1/72 scale kits of the F-104 Starfighter
review / modelling report
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Old HASEGAWA kits
Hasegawa has issued several 1/72 scale
F-104 kits. In nineteen-sixties and early seventies their F-104 was very
basic. Although I am not sure, I think this kit was the same as previously
issued by FROG.
and as F-104J and was also issued
by Minicraft USA:
Also I think Academy made a "copy"
of this same kit with this boxart:
Markings in this old F-104J kit are
I believe these kits show incorrectly no differences between the F-104J and the F-104G (the latter has thicker wheels and bulged wheel doors of the -G).
I made a model of this kit in 1977! It was finished in KLu markings using very old IPMS Nederland decals. At the time it was really difficult to find appropriate decals and colours were difficult to find in ready to use paints! The completed model still survives despite the gaps, lack of putty and yellowish markings, but is in the "bottom shelf".... only for nostalgia! I was proud of it at the time.
Newer Hasegawa kits
Later Hasegawa issued much better brand new kits with new moulds, with many different markings, decals and boxes.
All these later kits have recessed panellines but the rear fuselage sections have rivets. These could be filled as the real aircraft is rather smooth. But I found them hardly noticeable after a grey base coat as airbrushed to check for any flaws before appyling th camouflage colours.
The wing fueltanks look OK and of correct thickness and look better than e.g. the Revell kits. Two types of ejection seats are in the kit, the Lockheed C2 and later Martin baker seats. Also the canopy and windscreen look good.
Each kit has separate forward and rear parts for the fuselage, so four in total. This requires a good alignment when assembling the fuselage and the assembly is very weak.
Schemes differ per particular box
with this kit issued:
Issue kit with unclear kit no. for
F-104J aircraft (but without
a couple of extra parts for the MB seat, only C2 seat):
also with unclear kit no. is very similar to the F-104G kit
1002 and decals for CANADA aircraft:
In this kit, the cockpit is not bad and is assembled in combination with the nose gear bay. The main instrument panel shows gaps with the fuselage sides. Fill up with card.
The intake parts do not fit perfectly, so requiring filling and sanding as well as the spine between forward and rear fuselage parts.
After getting a smooth straight fuselage the fit of the wing halves should be done. The fit is good but I had difficulty with their angle. I later found that the whole look was not symmetrical after fitting the main undercarriage. But then discovered that the problem was not the wing halves, but a slightly asymmetrical fit of the main gear bay roof” part #C6. It must be done very precise, otherwise the model will not stand correctly and symmetrical on its undercarriage. My fault! So when assembling this, take care.
The fit of the
main doors is not very good, and as suggested by Hasegawa these were set
almost closed as often seen on parked Starfighters.
Standard colours for the KLu Starfighters
The camouflage patterns have "hard" demarcation, so was masked off with low tack tape (I used the yellow Tesa tape) before airbrushing. Anti glare panel in front of the windshield is mostly medium green FS34102. Radar nose often "off" white, about FS36622. The glassfibre panel aft of the cockpit is also in most cases off white (but sometimes also light buff). Interiors are light grey and the insides of gearbays aluminium or green zinc chromate primer. Gear undercarriage legs are often aluminium coloured. Intake edges are black.
 F-104G with code "D-8331" with a year 1979 demonstration Starfighter of KLu 312 squadron at Volkel AFB of the famous pilot Hans van der Werf was made, using Dutch Decal set 72006. The shark decal was cut in half and reduced in length about 2 mm in the middle. The RAL colours were again applied.
decals, ensure a really gloss varnish base coat such as Johnson
Future / Pledge with the airbrush. You will later
see that still there is some "silvering" below some decals on the models...
Note the slight "gloss" varnish of
this "high speed" aircraft.
Here the good fuel tanks with correct
thickness are seen to good advantage.
Peculiar is the demarcation line, not being at the "red" stripe. I later found out it should be at the same spot (the grey should extend the whole way), so the Dutch Decal drawing and many other profile drawings are incorrect. I should have been warned... so the lesson is to ALWAYS check a real aircraft photo of your scheme.
The Hasegawa 1/72 kit of the Italian
F-104S is very similar as their later better single seater
F-104G kits but you get an additional sprue with extra parts. We are getting
old, it was already issued in 1990!
The decals are very nice for 3 F-104S
Italian Air Force:
The cockpit is nicely done with a 3 piece seat, but I needed to remove 2 mm from its base as it is a bit "too tall". Instrument decals are provided as well.
This kit was assembled, note the similar comments above as for the other newer Hasegawa kits.
The camouflage was applied with the
fine Harder Steinbeck airbrush.
Colours used were RAL 7012 (Gunze Sangyo acrylic 331, or alternatively
use Humbrol 156 enamel) and for the green BSC 641 Humbrol enamel 163 (about
FS34079). The lower surfaces got, after masking with low tack tape, a coat
with a mix of aluminium and light grey acrylic (so not only aluminium).
The lower nose radarnose got a "Sky" colour.
The decals are fine with this kit
with loads of stencilling. The green roundel dots are separate to avoid
And the result.....
For more info about Italian military aviation look at my F-16 page here...
Italian Air Force was one of the last operators of the Starfighter in the World. From 1963 they acquired the F-104G and TF-104G later followed from 1969 the F-104S which was also called the "Super Starfighter" with J79-GE-19 engine. It had initially its gun removed as it got AIM-7 Sparrow (Aspide) missile capability and 9 hardpoints. Some 246 F-104S were delivered (including replacements) and operated for decades until October 2004.
This kit is well researched. Parts
are included enable modelling a TF-104D with straight gear doors and correct
"thin" wheels as well as a TF-104G with the bulged doors and thicker wheels.
Two types of ejection seats are in the kit, the Lockheed C2 and the later
Martin baker seats. The wing fueltanks look OK and of correct thickness.
My model is made as Japanese JASF TF-104DJ scheme (2) shown in the instructions.
The cockpit interior will benefit
from adding some additional details. I had an after market set (but
which one ???) for the details.
The seats needed for this TF-104DJ
are the Lockheed C2, with parts in the kit B7,B8,B9 and F5,F6,F7.
I found that ejection seats required removal of 2 mm plastic at their base
as they are a bit "too tall".
The thin wheels parts A3 with
non-bulged doors B2, B3 are used as well indicated by the instructions.
Some rear fuselage areas were carefully
masked with “low tack” post-it notes and slightly different coats of ALCLAD
II like "steel" at some panels. This looks more realistic as these Starfighters
had different metal hues at the rear fuselage. The anti-glare panel is
here black (so varies).
The stencil decals in the kit are
very nice but need some work. These stencils look really impressive once
set onto the model.
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Created this page
August 19, 2014