Vintage Centuri F-16 Build

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Jan 18, 2009
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Over the years I have collected the entire Centuri Fighter series and have been wanting to build them for awhile. This kit is in great condition but I cannot find the original instructions so I printed some online. I scanned all the fighter series instructions and I cannot remember where I placed them, will have to keep searching for them.

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Yeah, we didn't have any Centuri kits in Ft. Wayne, IN, either. It was Estes or nothing. Since becoming a BAR, I've seen several Centuri models I'd like to have or clone.
Over the years I've managed to collect the Centuri Saturn V, Saturn 1b, 1/45th scale Little Joe II, F-16 Fighter, Hercules, Skylab, Mercury Redstone, Eagle Power starter kit and the Two Bits. I even have the Servo Launcher, of course, it needs the little 'diaphragm' which has since rotted to pieces. The Hercules you would see on the front cover of their 71' catalog. I'd like to see this F-16 build. I suspect you don't see them very often.
Thank you for all your comments, and yes this is a fun old time build. Even though I am not a fan of Fiber board fins, I am ok with it since it is a vintage builds. Remember back in the day this is what rocketeers would buy off the shelf at a hobby store, build and fly. I really like the look of this build and the old fiber parts were a challenge but it all came together just fine to produce a nice looking rocket. I used white glue and built it per the plans with no modifications. The decals are old and the cockpit decal started to fall apart when I was applying it but it went on, just a glimpse of what I am in for when I start adding the rest of the decals. Now with the stiffer fiber board and laser cut parts, I think it would be awesome if Estes could bring these kits back. Now onto priming followed by painting to the few pictures I found online showing the Centuri F-16.



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If I remember correctly, the instructions tell you to lay the decal on the unpainted nose first. I would paint the nose THEN apply the cockpit decal.
Very cool!

My little brother was an F-16 Crew Chief in the USAF. He'd probably like this. I was a B-52H and B-2A Crew Chief... Not too many rockets done like one of those. :sad:
I was able to finish the painting but after a day or so of drying and I was not too happy with the nose cone. I primed the rocket grey and everything looked great. Once this was dry I shot flat white followed by glossy white and once again everything was looking good. After 48 hours of drying I noticed the nose cone started taking on a pink color, and I knew the dreaded red plastic was the cause. This has happened to me before when painting these old vintage red parts and I think it is something I have to live with. On another one of my builds with red plastic I went as far as using black primer and that still did not work. For now I think I am just going to have to leave it and live with it, part of building vintage I guess. The funny thing is back in the day when people would build these kits most people were not even using primer. So other than the pink nose everything went ok with painting. As much as I don't like fibre board rockets, I do see why Centuri used it. This is a really neat looking rocket and the Fibre board does make it so that any skill level builder could build a nice looking rocket and not have to worry about filling balsa.

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The nose cone color almost looks like "Radome Tan". Perfect on an A6 Intruder, not so much on an F16. I guess it is what it is.
Very cool!

My little brother was an F-16 Crew Chief in the USAF. He'd probably like this. I was a B-52H and B-2A Crew Chief... Not too many rockets done like one of those. :sad:

Both of those bombers can be flown as model rockets. I know of a B-52 plan that was going to be built by a famous designer but unfortunately to my knowledge it never flew. Building such rockets will take you firmly into the Dark Arts so beware! I have successfully flown an eight motor AVRO Lancaster, a six motor B 58 and a Four motor DO 217N, so it can be done. An eleven motor Ekranoplan has flown as well.
As of right now I am going to let it sit with me for 24 hours before applying the decals, to see if I want to try and mess with it or just leave it.
Do what your heart tells you. The paint job is going to get banged up anyway as you fly the rocket. A lot more work and is it worth it? Yes, for a beauty contest, no for an everyday flier.
Well, after letting the nose sit for a few days, the red was getting worse so I decided to strip the paint. I used Testors ELO and that stuff worked great, the paint just peeled right off. I then sanded the nose cone to roughen it up and now she is ready for paint. Looking at the model cars forums this seems to be an issue over there and there is an article on this subject. The cure is to use black primer, allow to off gas followed by grey primer and allow to off gas. Then I will shoot flat white followed by glossy white. This is definitely going to set me back on my finished project but the pink nose was going to bother me.
Ok, another change in my build. So I stripped the paint but noticed my ELO snuck under the canopy and ate the decal and loosened the plastic cement I used to attach the canopy. I have another Centuri F-16 that I probably will never build and took the nose and canopy out of that kit to use on this kit. During my downtime I will buff out and clean up the once painted nose and canopy and put it back in that kit for another day. In the meantime I really want to get this kit done so the I am using the new nose cone, decal and canopy. Then I noticed this F16 kit has a shorter nose than the kit I started. I pulled out all my Fighter jets from Centuri and sure enough some kits have the long plastic nose and some have the shorter version. Oh well, time to get back to work. At least I got the decals on the main jet.

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I almost made a big mistake and used the wrong nose cone, it was from the other fighter kit. I am back to using the long nose that came with the kit, I think I mixed up the nose cones in my kits, my bad. So, the Testors ELO worked great on removing the paint. The ELO also removed the plastic cement from the canopy so the canopy popped right off and I was able to remove the decal. Luckily I had an extra decal to put down. I cleaned up the canopy and glued it back on and sprayed one coat of black primer. The auto forums say to let it off gas then spray grey primer, let it off gas and then use flat followed by gloss white......Whooooo way too much work for a model rocket, remember I am a simple builder. Since this is going to take some time, I am starting on my next vintage build, should be a fun one. When the F-16 is done I will post pictures.
I have finally finished my F-16 and for the most part I am happy with how well she turned out for an old Fibre board kit. The black primer did wonders for hiding the red, followed by grey primer and white paint. Also I think it helped when I used Testors ELO to remove the paint because when I was wiping it off, red also came off.

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Would an acrylic model paint have had less red dye bleed than a solvent based paint?
Airbrushed layers of model paint might not be as ding resistant as thicker layers of solvent based spray, though.
Very nice work!
(And a good workaround on the red nose cone-)