Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
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F-104 model in 1/32 scale

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A special feature of the reconnaisance RF-104G was the special Dutch AF recon pod, called the Orpheus pod. I had no drawings at that time but some good pictures. The pod is in 1/32 about 112 mm long and has a circular cross section diameter of 13 mm. A pod was made using a spare pod from the F-15 of Revell in 1/32 with lots of putty.

The Orpheus recce pod being shaped...


lower view with cooling intake

pod with special pylon, the gap still to be filled with white glue and to be painted. Aft of the center is an intake in the lower area, behind it is the internal cooler unit. The small pylon is tapered in shape. 

The various camera windows were suggested by cutting in clear tape with a scalpel the openings and applying the tape to the pod. The strips were of plastic to get the attachment points and the central cooling intake in the lower area opened. The pod was sprayed in the lighter grey.

The F-104G Starfighter variants have thicker wheels and these are not in either kit. The G is capable of secondary bombing tasks to take -off with a higher weight. The main doors therefor also have the bulges in them. The wheels otherwise would not fit when retracted.  NOTE: the newest later Hasegawa kit has "resin"  parts for the wheels and doors. 

Wheel doors to be shaped...

doors and main wheels 


note removed section of tip....

Orpheus reccon pod with markings and stencilling

The canopy was made "detachable". In the cockpit side two small holes were drilled, on the canopy two small metal pins (from paperclip) were made to fit.
This way you can remove the canopy and make them thoroughly clean once in a while.

The same was also done for the rear avionics hatch. 

I decided to add a circular piece of card, 2 mm thick between the wheel halves to get the thicker wheels. Also, the forward main undercarriage doors were made from thick card. The card was disformed to get the bulge by heating the plastic in an oven and to press a shape into it. Be carefull with the heat, 5 minutes warming at 150 degrees Celsius should do it. Make some spare parts and use the best ones.

The end result on the undercarriage can be seen here, note the bulge in the main door. I finally detailed the undercarriage with some painting and weathering with very much thinned dark paint.

The Starfighters are all now being finished with final assembly of main parts such as the main doors and speed brakes. These were added as supplied in the Hasegawa kit.

The speed brakes have retracting sliding attachments that go into the forward part of the brake bay. I opened these to get a much improved look.

The fitting of the assembled tip tanks was a problem on the 1/32 Revell kit. The wing is too large in span! I had to remove 4 mm at each tip end! Although it was discovered very late by me and although I could correct it be carefully sawing off the tips, I strongly recommend of course to remove the end of the tips before assembly.

The Hasegawa tiptanks fit fine. I only added fueldumps on the inner areas of the tanks just aft of the inner wing ailerons.

Also the various decals were to be applied. Many stencilling data should be added, the Starfighter was sometimes called the "flying instruction manual".

The smaller markings I did not have so I obtained them from spare sheets, such as 1/32 Micro scale sets for the F-15. In order to simulate the markings, some were cut and applied. They merely suggest a text with a marking but the result is OK

nose u.c. bay RF

Also, I checked the model panellines and grills. Very fine thinned paint (black and brown) was applied in the recessed panels but very lightly! F-104 aircraft are not like a tank but well maintained by its crews!
The very finely toched up areas were completed with added rivets in some areas by adding paint, slightly darker than the under base colour, with a tooth pick.

The models now have to carefully cleaned up and given their final semi-matt varnish paint with the airbrush.
The last step was fitting the transparant canopies. That completed the models.

TF-104G Trainer of Dutch Masters conversion flight, code  D-5808. Also flown as conversion section Volkel AB.
Drawing can be seen here... 

The TF-104G trainer version 1/32 model has been completed. The basis was the Revell kit.

cockpit with seats

Also, two underwing pylons were added as supplied in the Revell 1/32 kit. Note also the bulged main doors and the protective red covers on the very sharp leading edges made. 

Decals are from Dutch decal set.

Well, it took some effort but the result is worth it... a TF-104G Starfighter in the collection.




RF-104G model in 1/32 scale
And here , the completed RF-104G model of the recon version Starfighter as used by the Royal Dutch Air Force.

RF-104G of Dutch AF 312 squadron,
code D-8129


avionics bay area

The RF-104G recon version with the opened avionics bay, Orpheus recon pod and the detailed cockpit and radar area. The nose cone will be kept separate.

Well, that's it after a year... some nice models of the Starfighter in the collection was well worth it.

UPDATE: Summer 2014 Italeri issued a very nice 1/32 scale F-104 kit with various options and including KLu F-104G details and decals.

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Created this page May 2002