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George R Blair Jr
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Tamiya 1/72 F-16CJ50 Years of YGBSM

February 15, 2024 · in Aviation · · 51 · 258

I don't build models of many modern planes, but Erik (@airbum) asked me if I would participate in his "F-16 at 50" group, so I jumped in with a model I had of an . I really had no idea what an F-16CJ was, so it was research time. As near as I can tell, an F-16CJ is a Block 50/52 F-16 that has been optimized for the SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) mission. It carries the pods and sensors that allows it to fire the weapons associated with the mission, like the AGM-88 radar-seeking missile. Which brings me to the decals. I had a set of decals from Decals for an F-16CJ with markings that celebrate 50 Years of "YGBSM". So, a little more research advises that this is what is commonly said by pilots who are assigned the Wild Weasel mission: "You Gotta Be Sh_____ Me". If you are unfamiliar with the Wild Weasel mission, basically you fly a plane into a target area before the strike planes arrive, wait for the missile radars to lock on to you, then you fire a missile to destroy the radar site, all hopefully before they can shoot you down. When this mission was first conceived in WW2, it consisted of hunter-killer teams. One plane would ID the radars (the hunter), and the other plane would take out the radar (the killer). Later, using planes like the F-4G, both functions were consolidated in one plane.

The kit is amazing. Everything fits perfectly. Only a smear of filler was needed on the 3-piece intake. The only downside is that this kit doesn't have most of the cool stuff needed to fully equip this plane for the SEAD mission. So, I had to source the missiles, pylons, wing tanks, and pods. Most came from a Hasegawa F-16CJ kit that I had, but I also used some 3D printed parts for the pods, the AGM-88s, and the ejection seat. This was really a fun build, but now it is back to something a little bigger. Cheers.

Reader reactions:
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11 additional images. Click to enlarge.


51 responses

  1. Awesome job and great result, George!
    Definitely fooling the scale!

  2. A really nice conversion there George (@gblair) - a great outcome for your great efforts. Well done 😀

    Thanks for the interesting back story too of the Wild Weasel - I didn't realise it went beyond the days of the F4 Phantom!

  3. Great looking F-16C, George! I think F-105 Thud drivers probably coined that phrase (and a few others, LOL!), dodging SAMs in Vietnam.

  4. Extremely nice work , George @gblair !

  5. Nicely done George, good looking weasel.

  6. Great work on this George (@gblair). I've never built an F-16 either and in fact, I think the F-100 is the most modern aircraft I've even attempted (and its not done). But I'm warming to more modern jets. Thanks for sharing this build.

    • Thanks, Carl (@clipper). I am in the same boat. I am really more comfortable with the planes from earlier eras. That's why I like participating in groups, since they often pull me out of my comfort zone, but I always need to go back and reset.

  7. Nice F-16 George.

  8. Turned out great, George. The workload on these single seat Weasel pilots has to be tremendous.

  9. Thanks, John (@j-healy). I suspect you are right. The workload in a single-seat Weasel must be very high. I think the EA-18G Growler, which is a two-seater, basically does the Weasel mission for the Navy. Even though it is a radar jammer, I think it normally carries AGM-88s that are radar killers.

  10. George R Blair Jr (@gblair)
    This Viper of yours looks amazing. It was a lot of fun watching you build it, and I learned some things in the process. I remember the first time I heard about how the expression YGBSM started... it was a TV documentary on the Wild Weasels flying in Vietnam. It may have been a Smithsonian show called "Surviving 100 Missions" and it had Col. Robin Olds in it among others. They were talking about how the F-105 pilots were being shot down in numbers... and how they now have these same set of alphabet letters YGBSM sewn into / on their shoulder patches. Classic !

    You have done such a great job with your model, it is hard to tell it is a 1/72 scale plane. It looks more like a much larger model. Having the ability to print out the parts you need is a definite plus. I am still working on my larger Tamiya F-16, and saving for a 3D printer of my own.

    Your comments are spot on about how these two planes are nearly identical with the parts layouts. I'm almost ready to start painting on the Red, White and Blue now.

    Now you have this one done, you mentioned working on something larger... What are your plans ?

    I got your text message, and will reply back to you soon. Thanks again for the well wishes.

    Take care, and I made sure to click on several of the various "Like" buttons.

    You nailed it ! Two thumbs up...

    • Thanks for the kind words, Louis (@lgardner). I need to get caught up on your larger F-16. The parts and their layout look very familiar after building its smaller brother (or child?). I am looking forward to watching the paint and decals appear for your very difficult paint scheme. Researching the origin of YGBSM talked a lot about Vietnam and how the acronym had been enshrined on patches. I have 4 models waiting on deck right now: a 1/32 Hasegawa F-86F, a 1/48 Airfix Canadair Sabre F.4, a 1/48 Academy PBJ-1D (rebox of the Accurate Miniatures), and the old Moonbase Alpha from Space 1999. When I finish a model, I take a few days to clean my hobby room. During the cleaning I will be thinking about the models and one of them will move to the front. Right now I am leaning toward the Moonbase. The vacuform base for the terrain around the Moonbase is very brittle, so I am thinking about making my own.

  11. An interesting write up, George, and a good result with the kit, you can’t ask for much more.

  12. A fantastic result on this fully loaded F16, George @gblair
    The amount of details you applied on this tiny kit is impressive.
    Makes it look definitely like a bigger one.

  13. A very nice looking Viper, George.
    Definitely outclassing its scale. Chapeau!

  14. Thanks, Alfred (@alfred). I don't usually do 1/72 models, so it is definitely on to something larger next.

  15. Me neither George! @gblair
    I picked up the hobby again starting with 1/32 because of the level of detail, but the finished work simply eat up too much space.
    1/48 is a nice compromise in size where 1/72 is lacking too much detail in most cases.

    • We are in exactly the same place, Alfred (@alfred). I still like 1/72, but with age my dexterity to handle small parts has diminished. I like working on 1/32 models, but they eat up a lot of space. Like you, I have found 1/48 to be a good compromise.

  16. That is very nice. Congrats.

    The first modern Weasel was the F-100F. They just added gear to pick up the Fansong radar, teamed up SAC EWOs with TAC F-100 pilots and told them their new mission. And thus was born the phrase YGBSM. The first weapons for the new Weasels were cannons and cluster bombs.

    But the Huns couldn't keep up with the Thuds so the Ultra Hogs got a new mission -SAM killer.

    That's just a little history. One of these days will build the 1/48 Trumpeter F-100F in Wild Weasel markings.

    • Thanks, David (@kahu). I had forgotten about the F-100 Weasels. I had a ride in the back seat of an F-100 before I went to pilot training. Most of them were flying with the Guard at the time. I can imagine the reaction of a SAC EWO being told he was flying in the backseat of an F-100.

  17. @gblair - Very clean looking build George. The additional detail parts really paid off, it looks fantastic!

    • Thanks, Brian (@brithebuilder). I am starting to have more successes than failures when I print now. My wife got me a filament printer for Christmas. More mysteries to solve.

      • Very cool George... FDM is a totally different animal.

        • I am navigating the halls of filament printing. My goal is to print a radio control model of a Flower Class escort ship. I have the files for a very complete model that is about 4 feet long. I stopped dead in my tracks when I sliced the first hull piece and discovered it would take about 30 hours to print. I am still deciding how I feel about leaving the print unattended while I sleep. Maybe I should just drink a lot of coffee and stay awake while it prints. :o)

  18. Fantastic F-16!

  19. Ah - I have this kit and now I know what to do with it! Thanks for the back story, and I followed your build thread so will look for all the stuff to hang off the airframe when I get into this one. Great work on the Weasel! It looks great.

    • Thanks, Greg (@gkittinger). I think this is one of the best fitting kits I have ever built, but it is in "clean" configuration. If you want all the cool stuff hanging on the wings and pylons, you will need to source them. I wish Tamiya had made both a "clean" and "loaded" kit version, or offered the pylons, missiles, and pods in a "detail up" set. If you have the weapons sets that Hasegawa makes, you can find most of the stuff in those.

      • Tamiya did produce both "clean" and "loaded" version of the kit:

        "Clean" Version": Kit #60786, which is your version
        "Full Equipment": Kit #60788, which is the same kit as #60786, but includes the full set of missiles (Sidewinder, Sparrow, AIM-120, HARM) and pods.

        I also have the Hasegawa version of the same aircraft, but the weapons included do not look as sharp as the offering from Tamiya. Also, I can't get myself to cut off the older Sidewinder rail from the wing in order to glue the new one on. So I think buying the "w/Full Equipment" kit is worth the slightly higher price.

  20. Nice looking little F-16 @gblair. I like the “fully loaded” look but that’s a lot of extra work painting and decaling each piece. Attaching pylons on a kit not designed for them can also be dicey. You really a terrific job with them here.

    I agree Hasegawa is the way to go for Aircraft weapons. I recently tried a Vietnam-era set by ICM. The decals are terrible but it has a couple of different LAU’s I was looking for but overall I was disappointed with it.

    I look forward to your upcoming CanAir Sabre.

  21. Thanks, Eric (@eb801). I really liked the way the fully-loaded plane looked in photos, so I knew I wanted the same in the model. Getting all the stuff was a real exercise to get the stuff I needed from the Hasegawa kit and their weapons sets. 3d printing got me a couple of pods. The files to print the pods were free, so that was a plus. The Two-Bobs Decals are very complete. Not only did they have the decals for an F-16 Wild Weasel, but they also had decals for an F-4 Wild Weasel, as well as all the markings for all of the weapons. I hadn't used Two Bobs before, but they are really nice.

    • It would seem to me a 3D printer is perfect for creating scale aircraft weapons, pods and fuel tanks If you can get the files. What if you can’t?

      • If you can't get the files, then it depends on how well you know your way around design software. I have created some simple things like seats for my 1/72 Hudson and a few other things. I use some really simple free software called Tinkercad. You combine basic shapes to create whatever you are building. It is great for relatively simple things, but complex things are really tough. There are other free online programs, such as FreeCad, that allow the design of really complex things, but the learning curve is very steep. I have tried some simple things, but still a long way to go. So far, I have been really lucky to find things that I need online either for free or at a nominal cost, usually for just a dollar or two. If you would like to see the sort of things that are available, I use a site that searches multiple sites for files. You just type in what you are looking for and it searches multiple sites. It is called Yeggi.com. If you are interested in getting into 3D printing, it is a lot less daunting than it once was. The price for liquid resin printers has come down considerably. There are also places in many cities called Maker Spaces where you can go and use their machines to print. Louis was interested in 3D printing and discovered there were several Maker Spaces around where he lives in Florida. My daughter is in charge of the Maker Space at her university, and they have several different types of 3D printers, laser cutters, and a bunch of other tools that people use to create stuff. Probably more info than you wanted, but 3D printing makes the same sort of change in your hobby that getting an airbrush does. Cheers.

        2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  22. Fantastic job your your F-16, George (@gblair)!
    Glad you left your comfort zone and built this kit, and glad you enjoyed it so much.
    I am always amazing just how much stuff they can hang of an F-16 and surprised it can get off the ground.
    While checking out some websites, I found Tamiya kit 60788 which is the fully loaded version of your kit - not sure how available it is.

  23. Thanks, George (@georgeswork). I have had this kit for a while, and I had assumed (you know what they say about assuming), that the kit would have everything I needed to build a fully loaded plane. Not even the wing tanks came with this kit. The plane that used to surprise me was watching a fully loaded F-104 take off. That was a miracle. It just proves that anything will fly if you strap a large enough engine on it. It looks like the fully loaded kit is still available. I found it on Amazon for $32. Wish I had known. :o)

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