The first flight of the F-16 (then still a prototype marked as YF-16) took place in 1974 and the plane entered production two years later. Today, after producing more than 4500 aircraft it still remains in the first line in about 25 countries. As the aircraft and its equipment is very flexible for upgrading, the F-16 will probably remain in active service for many more years. On 8th November 2006 the first two (no: „4043” and „4044”) Falcons have landed in the Krzesiny Airbase starting a new chapter of the history of the Polish Air Forces.
A few weeks ago, after 5 years of F-16's service in the Polish sky, Techmod from Poland has released the set of decals dedicated to the Polish Falcons.
First, before I start the review of the decals sets, I have to give you a few words of explanations. The usual name of the F-16 being used worldwide is Falcon or Fighting Falcon. In Poland this type of airplane is called „Jastrząb” which shall be translated as „Hawk”. Many years before they received the F-16's there was already a „Falcon” in the service of the Polish Air Forces – a helicopter W-3 „Sokół”, Sokół in Polish means Falcon in English. In this case there would be two different Falcons in the service. That's why you can see „Jastrząb” written on the side of the stabilizer on some machines. To avoid the possible translation misunderstanding I'll try to use simply the „F-16” in the text.
Another case which requires some explanation is the producer's name. The F-16 was designed by the General Dynamics company. After the takeover of GD by Lockheed Corporation and later acquisition of Martin Marietta in the early 90's, the F-16's delivered to Poland are produced by the Lockheed Martin company, not General Dynamics. I don't know why Techmod has used the first producers name to entitle this set, probably they refer to the original designer of the F-16 but it's only my guess.
Ok, let's go look at the decals. There is no exaggeration in what I say but I think Techmod have simply done a splendid job. The release of this set in the three most popular scales filled a huge gap in the market as there already are very good kits of the F-16 in these scales. Except the scale, all these set looks the same, the same markings, the same instruction sheets, the same layout. The only difference is the size of the decal sheets.
In 1/32 scale the decal sheet has the size of 18x26cm and the instruction is printed on the A3 paper. The 1/48 and 1/72 scale sets are obviously smaller. Instructions are printed on the A4 paper and the decals have the sizes of 13x18cm for the 1/48 and 9x13cm for the 1/72 scale.
Techmod have given us five painting schemes for four different machines, three of them as the single seaters “C” and one double seater “D”. We can find the following machines reproduced in this set:
F-16C Block 52 , 4050, Polish Air Force, Krzesiny AFB, October 11th, 2010
F-16C Block 52 , 4043, Polish Air Force, Krzesiny AFB, October 11th, 2010
F-16C Block 52 , 4043, Polish Air Force, Krzesiny AFB, October 11th, 2006
F-16C Block 52 , 4040, Polish Air Force, Krzesiny AFB, 2010
F-16D Block 52 , 4076, Polish Air Force, Krzesiny AFB, 2010
The first two machines represents the special painting schemes created for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. They wear the emblems of the two Polish squadrons which fought in the Battle: 302nd and 303rd painted on the stabiliser and under the cockpit. These two schemes have the wrong date in subtitle in the instruction: 11th October 2011. Of course the 70th anniversary was in 2010. There is also a “special” marking option for the first F-16 delivered to Poland in 2006 – the “4043” with the Polish name of the plane written with the stylized letters.
With the decals given by the producer we can fully decal four models. We have enough chequerboards, emblems and stencils for each machine. What is more, using this set, we can virtually build any Polish F-16 as there are also spare numbers which allows us to create any four-digit individual number. Numbers for the machines suggested by Techmod are printed as the single decals, there's no need of cutting out four different digits, aligning and all these time consuming things. Other numbers we can create according to our imagination or references, as you prefer, but you have to pay attention to the instruction! There are serial numbers of the particular planes also in some stencils so watch out not to mix the serial number on the particular stencil with the number from the stabilizer. The stencils are fully readable, although with some effort in 1/72 scale, so some pedants will surely point you out the mistake.
Painting schemes are given as the port and starboard side profiles for each plane. The upper and lower surfaces are common for every scheme. It's a bit of a pity but Techmod did not emphasized the subtle a bit darker outline of the dark grey colour which is seen on the real aircrafts in the Polish camouflage. You will have to find yourself the proper references. The numbers of the colours are given only as the FS standard numbers, no suggestion of the paints from the popular producers.
There's not much to be said about the quality: simply very nice. No misalignments, sharp and straight edges of the colours. Although there is not much colour, those used are vivid and very good looking. Carrier film is very thin. I tried to feel it under the finger but it was almost impossible. The carrier film sticks very close to the inscriptions or emblems so its area is minimized. As I said before stencils are fully readable, even in 1/72 scale.
1/72 scale – 17,20PLN
1/48 scale – 21PLN
1/32 scale - 35PLN
Thanks to Techmod for providing the review sample!
Polish F-16's with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain emblems: http://www.minireplika.pl/uzupelnienia-korekty/189-polskie-f-16-z-godami
Review of the HobbyBoss F-16C Fighting Falcon (1/72)http://www.aeroscale.co.uk/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=3753
Review of the Tamiya scale Lockheed Martin F-16CJ (Block 50) Fighting Falcon ( 1/32)http://aeroscale.kitmaker.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=629
Review of the Hasegawa F-16C 'Alaska' (1/48) http://aeroscale.kitmaker.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=4535
Review of the Academy F-16CG/CJ (Block 40/50) Fighting Falcon (1/32)http://aeroscale.kitmaker.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=857