Convair F-102 Delta Dagger 
32 FIS "Dutch" USAF squadron

1/72 scale Hasegawa kit of the  F-102 Delta Dagger of the USAF in Europe

Go to TF-102 page..

I looked at my model stash and saw a whole pile of old Hasegawa kits of the F-102 Delta Dagger and the F-106 Delta Dart. These should be build and get a place in my model collection. It was decided to a a relatively simple "straight out of the box" built without too much effort. 
But let's look briefly at their history.....
The Convair F-102 Delta Dagger was the first operational supersonic interceptor and delta-wing fighter of the USAF. Its main purpose was to intercept invading Soviet bomber fleets and no gun was fitted, only missiles to intercept. It used an internal weapons bay to carry both guided missiles and rockets. Its wing was designed after many aerodynamic high speed exploration using swept wings and delta wings like on the Convair XF-92. The F-102 got also a delta wing and the prototype flew October 1953 but experienced an unknown high drag. Tests revealed this to be caused by the pressure distribution along the aircraft length and cross-section. So as originally designed, it could not achieve supersonic flight. A major fuselage redesign was made, using the technique called area ruling where overall fuselage + wing forward cross section area was adapted station wise. 

The USAF put the type into service April 1956, primarily in the Air Defense Command. It was armed with missiles only. During its career, a delta wing XX modification on some aircraft was also done with a cambered wing tip, reducing drag. From 1962 it was used in the Vietnam war until 1968.

The official name for the F-102 was Delta Dagger but the most common term used was "Deuce". Almost 900 planes were manufactured when production ended in September 1958. It was operated until 1976. The TF-102A was a two-seat training version with a 
side-by-side cockpit, leading to a very different appearance than the normal Delta Dagger. 

Many of the F-102s were transferred to United States Air National Guard duty by the mid-to-late 1960s, and the type was retired from operational service in 1976. The follow-on replacement was the Mach-2 Convair F-106 Delta Dart, which was an extensive redesign of the F-102. These series of aircraft are often called "Century Fighters". 

32 FIS.....
In the Netherlands, the USAF in Europe also deployed aircraft from the Dutch Soesterberg air base with the 312 fighter squadron. In 1956 the unit replaced their F-86 Sabres with North American F-100 Super Sabres. ( in July 1958 the unit was re-designated 32nd FIS and later 32nd TFS). In 1959 the 32nd received the signature Royal and the Dutch Royal Family (the House of Orange) crown and wreath were added to their emblem as long as the squadron remained in the Netherlands. They were the only USAF unit whose emblem included the royal crest of another nation. January 1959 saw the arrival of 18 new F-102A Delta Daggers and the 32nd was once again re-designated, this time as an FIS. On July 1, 1960 the 32nd FIS was assigned to the USAFE 86th Air Division at Ramstein Air Base in West Germany. The 32nd divided its aircraft in 3 flights, red, white and blue. The aircraft markings varied over the years from red-white-blue vertical tail, red-white-blue flaps but also they wore a green/brown camouflage scheme. 

At the Soesterberg MLM museum, a repainted F-102 was seen in this scheme in the 2000s:

( photo I took at the old MLM, note: the colours are not entirely correct...)

The 32nd (32 FIS) at Soesterberg flew the Delta Dagger from 1959 to 1969 when they transitioned to the F-4E Phantom (as 32 TFS), followed by the later F-15 Eagles. At later periods the 32 TFS was even under operational control of the Dutch air defense radar interceptor control at Nieuw Milligen ("Dutch Mill") for coordinating interceptions. More 32 FIS/TFS info on WIKIpedia...

The kit
The Hasegawa model is the only 1/72 injection plastic moulded model (also issued under the US Minicraft label). It was issued in the nineteen seventies. The model is pretty basic but quite reasonable in shape and can be detailed as desired to get a nice model. It has raised panel lines, and only a few parts. No real detail is present in the cockpit with only a very basic floor and seat (missing a control column) and no real wheelbay details. A missile bay is provided however, but it seems to be not deep enough.  The Falcon missiles are rather crude with no separate fins. The kit was issued in several boxes with different decals which are rather basic. 

The 1/72 model was re-issued in several boxes and decals, such as kit no. JS-047-180. 
.    .

Another one was the Minicraft kit with decals for two colorful aircraft, one from the 68th FS and one from the 32nd FS

.... and with decals for an aircraft from the California Air National Guard by another Minicraft issue:

and in 2011, a combo kit package was issued that included also the F-106 Delta Dart:

NOTE: MENG released some excellent 1/72 kits in 2012

Microscale issued many decal sheets for several squadrons in the USAF with also stencilling to further detail the model. Other after market decals from other manufacturers can also be found.

The 1/72 model was assembled merely as per instructions. 

But I started by separating the lower canopy frame and by cutting a slot in both fuselage halves at the rear of the cockpit opening to cope with the canopy opening mechanism as I wanted to set the canopy open. (no need to do this for a closed cockpit canopy). 

The cockpit tub was installed and the fuselage assembled. 

The separate air intakes are quite deep so acceptable. I added thin card on the inside to close the intake and any gaps.
Here it is clear that quite some sanding and clean up is need with putty.
The wing was quickly fitted and it already looked the Delta Dagger. 

Long gaps were filled and sanded when dry, particularly at the lower wing leading edges. And after sanding.... 

It was decided to keep the large missile bay open. It is not very detailed but the six missile stations are interesting and typical for the era with these kind of interceptors. (if you want a closed bay, do not used the separate doors but used a piece of plastic card made to fit and tweaked into the opening; this will result in a better result and less work). 

Note the large gaps in the bay, these were filled with white glue. Not a lot of work was put into further detailling the bay on this model.

After this was all done, the overall model got a base coat of light grey to check for any flaws. Corrections with putty and sanding was done in case of inperfections. 

Time for detailing. 
The cockpit got some detail from sprue and a couple of instrument side consoles were added from cart. The cockpit was painted medium grey, some instrument decals were used from the kit and from the Microscale sheets. 

The seat is rather basic. The upper plastic of the seat was cut off and some bars added for the ejection rails. Bay side walls were made from thin plastic card. The seat was painted medium grey, harnesses and parapack suggested with tape and painted dark grey with a red head rest. 
On the floor a pilot control stick later was added with on top a "V" shaped handle. 

With simple stretched sprue and rod, the gear doors got their retraction bars and so on. The wheelbays got details as well. Inside the wheelbays, some hydraulics were suggested from scratch card and rod. The wheelbays, inner doors and missile bay were painted interior green with some black wash for depth. Wheel tyres were painted typre black with aluminium wheelhubs. The kit wheels are OK and have a spoke hub pattern. 

Colour scheme
The overall outside airframe colour is USAF Air Defense Grey Fed.Std FS36473. I still had an old bottle of enamel of Compucolor no. M145 for the grey. This was applied with the airbrush and the coat quickly covered but took 48 hrs to dry.

The black nose was also masked with low tack Tamiya tape and sprayed mat black. The wheel bays and the open missile bay and inside of the bay doors were painted with a paint brush interior green using White Ensign Models WEM ACUS09 enamel for Fed.Std 24151.

The smaller plastic bits were not yet fitted on the model as I suggest first to do basic decalling for easier handling. 
Before doing that, the model got a couple of coats of Johnson Future / Clear / Pledge with the airbrush to avoid decal silvering later as much as possible. 

As I wanted a 32 FIS Soesterberg USAF plane, I was lucky to still get from my friend Bas special decals from an unknown firm. Probably from Microscale. (Note that Dutch Decal also issued decals for this scheme in the past). I noted after studying pictures that the US AIR FORCE titles varied somewhat in style and colour on various planes of the period. Some are very dark blue, others black. For this Deuce I used the US AIR FORCE decals from set no. 21A from an old AeroDecal set from Germany. 

Studying photos, I also found that the scheme varied a bit during the 32 FIS Deuce's operational service with the squadron. Typically, the Deuces had the red-white-blue tail (representing the Dutch flag) but also sometimes a green horizontal fin band was seen with red-with-blue striping on the airbrakes and fuselage. The serial on the tail is in a grey panel, unfortunately the decal has a white panel. Not a lot can be done about this. The stars-and-bars were obtained from the spares box for a good correct darker blue hue. The stencilling also saw variations, on the model and mix from the kit decals and Microscale decals were used with their fluids Micro Sol and Set being used.

Various smaller stencilling like "no steps" on the wing leading edge and trailing edge surfaces were added using MicroScale decals. 
The walkway panels on top of the intake were cut to size from mat black decal from the spare box (not yet seen in the picture). 

Typically, these aircraft carried only missiles like the Falcon. In the kit only very basic Falcons are included. These are quite rough. It was decided to get some missiles from Hasegawa F-106 kits, but still these need refinement. The Falcon leading fins were reduced in length to suggest an early AIM-4C Falcon as often used on the first Deuces. 
Slots were cut with a razor saw to get a slot between the forward missile fins and the rear fins. Small bars were added from sprue. Missiles were painted red with white front sections. 

(You can also used missiles from the Hasegawa 1/72 weapons set no. III , issued in the nineteen nineties).

Completing the model
- on most of the 32 FIS Deuces the IR seeker is not seen in front of the windshield and also no antennas nor anti collision light on the fuselage upper spine. Also no later data link antennas on the lower tail area were seen. (This kind of equipment was only fitted on USAF F-102's later on).

- on the intake not the typical red-warning pattern is set, but a simple grey pattern with metallic panels hand painted. On the wing fence, an orange section was painted with a tiny paint brush. 

- the split plate to prevent pilot being blinded by reflections below the windshield kit part was replaced with thin card. A radar scope was added from rod and painted black. 

- some weathering was done using a dry brush technique using 502 Abteilung oils, "engine grease". Particularly over the raised rivets this gives a good effect and adds life to the overall finish and look of the model. 

- the air intakes got a metallic leading edge using some bit of Bare Metal Foil chrome decal, this was also set on the fin leading edge. 

.        .
- the canopy windshield was already separated through cutting by a razor saw. The frames were painted grey with black internal details and set to dry. I did not bother with the yellow/brownish edges. 

- the rear canopy got the lower section of the cutt-out frame of the fuselage. A pair of stubs were added to the canopy rear for the opening mechanism. The canopy was set open in the already prepared slot and the windshield set in place on the nose. Some white glue was used to close a gap here. 

- next the model got the gears, wheels and doors. 

- the tail airflow horizontal plates were painted red to match the red decal. 

- wing tips lights were drilled out, got a drop of Micro Kristal Kleer  and painted transparant red and blue.

- nose pitot was added using a metal needle and the tail arrestor hook added from the kit painted grey. 

Finally the whole model got a sealing matt varnish coat using Johnson Future / Clear / Pledge with 15% Tamiya Flat Base X-21 acrylic mixed in to get a semi-matt result. 

That completes the 1/72 model of this 32 FIS Deuce.

    Note also the details on the wheel bay doors and the Falcon missiles

... and in a scenery...

The model sits nicely to the other "Century" series of 1/72 models...
Regarding the 32 FIS, also it is a nice companion to my 32 TFS F-4E Phantom and F-15C Eagle

Next is a Convair TF-102 Deuce trainer in 1/72 scale. Look here for the Modelling Report



YouTube video F-102 and F-106

IPMS NL F-102 Walk Arounds

- F-102, In action series, Squadron Signal publications ;
- F-102 Delta Dagger, in Detail & Scale no. 35, Bert Kinzey ;
- 32 TFS, het enige Koninklijke Amerikaanse squadron, Hans Loeber en Gerard Sprenger, (Dutch text), publisher Bataafsche Leeuw, 1984 ;
- The Century Series: The USAF Quest for Air Supremacy, 1950-1960 , Schiffer .


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Created this page October 5, 2011