1/12 Italeri F16 Falcon Cockpit – Build Log

18th February 2016

Well, after nearly 2 years in the making I’m finally nearing completion on the Italeri 1/12 F-16A cockpit. It’s been on and off the shelf of doom a couple of times to make way for other builds, but this time it got dusted off and brought all the way up to scratch.

To get the cockpit finished there are only a few small components to finish off, namely the helmet, side stick and throttle and some hoses (and the base).
1

 

First I decided to finish off the side stick and arm rest. The side stick has already been base coated and some of the knobs painted in, so the next task was to apply a chrome base to the side stick and the same the vertical bar of the arm rest. I’m using Alclad Chrome for this so the first job was to apply a base coat of Humbrol black gloss enamel. I like using Humbrol gloss over the Alclad enamel primer because it goes on so smoothly.
2

 

After giving the enamel a good 24 hours to dry the Alclad 2 chrome was applied. The trick with the shiny Alclad is to spray at about 12-15 PSI and apply about 3 very thin coats. What you’re looking for is for the black enamel to *just* become obscured – to the point where you’re not sure whether you can still see the black shining through. At that point STOP! If you continue to apply more coats of Alclad it will lose the incredible shininess and will start to revert to silver paint.
3

 

Next job for the arm rest was to mask over the Alclad Chrome and give it a coat of Tamiya Light Grey (XF-66).

For masking areas such as this I find it easier to cut strips of Tamiya tape with an Exacto knife and a straight edge, and bandage the tape around the bar.
4

 

While still masked, the arm rest received a coat of Klear to seal it in and the leather armrest was brush painted with various tones of Vallejo Model Color. Finally a dry brush with Citadel Necron Compound (Silver) and a mild wash with Flory dark dirt.

The other controls had their remaining knobs painted and a bit of wear was dry brushed on here and there.
5

 

Ok, back to the cockpit…

Work here was pretty much completed last time, so for this session all it needs is a bit of weathering and the last of the controls attaching.

Here the cockpit has been given a good coat of Flory dark dirt wash and been left to dry.

From here it’s a simple case of removing most of the wash with a damp cotton bud or moist brush. This is an iterative process where you remove some wash, leave it overnight and look at it with fresh eyes in the morning. If it still looks a bit too grubby, remove some more of the wash and repeat until happy. I find it usually takes 3-4 sessions before I’m happy that I have got the dirt to the correct level. I don’t want the F16 cockpit to be weathered like a Corsair, but not factory fresh either. Used but not abused as they say.
6

 

Same deal for the seat. A coat of Flory dark dirt and then the subsequent clean up process.

For both the seat and the cockpit, after the wash has been adjusted to taste, it will be a case of adding a bit of silver dry brushing and tweaking some of the detail to suit.
7

 

And now for a job that I had been putting off for too long – the hoses.

As you can see below the oxygen hoses leave a lot to be desired. Horrible seam lines and ejector pin marks.

I took a few stabs at reworking the hoses before I came up with a technique I was happy with…
8

 

I didn’t fancy my chances of fettling the hoses into shape. The seam lines over the hose ridges would be almost impossible to sand.

So I chose to sand off the hose ridges altogether and replace them by wrapping wire around the hose.
9

 

First stab was using 0.3mm beading wire. This went on Ok but I wasn’t sure about the final finish. The wire was too fine and didn’t look much like oxygen hose.

Also note the copper pin in the elbow bend on the left. I snapped off the plastic pin while wrapping the wire, so drilled a hole and inserted a stub of copper wire.
10

 

In the photo below you can see two hoses. The lower left hand one is the oxygen hose for the mask, the top right hose is the one that is attached to the cockpit itself.

I made the lower left one first, consisting of a length of solid copper electrical wire wrapped with 0.5mm beading wire. This didn’t work too well because the beading wire is steel and is not only hard to work with (stiff) but also tends to spring out of shape.

So for plan C I made the hose in the top right of the photo. This is the hose from the previous photo – I cut off the elbow joint, drilled it and inserted a length of solid copper wire (the same as in the bottom left hose) but this time I wrapped it with 0.5mm solder. This was much easier to work and it didn’t attempt to spring back once bent.

Note: The yellow ends are made from thin strips of Tamiya tape to represent some kind of connector.
11

 

To see how it looked I gave the mask oxygen hose a coat of grey paint. Oh dear, looks bloody awful.

Going to make that hose again but using 0.5mm solder instead of beading wire.
12

 

And here’s the oxygen hoses looking much better than before.

They’ve had a coat of Tamiya flat grey and a coat of Klear. Will give them a wash with Citadel Nuln Oil and will call them done!
13

 

Now onto the base!

This kit comes with a half decent plastic base to mount the seat onto, along with a nice decal that looks like a plaque with a description of the seat and helmet.

The base is nothing to write home about, so it’ll need a bit of titivating…
20

 

First step was to give it a good wipe with IPA and give it a few coats of Tamiya Semi Gloss Black (X-18).
21

 

I’ve seen a few of these F16 cockpit kits on the internet, some of them just use the base as-is. I’ve seen one mounted on a wooden base, and one chap even painted his base to have a green marbled effect. The marbled one did look great, but I’m not sure that marble is in keeping with a hi-tech cockpit. A good substrate to mount a chariot on maybe, but I wanted something a bit more tech for my model.

I decided it’d look great if it were mounted on some nice shiny checker plate (diamond plate). So after a bit of research I found that Plastruct do a 1/16 scale diamond plate (manufacturer part #91686).

The sad part is that to buy 2 sheets of Plastruct diamond plate (they only sell them in twos) cost slightly more than I paid for the entire kit :'(

 

 

 

Ewan

 

 

 

But I reckon the end result will be worth it.

 

I cut the checker plate to size…
22

 

And then gave it a good coat of Humbrol black gloss enamel (yes – it’s going to get Alclad chromed).
23

 

And after a few light coats of Alclad 2 Chrome…
24

 

The last job for the base is to make a small plinth for the plaque decal to go on.

I’m going to scratch this out of plasticard.
25

 

Here’s the basic shape being constructed….
26

 

I added some square section to keep the bottom spread to the correct distance…
27

 

And boxed in the sides with 0.5mm plasticard.
28

 

After a coat of primer there were a few seams visible. A bit of Mr Surfacer 500 will take car of that. The finished plinth will be painted black and will have the plaque decal applied to the top. It will then sit on the base next to the cockpit…
29

 

And last but not least the helmet was finished off and assembled.
30

 

Well that just about wraps it up for this build. Like I said it’s been a 2 year project on and off and has been a really enjoyable kit all the way through. These are not quick builds and take a lot of time and patience to get the best out of them, as many will testify to. But it is a very unusual subject and builds into something really unique and eye catching.

Here’s to hoping that one day someone will release a 1/12 scale Vulcan cockpit. Upstairs and downstairs 😉

 

Click here to view the final reveal photos…

 

Thanks for visiting!

I write this blog for fun, to share what I've learned, and to share my builds with you. If you like what you see here please leave a comment, and head over to facebook and like my page!

Cheers - Rich



11 comments on “1/12 Italeri F16 Falcon Cockpit – Build Log
  1. Bull says:

    Where is the rest of this build log?

    • Richard says:

      Hi Bull, this one has been on the shelf of doom for a while now so progress has stalled.

      I hope to be picking it up again in the next few weeks though.

  2. Bull says:

    Know the feeling.
    Looking forward to the rest of this log.
    Building the original ESCI F-16A cockpit at this moment, so some comparison is always nice.
    Your build looks very nice.

  3. Bull says:

    1/12.
    Same model as yours. First manufacturer was Esci, later on Italeri.
    Wanted this model since I was a kid. Just bought it recently on eBay.

  4. Kevin says:

    Thank you, somehow I’d never heard of the wet palette. You have made my acrylic day.

    PS – your human captcha is a PITA – I said F16 and it said not. Lets see if this gets through – no, it doesn’t like the blog post title either. Give us a clue for pete’s sake. Not “aircraft”. Making Models? – errr nope! “Models”?

    • Richard says:

      Thanks for the comment Kevin, glad you stuck with it 😉

      Appreciate the feedback on the Captcha – I was getting bogged down with automated spam bots a while ago and was spending significant time deleting stuff each day. Have relaxed the settings so hopefully other fellow humans will have an easier time of it.

  5. William G says:

    Outstanding work.
    I have the kit in my stash, started building it in 1987, then put it away.
    Since I used to work on the F-16 I am a bit of a perfectionist, and I cant let it go without correcting and updating the details to match the jets I worked on.
    But that’s me.
    I admire your attention to detail as well as your tenacity in the build and am looking forward to the completion.

    • Richard says:

      Thanks William. Great to hear from an actual Viper tech!

      I’ve actually got the F-16 cockpit back on the bench in the past few days so the final build log update shouldn’t be too far off now.

      Have a few bits left to paint, a bit of mild weathering to do and at that point I’m just waiting for a part for the base. I’ve decided that for the base I want to put the cockpit on a metal diamond plate (checker plate) so I’ve got a 1/16 styrene sheet of it in the post. When that arrives I should be pretty much ready to wrap it up.

  6. Richard says:

    She’s all finished now – final reveal photos are here – http://www.makingmodels.co.uk/completed-builds/112-italeri-f-16a-falcon-cockpit/

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