1/48 F16C/D Falcon Wheel Bays
For the Kinetic kit
Stock Number: 4439
Reviewed By  Charles Landrum, IPMS# 26328

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MSRP: $20.15

Let me state up front that I evaluated this kit against the Tamiya F-16 kit since I had it in hand. But I had previously evaluated the Kinetic kit against the Tamiya and found the wheel wells to be identical.

As they build up, both the Kinetic and Tamiya kits have much more detail than previous F-16 models. The basic structure of the well is nicely rendered and very robust looking, especially the frames. Despite this detail, the main wheel wells still look somewhat barren compared to the real thing, which are a maze of plumbing and wiring. Some extra bits of plastic and lead wire would go a long way to filling in the details, but good references are the key. Eduard provides pre-colored PE wiring and plumbing but these look flat.

Aires has stepped in with one of its latest offerings, a resin replacement for both the main and nose wheel wells. This looks identical to their previous release (Aires 4370) for the Tamiya kit and I bet it is. As with all Aires recent Aires sets, the castings are perfect without flash, flaws or air bubbles. The wells are cast in one piece with all details in place; I still donít understand how they maintain the undercuts.

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Also provided is copper wire for brake lines to the landing gear. The main wheel well is a drop in replacement for the built up Tamiya well and also provides the lower section of the intake trunking. As you can see in the photos the detail is far and away an improvement over the Tamiya build up. While I say it is a drop in fit, you do have to remove some molded detail from the Tamiya kit (molded into the Aires part). You also have to do a small bit on of filing on the sides of the Aires part to get it to fit without issue. I found without filing that it spreads the fuselage a little.

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The nose gear well is again more detailed than the two part affair offered by Tamiya. To fit the near well you need to remove the molded detail on the underside of the intake. Since in the kit the framing is a separate piece, this is relatively easy with a flat file. Also the pour block is minimal on the resin replacement and so there is little clean up to do. Still the combined unit will be a tight fit within the intake halves; an alternative is to add the requisite hydraulic and electrical lines and forgo the resin.

Overall this is a relatively simple and effective enhancement that will add tremendous detail to the Tamiya and Kinetic kits bringing your Viper fully to life; it is highly recommended.

I would like to thank Aires and IPMS/USA for this review sample.

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