:

    So are you saying that you’re going to pick up that kit again or are you starting over with the new kit?

    1. Doogs says:

      New kit. The first got broken in a rearranging accident a while ago.

      1. LOL Convenient. 🙂

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