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

The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, know as a "flying missile with a man in it", was "the" fighter aircraft of NATO in the sixties and seventies. In 1/32 scale, Revell issued the kit in several versions, and Hasegawa issued it as the F-104J and some others "versions" such as the F-104G and F-104"C".

The Hasegawa kit appeared in many boxes and re-issues, some seen here:

Obviously, also the Revell kit appeared in many boxes...
(note they also issued a F-104C)

Both kits are quite good as a basis for a nice model. They are accurate in outline and dimension and capture the Starfighter very well.

   the Hasegawa parts

Also, some Dutch Decals were purchased...

Italeri released an excellent 1/32 kit of the F-104 Starfighter. I got a kit and these are the first impressions:

I am pretty impressed with what Italeri came up with. No matter what, this kit is a big improvement on the older kits. Also, Italeri offers different versions with many alternative parts. They really give you various options.The panel lines in some areas are a bit deep, but I expend that to be OK under some camouflage paint. Otherwise add a couple of base coats and sand. Also some raised details are nicely done.

 Two types of seats and moulded cockpit parts are good and cockpit will benefit with a bit added details. ( yep, the etched metal parts are not really an improvement over the plastic parts).

Now how does it compare with the old Hasegawa F-104J kit in 1/32 scale? 
Compared quickly following findings appeared:
General shape of both kits are quite in agreement: Fuselage depth, tail shape and overall look are in agreement. The bigger lengths are in agreement within some millimeters. Wing shape and size are quite alike, with the Italeri kit having separate parts.

Regarding the main canopy there is a difference:  at the rear of the canopy, the Hasegawa one is about 3 mm wider (about 15%). This is noticable. The Italeri canopy tapers a bit more towards the windshield and rear aft window and the cross section has a more oval shape. Also, the cockpit side has some more width with more detail on the Italeri kit. The shape of the Italeri kit seems better but need to investigate further.

The Dutch scheme and decals (version "F") were looked at: the Koninklijke Luchtmacht KLu roundels colouring looks fine and have correct dimensions. The lettering and numbering style is also correct as is the size of these. Squadron markings look OK too. Only the overall grey F-104G Klu colour is "RAL 7001" (paints like Humbrol Hu 128, Xtracolour X255 and Revell 7001 enamels look OK). Dutch Starfighters sometimes had black or medium green anti-glare panels. (lower nosecone colour is often FS 36622).

Also a nice touch is that Italeri provides various styles of "NO STEP" markings : the NO STEP texts were used until roughly 1974 on KLu Starfighters, later on Yellow foots with red crosses or White foots with red crosses were used as no step. Also Emergency markings are nicely done with different styles during their operational KLu career. 
So, Italeri did their homework.

Hope these suggestions are helpfull and surely I will do a Modelling Report in the Future on these designer webpages.

UPDATE II:  May 2018 this kit was also released as RF-104G with an additional sprue, kit #2514. And August 2018 a TF-104G two seater was released kit #2509 ! 

UPDATE III:  In 2018 the Italian company Videoaviation.com has released a 1/32 Orpheus reconnaissance pod. Look here.... 

Continuing on this page, you will see the construction through an "in progress report" of 2 brands:
- Hasegawa F-104G, based on the "C" kit  but with adaptions.
- Revell Kit of the F-104S, converted to a TF-104G two seater trainer.
From IPMS The Netherlands magazine MIP 4-1977, I got a good drawing of the typical Dutch AF aircraft that I wanted to build. 

Well, let's start to get some references and drawings, especially on the two seater TF-104G conversion.

Both aircraft are to be finished as Dutch AF aircraft, with the typical camouflage and grey schemes that were typical at the seventies period. Decals would also come from the good Dutch Decals set 32006 in 1/32 scale. 


For the two seater dual, I selected the Revell F-104G as the basis for this model in 1/32. 
The different tail sections between the F-104C and the F-104G (later variants)

The usage of references is obviously essential, but do not be afraid to do such a conversion. Begin, do it and finish it!

As the F-104C kit was used with the smaller tailrudder, I had to extend the chord. You can also use the Hasegawa F-104G/J, which has the correct rudder with the tail . Some cart was used and putty to get te correct shape. 

Add a piece of cart at the pipe to cover the gap. I also cut out the lower braking chute housing panel in order to add some detail to the model later on....


The Hasegawa kit in 1/32, kit no  S17 (2300) of the F-104C is actually a re-lease of the original F-104G kit. Only the tailfin was changed with the smaller rudder. But the kit still has the F-104G seat, wheels and details. So for a RF-104G, the kit can be used.

The Dutch RF-104G to be built will need the following adaptions:
- removed canon with "blanked" nozzle.
- fairing with camera at the nose undercarriage bay was the initial solution. Later on, a special Orpheus reccon pod was fitted which version will be made on the Rf-104G model here, so...
- new reccon pod (Orpheus), to be made scratch
- smaller detail changes (instruments)
- bulged main gear doors

The Hasegawa kit is a good kit to start with and is accurate in outline.

I also selected to open the avionics bay aft of the cockpit, which will add extra interest to the model. 

fairing at nose bay of Rneth AF RF-104G
this was the initial solution; click here for picture

The Dutch RF has a NACA intake aft of the avionics bay on the upper left fuselage. I cut out this intake, to be filled in later with some white glue.
Revell model

Work on the Hasegawa kit
The various intakes are on the Hasegawa model, but not really emphasized. Along  an intake, two cuts were made with an elerctric saw and one cut at the end on the intake. Carefully bend inwards , glue and use putty to cover the cuts and sand. This technique can be used to almost all smaller intakes on any model in 1/32 scale. 

And here, after putty and sanding, the result... 

The intake shockcones have bleed air slots, which were cut-out. The part on the left shows the Hasegawa part, on the right with the added slot.

The Revell kit parts (not shown) require also some filling as the  slot is too far forward and make a new slot more aft.

And now, after filling some minor gaps, the intakes are on the two models...

Work on the cockpits and details...

As the Revell kit main u.c. legs are a big basic, I cut of the "wire lumbs" and added the tubing and rods with strip and stretched sprue.  The main undercarriage bay it self was also detailed as far as it can be seen later on. The main undercarriage doors are almost closed with a/c on the ground, so detailing the bay can be restricted to what can be seen.

And this is the result...

The seat is the Lockheed C2 type. Shown is the  Revell seat, still be detailed and another to be made for the rear cockpit...

The Hasegawa kit to be made as the RF was fitted with an avionics bay aft of the cockpit. The hatch was cut out and the boxes made with thin card using the Verlinden Lock-on book as reference. 

The hatch will also need further detailling.

An overview with HUD cover and hatch

The seat can be used as basis, adding details. As can be seen here, a lot of extra work still needs to done. 

The Hasegawa kit also a basic radar, that can be further detailed. Also the inside of the radar cone was detailed. 


To next [ page 2... ]
- F-104 Starfighter detail & Scale 38, Kinzey
- F-104 "in action" , Squadron signal publications, USA
- Verlinden Lock on on the F-104G
- IPMS The Netherlands magazines: MIP 4-1977 and MIP 1-1978

- IPMS Nederland NedMil F-104 info pages...

Back to 1/32 Models.......

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Created this page April, 2001