1/32 Scale Correction for the Meteor Super Massive F-16XL Conversion for the Tamiya F-16C
Now why would ATTIC issue a correction for a Meteor conversion kit?. That anything produced by Meteor should need correcting is a big surprise, so here are detailed photos of the actual F-16XL, the Meteor part, and the part from the ATTIC kit that replaces it.
First, the most obvious error is the size and shape of the fairings that cover the aileron actuators on the wings. The photo tells it all. The Meteor fairings are much too narrow, about 50% of the proper width. Note the ATTIC replacement part with a much better shape. The ATTIC kit contains both complete replacement wings to easily correct this error.
Actual XL Wing ATTIC XL Wing Meteor XL Wing
In replacing the wings ATTIC also took the opportunity to fix the shape of the underside. As the photos show, the actual XL wing underside is nearly flat, while the Meteor wing extends the fairing around the elevon actuator much too far forward, giving the wing underside a stepped appearance. Again note the much better shape of the ATTIC part.
A third error corrected by replacing the wings is the shape of the rear end of the elevon actuator fairing. Note in the picture that the Meteor fairing attempts to match the shape of the missile channel fairing inboard of it, while on the actual XL, the lines run straight back to the end of the elevon. Again note the correct shape of the ATTIC part.
The third replacement piece in the ATTIC correction kit is the fuselage top half. This piece primarily corrects the shape and location of the gun port. The ATTIC part comes with two different gun ports, the original open port used on the XL during USAF evaluation and the faired-over ďportĒ seen during NASA service. The first set of pictures compares the USAF configuration with the Meteor and ATTIC parts and the second set shows the NASA configuration and the ATTIC part. The ATTIC part also includes the vents over the gun breach as well as a number of panel lines either omitted or done incorrectly in the Meteor kit.
Replacing both wings and the upper fuselage created the opportunity to strengthen the troublesome wing-fuselage joint with several large structural tabs on each wing that lock into slots in the upper fuselage. These make the joint really quite strong, so you probably don't need to add the metal pins Meteor recommends (but does not provide) for their parts.
The ATTIC kit also provides parts to make an XL-style cockpit, quite different from the F-16C cockpit that Meteor recommends. The ATTIC parts include the main instrument panel, HUD control panel, center console, and sub-panels, all which replace the corresponding parts in the Tamiya kit. The photo shows an F-16C cockpit compared with the XL cockpit and the 5 replacement parts from the ATTIC kit.
F-16C Cockpit F-16XL Cockpit ATTIC F-16XL Cockpit Parts
The rest of the ATTIC kit consists of a 3-piece YAPS boom (not needed if you want to make the F-16XL as it would have appeared in squadron service, but essential for much of the actual airplaneís service life) and 4x dummy AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, parts left out of the Meteor kit. The missiles in a Tamiya F-16CJ kit are a more recent version, but then, you donít need these at all if you build the black NASA XL version. The photos show these parts on the actual XL and the ATTIC pieces you can use to model them.
So thatís it. In total, the ATTIC correction kit consists of 2x replacement wings, 1x fuselage top with 2x choices of gun port fairings, 5x cockpit parts, the 3-piece YAPS boom, the 2-piece dorsal fairing/parachute housing and 4x dummy AMRAAMs. Thatís a total of 19 resin pieces that will make your XL a museum-quality show-stopper. You get replacements for 75% of the largest pieces in the Meteor kit plus a proper cockpit and some hard-to-find detail parts for a price thatís less than 1/3 that of the original. Please donít neglect to make these corrections to your kit. The picture shows the complete ATTIC correction kit with all the parts and the 10-page instruction booklet and color reference.
Now, all the above still begs the question, "Why did ATTIC go to all the trouble of issuing a correction for a kit that sold less than 100 copies?" Actually, we had already started on our own 1/32 F-16XL conversion and had announced that it would be released last summer. Then, when we heard about the Meteor project, we put ours on the shelf. When the Meteor kit came out with errors, it was a simple thing to dust off the ATTIC masters and create the corrections. Lest anyone fear that the ATTIC parts were somehow "derived" from the Meteor parts and thus in some way might constitute infringement, here is a picture of one of the ATTIC wing blanks made on a computer-controlled mill long before Meteor completed their masters.