1/32 Academy F-16D NATO Tiger Meet 2015

Gallery Article by Daniel Soulaine, danny59 on Mar 13 2021



This Turkish F-16D appeared at the 2015 NATO Tiger Meet at Konya AB, Turkey.  The aircraft was not painted, but rather covered with printed vinyl sheets.

I used the 1/32 scale Academy F-16I kit to start with.  I have a lot of models on the shelf of doom, but I have managed to build this one within a year.  The pandemic gave me plenty of time to work on it.

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The only aftermarket that I used was the Zacto Models NCIP intake to replace the famously inaccurate kit intake. The Zacto’s intake fitted perfectly. Highly recommended.

I also made, with 0.010’’ plastic sheet, my own re-enforcing plates that appear on the central fuselage.

The main challenge was, of course, the special paint scheme as no decals, as far as I know, exist for this scheme.

Here is a photo of real aircraft.

The Real Aircraft

For the top left wing letterings, I used various masking tapes, and used airbrushed and brushed paints. All paints were Model Masters. I started with white paint, then masked the lettering, followed by light grey shadows, then black paint overall. With many photos as reference, I masked the tiger stripes one by one, then painted the dark grey, followed by carefully applying light grey ‘’shadows’’ to each black stripes, always referring to the photos. Finally I demasked the stripes to reveal the result.

It was the first time that I tried to make my own decals, starting with original photos and manipulated them with Photoshop to size them for the kit. It required a lot of trial and error, with test prints on paper and expensive decals paper. I used Micro Mark clear and white blank decals sheets, and printed them on my HP laser printer. A day after printing, I applied several light coats of clear Krylon to seal them.

Decals were made for the vertical tails, the right horizontal stab, the tiger’s heads below the cockpit, markings on the fuel tanks and ventral fins. For the top right wing, I used a different technique, I made stencils carefully positioned to airbrush the blue and the red areas over a white background, and applied over a (very large) decal consisting of the half tone greys and black. Unfortunately, some paint touch up were required near the wing tip. They were fragile but I was quite happy with the result. 

I used the DACO and Reid Air Publishing books on the F-16 for various detailing.

Apart from the cockpit and the landing gears bays, I have not done much weathering as this aircraft remained in this scheme only a short time.

Daniel Soulaine

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Photos and text © by Daniel Soulaine