Daco Products F-16 NATO Falcon Releases
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is one of the more popular modeling subjects in the world. While most of the users of the F-16 have retained the standard gray paint scheme used by the USAF, there have thankfully been some major deviations from the norm to keep things interesting.
It all started with the inclusion of the F-16 into the Tiger Meet. The various NATO Viper users were reluctant to paint over the radar-absorbing paint of the F-16, but they couldn't show up with 'normal' F-16s either. Early Tiger Meet schemes were rather conservative, keeping the new paint aft of the intake in case chucks of paint peeled off the airframe (which it did). Eventually, the NATO Viper Squadrons began applying rather colorful paint schemes to their aircraft to commemorate unit anniversaries, service anniversaries, Tiger Meet (of course), and other special events.
Thankfully, Daco Products of Belgium has captured many of these aircraft in their line of decals. Let's take a look at their latest offerings:
In their Astra Decal line, Daco offers sheets 7211/4811 (in 1/72 and 1/48, respectively) for the F-16A Fighting Falcon, Royal Netherlands Air Force. On this sheet are four different Vipers:
1. F-16A J-248 'Dirty Diana' of 323 Sqn. This is a 50th Anniversary paint scheme (presumably of 323 Sqn's existence). The artwork depicts Dirty Diana, an Amazon Warrior, on the vertical stabilizer.
2. F-16A J-231 '50 Years NATO' of 312 Sqn. This is a beautiful logo painted on the vertical stab!
3. F-16A J-220 '50 Years NATO' of 311 Sqn. Same as the previous scheme. 4. F-16A J-063 'MiG Killer' , representing the first aircraft to down a Serbian MiG-29 during the Kosovo crisis.
The decal set also includes a full set of stencils for one aircraft.
From the decal series bearing their own name, Daco Products offers D7247/D4847/D3247 (in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 scale, respectively), for the 1998 Belgian Air Force airshow aircraft, F-16A FA-62. This aircraft is overall white, with multi-colored blue stripes on the topside of the aircraft that fade to white as they move aft. On the vertical stab, the same multicolored blue scheme that highlight into falcons' heads. The underside of the aircraft is plain white with the exception of the falcon's claws appropriately placed. Since this aircraft has been through the mid-life update, Daco also includes a pair of resin parts for the aft EW sensor mounted on the rear of the vertical stab housing, and another sensor located under the mouth of the engine intake.
Last, but certainly not least, is set D7246/D4846/D3246 D3247 (in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 scale, respectively), for two F-16As of 31 Sqn. The first is F-16A FA-71 with the now-famous overall tiger stripe scheme and tiger's head on the tail as it appeared for Tiger Meet 1998. This is the same scheme that appeared in the Revell-Germany issue of the Italeri F-16A. One of the two major differences between the Revell-Germany decals (also produced by Daco) is that the R-G decal sheet represented the black background with very dark greens. This set corrects that minor problem. The other difference is that FA-71 was also an MLU aircraft, so the R-G kit lacks the sensors on the tail and on the underside of the intake. Daco provides the resin parts in this set. The other aircraft on this sheet is F-16A FA-82 that carried 31 Sqn's 1994 Tiger Meet scheme.
What is especially nice about Daco Products' work is the precision of their printing. Every sheet is in register, and each of the decals that span a large surface of the aircraft lack the usual clear 'edge' found on other decals. The printing here ends on the edge of the decal film. Way to go Daco!
I'd recommend these decals to anyone interested in building F-16s in unusual schemes. With over 150 different kits of the F-16 that have been offered in recent years in all three scales, the resources are there to have some colorful fun with these decals.
My thanks to Daco Products for these review samples. Daco Decals are imported into the United States by Kendall Model Company.