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Italeri’s Venezuela’s F-16 Falcon ’20 Años’

Venezuela was the first Latin-American country who got permission from the US to buy F-16s. They stayed the sole operator in Southern America untill Chile received their new F-16s in the course of 2005.  In May 1982, the government of Venezuela signed an agreement to buy 18 block 15 F-16A’s and six Block 15 F-16B’s to replace the fleet of Mirage III interceptors and Mirage 5 ground-attack aircraft serving with the Fuerza Aérea Venezolana. This purchase was under the Peace Delta Foreign Military Sales program. The original intent was for an order of up to 72 aircraft, but budget restraints lowered that number to 24. For more info keep reading over at F-16.net.

 

 

The Kit:

Kit Highlights
Precisely detailed static display model built with high
quality injection molded polystyrene parts.
Exquisitely scribed surface details.
Well-appointed cockpit with instrument panel and ejection seat.
Clear canopy can be fixed in the open or closed position.
Optional boarding ladder.
Very realistic landing gear struts.
Interior wheel well and door panel details.
Realistically molded external loads.
Waterslide decals.
Illustrated assembly guide.


MARKING OPTIONS
:
One Super Decal Sheet with Markings for 6 Aircraft Versions:
1: Koninklijke Luchtmacht, 323 Sqn. 50th Anniversary (May 2000)
2: Grupo Aereo de Caza 16, El Libertador AB, Maracay–Palo Negro,
Venezuela (2005)
3: Aeronautica Militare Italiana, 23rd Gruppo, 5th Stormo, Cervia,
Italy (2005)
4: Aeronautica Militare Italiana, 18th Gruppo, 37th Stormo,
Trapani, Italy (2005)
5: US Air Force, Texas A.N.G., 111thFIS, 147th FIG
6: Florennes, Belgium (2004)

This is the Italeri 1/48th scale F-16 No. 2654. It is pretty much the same kit boxed by Italeri but with a giant decal sheet with markings for 6 countries. This is pretty much my 3rd Italeri Fighting Falcon kit and this time I decided to use the markings for Venezuela’s Air Force (FAV). The markings for ‘20 Años‘ (20 years) are very colorful.

For the moment this is the only aircraft from Latin America that I have on my shelves. I would like to add something from Cuba, so feel free to e-mail me your suggestions. This kit a way better than Academy’s ‘Flying Razzorbacks‘ offering but don’t expect a Tamiya Falcon CJ either.

For the money and *my* personal opinion, the Italeri F-16  is well worth the price tag;  That considering that Italeri has a hefty price tag on most of their model kits.

The kit goes along very well in terms of fit. But you will hit a bump as soon as you get to the landing gear and bays. The assembly is somehow not clear on the instructions and there a few small parts to fiddle and flex carefully to make them fit. It is tricky, but it is doable and once you have your parts in place, the kit will stand well leveled and very good stance. The decals provided by the kit are not that bad, just have your decal set solution handy to conform them thru crevices and panel lines.

Painting:
You better check your sources, I relied on Italeri’s colors from the instruction to find out that the shade of green on the underside was wrong. Venezuela’s Air Force released their F-16 Falcons twice to commemorate. First was ’20 años’, then ’25 años’ (20th and 25th anniversary). There’s even a twin seater ’25 años’.

While looking for reference pictures on-line, you might come across both with different colors on the underside. Ranging from the regular Light Gray, to Light Green and even Egg Blue. If you are planning on building this version, start looking for reference pictures. Many of them for some reason don’t last long on the web.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
The artwork on the box bears markings from the 323 Sqd Netherlands Air Force.  This artwork for obvious reasons has been toned down to a PG version. Decals inside are printed as the real markings. Italeri provides your choice of open or closed afterburner. With leftover decals from After Burner Decals, this was the base kit for this 1:48 Arctic Agressor.

If you ask me, I would recommend this model kit. Heck, I’ve built 3 of them already. This version decal’s alone are worth half the price of the entire kit. If you are really picky about your kits, then I will suggest Tamiya’s 1/48 F-16 CJ Falcon (which I have built in 1/32 scale).

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.

  • Ronald Alexander Alvarez Garci

    Felicidades por tu gran trabajo te saludo desde Caracas Venezuela pero debo mencionarte que esos colores no pertenecen a nuestros amados dragones de acero lamentablemente el kit de italeri en su estructura plástica es muy buena ya que es el más parecido al de nuestro f-16 en la realidad pero con un gran error en la indicación de colores. Aqui t postié los míos son de Lindberg models y como podras ver hay una enorme diferencia entre tu esquema y el mio a parte que la barriga del avion verdaderamente de es color gris claro americano SEA y no verde RAF. saludos…..

    • Oh wow, gracias muchas por tú información Ronald. Agradezco tambien tú foto de referencia hermano. Siempre tuve la duda sobre el esquema de colores pues sé qué las instrucciones especialmente en los kits Italeri no son de fiar.

      Antes de hacer el modelo habia visitado algunos sitios de Venezuela buscando info. Recuerdo que en aquel tiempo habia más fotos de referencia que cuando monté el modelo. Cuando finalmente decidí hacer el modelo, regresé en búsqueda de fotos y por algún motivo muchas de las fotos que había visto ya no estaban. Mi error fué no haber guardado en mi compu las fotos cuando originalmente las busqué 🙁

      Mi duda mayor siempre fué con el color de la barriga del avión. Si no es mucho pedir, crees que puedas compartir los colores que utilizaste para los tuyos en pinturas Model Master? Sería de gran ayuda para mi y para muchos pues me consta que siempre hay dudas sobre estos colores en otras comunidades del modelísmo.

      Recibe de nuestra parte un caluroso abrazo y saludo. Gracias nuevamente.

  • Viper53

    The artwork on the box is not the F16 from Florennes Belgium, but the F16 from 323sqn Royal Dutch Airforce .

    • George

      Thanks so much for the clarification Viper53, well appreciated. Got distracted somehow with *Dirty Diana* ;o)

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