Does It Fit – 1/32 Academy F-16 Edition

Resin aftermarket often seems to exist in some weird fog, where you can’t find good, high-res photos or instructions online, much less actual thoughts from people who’ve used them. Even harder is finding a straight answer to the question central to many a resin purchase:

Does it fit?

This DIF series is my attempt to chip away at that fog, to the extent that I can. First up, I covered some goodies for Trumpeter’s 1/32 MiG-23s. This time out, let’s look at Academy’s 1/32 F-16s. Particularly the Sufa.

The Academy Sufa

For some reason, Israeli jets do nothing for me. It’s convenient, then, that the F-16I Sufa is basically the same aircraft as the F-16D Block 52+. This opens up some interesting possibilities for two-seater fun, including Polish and Hellenic Air Force schemes.

A few years ago, I had a solid go at Academy’s big Viper before just running out of steam. That run-out remains probably my biggest regret in modeling after buying Kitty Hawk kits thinking “this time it’ll be better”.

In the time since, two of my biggest gripes – the fit of the intake exterior and of the exhaust nozzle – have been addressed by aftermarket in the form of a one-piece NSI intake from Zactomodels, and a Pratt & Whitney exhaust courtesy of KASL.

But the resin that I did use on that first pass at the tandem F-16 gave me some

WOLFPACK #32030 1/32 Academy F-16I IDF ‘Sufa’ Cockpit Set

If you want an aftermarket cockpit for your Sufa (or Polish or Greek or whatever F-16D), Wolfpack is your only option. This is a bit odd, considering the sheer number of cockpit options out there for the single-seaters.

I originally turned to Wolfpack after ruining my kit’s cockpit. How did I do that? Simple. I sanded off the detail to (idiotically) use Eduard color PE. What looked gorgeous on the fret looked chintzy and flat once installed. So, off to pursue some resin!

To my surprise, the Wolfpack cockpit didn’t just fit. It fit perfectly. Without cleanup (though you do have to remove the pour stub on the bottom…and it’s mostrous).

Detail isn’t quite up to the standard of Aires on its best day, but it’s still a marked improvement over the kit plastic and includes plenty of detail to go to town on.

The sidewalls didn’t prove an issue, either, since they basically sit more on the main tub, and since the cockpit sills leave a nice overhand to work underneath. You can see the mounting locations in the pic below.

 

Another nifty feature? Those two holes at the very back of the cockpit. They fit exactly into locating post in the Academy kit. Imagine that – a resin cockpit that is straight-up designed to play nice with the kit.

Here’s the final, installed result.

Detail – Pretty good. A solid 7.5 or 8.

Does it Fit? – Yes. It’s a complete drop-fit. 

Worth it? – Absolutely

AIRES #2129 – 1/32 F-16I Sufa Wheel Bay Set (Academy)

I’m typically not a fan of aftermarket wheelbays. I just don’t feel there’s enough benefit for the level of effort many of them demand. But with the F-16, there are two considerations in play. First, it’s main gear bays are pretty visible. Second, the barrel shape of the fuselage means a lot of the grinding and sanding and thinning to fit wing-located bays wouldn’t be an issue. So I decided to take a change for all that delicious detail.

And wouldn’t you know it? Another drop fit.

Literally nothing to remove. The part just drops right into place. And painting it was a blast.

When I have a second go at Academy’s big two-seater Viper, I will be using the main gear bay again for sure.

Detail – Perfection in resin

Does it Fit? – Yes. It’s a drop fit. 

Worth it? – Oh god yes. 

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