F-16C Have Glass Viper.

Hello there!

Just before Christmas of last year I had an itch I needed to scratch-I had some reference photos on my phone of one of coolest paint schemes I have seen in a long time, the USAF’s F-16 in Have Glass V paint!

I had seen other modellers tackle this Dark Viper scheme with varying degrees of results. Some quite spectacular and others a bit, well meh…

Let’s face it-It’s a tricky scheme to get right and much debate has been broadcast across the inter webs of our styrene fuelled hobby. I enjoyed seeing what other modellers had come up with and discussion was abound with colour theory and paint mixing ratios. It was interesting stuff!

After purchasing some Have Glass V paint from AK Interactive, I tested it on a paint mule and it just didn’t look right to my eye. It was too light, and the metallic flakes were like glitter sprinkles! I wasn’t happy and came to the age old conclusion…..

“If you want something done right- Do it yourself!”

So out came the reference photos and experiments with paint! I had a theory in my mind very early on that a colour mix of Tamiya XF-24 Dark Grey and XF-56 Metallic Grey would hit the sweet spot.

When it comes to mixing paint for my models, I have all the gear and no idea! I just throw some colours together in the mixing pot that I think will work and keep playing with the colour shade by adding more of this and that to darken or lighten the shade to my my own eye’s satisfaction.

I know that many modellers find my colour mixing technique annoying has I never write down which paint brand, which colours or ratios I used. This is just how I roll people! No smoke and mirrors, I just forget to write it all down!

However, in this particular case it was a simple formula that was easy to remember! So here it is:

Tamiya acrylics XF-24 Dark Grey and XF-56 Metallic Grey mixed 50:50

Thinning ratio: 60% paint to 40% thinners. In this case I used Tamiya X-20A.

That’s it! That’s exactly what I used on my model. Now to my eye it looks pretty good, but you be the judge when you see the finished model.

The Model: Tamiya’s 1/48 F-16C/N

I chose the Tamiya F-16C/N as for me it is the best 1/48 scale F-16 model available. From this boxing you can build the USAF Block 25, 30 and 40 C models and also the US Navy N model.

This kit has been build by myself and thousands of others so I will not write a detailed description of the build here, instead I will simply say that this kit is superbly engineered and the parts fit like a glove. Typical Tamiya quality-‘Nuff said!

Building was a hassle free experience and the airframe was assembled in short order. I was building the model out of the box so nothing fancy was added to the airframe:

I was straight into the paint shop to test out my home brew mix of Have Glass V paint and I was very happy with the result! The dark grey metallic sheen was exactly the look I was hoping for:

After a gloss clear coat was applied to the model it was time to move onto the markings. I chose a really cool scheme used by the USAF 149th Fighter Wing, Texas Air nation Guard featured on this decal sheet from Caracal Decals:

Here are some reference photos I found of the airframe I was building:

I was really pleased with how the Caracal decals performed and after sealing them in with another clear gloss coat I was able to add some weathering. As these Vipers are kept fairly clean I decided to finish my model as a clean build which is quite unusual for me!

For this process I used a black enamel wash to highlight all the recessed details and I added some very light stains to the vents around the airframe. I also decided to customise the kit pilot figure and install him to the model:

With the all the elements of crew, landing gear, wing stores and canopy installed the model was completed and I had my own Dark Viper in my collection:

I really enjoyed this kit and as a “quick build” it really was fun to do. If you like fast jets and want a well detailed, well engineered model of a F-16, then check out Tamiya’s F-16 range of kits. You won’t regret it!

Thanks for visiting, I hope you enjoyed the model. Take care and I’ll see you next time.

Happy Modelling!


Darren sat in a F-16C cockpit at the Air Zoo, MI USA in 2012.

One thought on “F-16C Have Glass Viper.

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