1980’s F-16A Thunderbird; Hasegawa 1/72
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The USAF Air Demonstration Squadron (“Thunderbirds”) is the air demonstration squadron of the United States Air Force (USAF. The Thunderbirds are assigned to the 57th Wing, and are based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Created 68 years ago in 1953, the USAF Thunderbirds are the third-oldest formal flying aerobatic team (under the same name) in the world.
The Thunderbirds Squadron tours the United States and much of the world, performing aerobatic formation and solo flying in specially marked aircraft. The squadron’s name is taken from the legendary creature that appears in the mythologies of several indigenous North American cultures.
(This build is part of a serie, as I plan to build all of the aircraft type flown by the team)
THE F-16 ERA
Following the serious accident that occurred in 1982 with four T-38s, the team moved to the General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon in 1983 (and were upgraded to the F-16C (now produced by Lockheed Martin) in 1992).
The team flew the F-16 during the 1983 show season; making it the team’s ninth aircraft and once again returning to flying a front-line fighter.
In 1997, the Thunderbirds performed 57 demonstrations for more than 12 million people in the spirit and theme of the Air Force’s 50th anniversary. The year was memorialized with the Thunderbirds Delta pictured on the official Air Force 50th Anniversary U.S. Postal stamp. On Sept. 18, 1997, the United States Postal Service had official unveilings of the stamp in both the Pentagon and the Thunderbird hangar.
In 2007, the Thunderbirds visited Europe for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001 with the European Goodwill Tour. The trip included shows in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, France, United Kingdom, and for the first time in Thunderbirds history, Ireland.
The team took its fifth Far East tour during the 2009 show season. The team’s tour included visits to Hawaii, Australia, Thailand, Guam, Malaysia, Japan and Korea.
I remember seeing them in the 1980’s when they visited Portugal. What a thrill for a teenager 😀
The kit is an old Hasegawa tool from the 1980’s. I had mix feelings building it as the fit was quite good, but it lacks some serious detail, like the cockpit (leading me to some scratch) and the wheel wells. Panel lines are also quite deep for the scale.
The decals are quite reasonable but difficult to take from the paper, regardless of the time you let them in water. I had to slide a tweezer between the decal and the sheet to separate them. However, I opted to paint some parts. This was possible as the decals colors match the Mr Hobby paint.
I build this model as a quick build, to distress from another big project on 1:48.
I opted to represent the number Five for its particularity of having the number painted upside down.
Hope you like as much as I did.
[UPDATE] in a spectacular chance of life, the Crew Chief of this same aircraft, SSgt (now Lt, RET) James Olschlager Sr., saw my model and was kind enough to send me some kind words as well as some of his photos with the plane.
My most grateful, joyful and humble thanks, Mr James Olschlager Sr.!
2 additional images. Click to enlarge.