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F-16C "Thunderbirds"

Started: 12/15/2021Updated: 12/22/2021
Kit Number61102
Year Released2008
Build Time


As one would expect from an aircraft build we start out inside the airplane, gauges, and instruments get attached to the cockpit tub which is bare to start. From there the control stick and throttle are added before painting the entire thing Tamiya XF-20 Medium Grey. Once the paint had sufficient time to dry I went back with X-18 to fill in the different sections of the panels after which I used some white to make individual controls stand out.

keeping with the cockpit I skipped way ahead to the very end of the build and assembled the last parts needed to be able to close the canopy up as it would be closed when finished anyways and this saved some masking. This involved building up the ejection seat and painting it, fitting the framing to the canopy glass, and masking the glass off before adding to the fuselage one final time.

Cockpit Finished


From that point the instructions have you assemble the intake tube just before the first stage compressor along with the first stage compressor blades and put this into the plane before basically closing the entire thing up and moving onto the exterior details, but I opted to continue building the intake by skipping ahead to step 11 which covers the start of the intake and the main nose gear, which I skipped for the time being. I didn't glue this assembly down as there is a decal that goes underneath this and would be really hard to do later, this will be easier to attach than it.

Moving onto the exhaust side of the jet which is only a few pieces, the afterburner ring, the tube leading to the exhaust, and then the nozzle, plus a piece of piping down the outside. This got set aside for later so it doesn't have to be masked off.

Fuselage Details

with all the previous work out of the way, I was able to start adding details to the fuselage, gun access, closing the top of the forward fuselage, and adding the nose cone. I also built up the vertical stabilizer and attached it for the time being, but I like that it's held on with poly caps which allows removal for transport and painting/decaling later.

Some additional details were glued on around the plane, mostly access hatches and some little bumps, but leaving off the details that will easily break off for now.

Fuselage Almost Complete

Landing Gear

One of the things I almost messed up during the build was attaching the main landing gear struts as this cannot be done later without more work or possibly weakening the overall model when sitting on its wheels. Therefore I went ahead and attached this and its supporting pieces to make it as strong as possible before moving onto the painting phase.


Painting this model is relatively straightforward, with the entire model being a pearlescent white that's super glossy, with a few bits of red accent pieces needing to be done here and there. I used Tamiya TS-26 for this. After a few coats of the white color, I was able to mask off and do the red bits again with Tamiya TS-85. These detail bits are very minor but the decals that get applied later don't cover them so it was now or never.

First Paint Coat


To start the decal process on this model I began with the intake trunk as it was separate and I was waiting on the rest of the model to dry at the time. One decal goes on top of the intake lip and is barely visible when sitting on its wheels but I added it anyway. This had to be cut to length after some time setting up. I follow this up with the 3 remaining ones on the bottom side. I used Mr. Mark setter and softer to make the decals adhere well. After those decals were placed I had some touchup work with Tamiya X-3 to cover some white spots that showed through.

Next up I worked on the stabilators as they were fairly simple to decal with one decal on the top and bottom of the pair.

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