1/72 Hasegawa F-16A 'TigerMeet'

by David Lindsay



The F-16A FA-94 "Tiger" was painted in 1991 to celebrate three occasions; The 30th anniversary of the Tigermeet, 40th anniversary of the squadron, and 10 years of F-16 service at Kleine Brogel in Belgium. I found another event for it to celebrate......


My father recently retired from Lockheed/Martin. One custom they have is to present an F-16 model at someone's retirement banquet. My brother (who also works at L/M) arranged for me to build the model for my dad instead of the model shop inside L/M. I knew from past experience that my dad was not very excited about models of the F-16.  I had to find something unique that he would appreciate more.

DACO decals to the rescue!! DACO Products out of Belgium produces some of the most colorful and challenging decals for the F-16. I picked up this particular sheet #D7220 in 1/72nd scale at my favorite hobby shop along with Hasegawa's 1/72nd scale F-16A. At first I had purchased this with the casual thought that I "might" build this for my Dad one day.....if I get time. When I was asked to build his retirement gift that gave me the determination I needed.

I built the Hasegawa F-16A out of the box with the landing gear up. The only additions I had to make was the ECM housing on the rear of the vertical tail and to install a tube for the stand in the tailpipe. I didn't have time to find an aftermarket tail conversion so I scratchbuilt one. This was not hard but I didn't have any drawings to go by - just some photos with bad angles. I cut of the section of the kit tail at the panel line and got it ready for my new part. Then I laminated three pieces of Evergreen styrene ( sorry I don't know the size) began shaping them into the ECM housing.

After I had the ECM housing joined to the model it was time to paint. DACO produces the special yellow paint for this paint scheme but this is another thing I didn't have time to worry about. After I mixed my own yellow with Testors Acryl (I prefer Aeromaster) I started getting excited about the way the model would look. After putting an undercoat of Aeromaster white I sprayed the whole plane with my mixed yellow. Then I painted the gray part of the scheme with Aeromaster Neutral Gray FS 36270. I wish I had a picture of this model with just the paint and no decals...it was weird looking!

After a coat of gloss it was time to decal. Up until this point I had been nervous about how the tiger stripe decals would work. I didn't know if they were fragile and would crack or how they would lie down in the panel lines. I was very pleased with the "personality" of the decals and all 200+ went on great. I had to work slow with them since many decals wrap around sharp angles and leading edges but my patience paid off. All of the other decals besides the stripes ( #'s and stenciling) come on another sheet. This sheet must have been produced differently because they were a little hard to move around once placed on the model. I did not know at the time, and this is gross, but if you ever have decals that are hard to move after you have them on the model use some spit. Yes it is gross but it only takes a very little bit and your decals will slide anywhere you want. This might stop people from picking up your models too!  DACO's instructions for this decal sheet couldn't have been planned out better. The instructions come with a map of the decal sheet and each decal has a number.  The decals go on in a sequence from front to rear on top and bottom so you can't get lost. In all, with the stencils, this model has about 230 decals on it and I did it in one sitting of about 8 hours with breaks. Seems like a long time but you have to wait for the "wraparound" decals to lay down with about three applications of decal solution.

I spent about 15-16 hours on this project. When I look back on it I had a blast even with the time limit. I have built models before on a deadline and it can stink, but this was rewarding. The best part is my Dad loved it. I have to thank Gil Dehoyos and the guys in the Lockheed/Martin model shop for making the stand and Greg Smith for helping me with the pictures.

Photos and text by David Lindsay