by: Andy Brazier [ ]
HistoryThe development of the F-104 Starfighter was launched by the Lockheed company at the very beginning of the 50s, inspired by Korean War experience. The prototype of the new aircraft made its maiden flight on February 17, 1956. The USAF
accepted the F-104 in 1958 and flew it till 1969. Starfighters fought in the Vietnam War as well. USAF service was followed up by service within National Guard units, NATO countries flew Starfighters of various versions. The F-104A was in USAF service from 1958 through to 1960, and then flown by ANG until 1963 when they were recalled by the USAF Air Defense Command for the 319th and 331st Fighter Interceptor Squadrons. Some were purchased by Jordanian, Pakistani, and Taiwanese armed forces.
The next single-seater version was the F-104C fighter-bomber, operated by the USAF Tactical Air Command. Only 77 examples were built.
1,122 examples of the F-104G, an improved version of the C model, were produced as multi-role fighter-bombers.
Manufactured by Lockheed, and under license by Canadair and the Consortium that consists of European companies; Messerschmitt/MBB, Dornier, Fiat, Fokker and SABCA. This version typically had a strengthened fuselage, wing structure, and strengthened landing gear with larger tires, increased internal fuel capacity, an enlarged vertical fin, revised flaps for
improved combat manoeuvring and upgraded avionics.
The TF-104G was a combat-capable trainer version with no cannon and centerline pylon. Internal fuel capacity was also reduced. A total of 220 aircraft of this type were built.
The F-104S interceptor was mainly produced by FIAT and Aeritalia. It had upgraded avionics, radar, two additional wing and two underbelly hardpoints, upgraded J79-GE-19 engine with afterburner, and two additional ventral fins for increased stability
during high-speed flight. F-104Gs flew many hours in the service of not only the five NATO countries depicted in this kit, but also in the service of other NATO countries such as Denmark, Greece, U.S.A. and later, Spain.
In the box Packed in Eduard's standard top opening box the kit has 7 light grey sprues, one clear sprue, a set of poly caps, one set of pre-coloured photo etch, a set of masks, 2 sets of resin seats, resin sensors, 2 decal sheets and the instruction booklet.
As already stated the kit is based around the Hasegawa F-104G, and is probably the best Starfighter kit around in 1/48th. The quality of the mouldings is good with no flash and although there are quite a few ejection pin marks they are very light and seem to be in places that wont be seen or require much attention.
Exterior detail is superb with the recessed rivet detail on the fuselage, wings and tail well reproduced. Panel lines are as good and like the rivets are not too deep.
Interior detail for the cockpit is pretty much taken care of with the Eduard photo etch sheet which includes new rudder pedals, side consoles, ejector seat mount and a multi part instrument panel. The P.E is all pre-painted and is up to the usual Eduard standard. If you desire you can use decals for the instrument and side consoles instead of the P.E parts. A small acetate sheet for the HUD is supplied.
The ejection seat, of which there are two types, are beautifully cast, and have separate resin seat cushions. Photo etch harness's and a few P.E parts need to be added to the resin seats. Both seats are attached by the base to a large pour plug, so a razor saw will be required to remove the access resin.
The undercarriage bays are well detailed with hydraulic lines moulded into the parts. Both the nose and main gear bays are inserts, with the nose bay moulded as part of the underside forward fuselage, which is quite a novel approach. The main bay, being tucked away in the fuselage is made up of four parts and slots into the center of the two fuselage halves. The undercarriage legs are pretty well detailed but do look very fragile. The nose wheel is one part so a mask will be needed to paint the tyre and hubs. The main wheels have the hubs as separate parts, so no masks are needed. Detail for both sets of hubs is very good with some great detail moulded into them.
Two exhaust nozzles are supplied, one being longer then the other for different marking options, are exquisitely detailed for plastic moulded parts and once painted should really stand out. The exhaust tube has the after burner ring and rear turbine as nicely detailed parts. The air intakes for the other end are blanked off, but as the intakes are pretty slim much wouldn't be seen even if there was a turbine fan.
The very small wings are made up of two parts each, and have locating tabs on them so insure the correct alignment. Wing tip fuel tanks are made up of 5 grey plastic parts with four clear parts for each tank. Both tanks slot into the wing tips via a slit in the sides of the tanks.
The one downside of this kit is the lack of external stores. A centerline pylon is supplied but nothing is supplied to put on it. There are several holes in the lower wings (that need drilling out) for underwing store pylons, but there are none in the kit, or any ordnance.
The clear parts are blemish free, and thin. The canopy is made up of three parts and can be modelled open. Eduard supply some photo etch mirrors for in side the main canopy.
The rest of the clear parts are for the various navigation lights.
Instructions and markings The instructions are a 16 page colour A4 size book.
The build sequence covers 7 pages, and starts with a parts call out with the unused parts shaded in blue. The build itself is simple to follow with the resin parts highlighted with the Brassin type set in the corner of each sequence, the same with the P.E parts. Any changes to the kits parts are highlighted. Interior colours for the Gunze Mr Color and Aqueous paints range are given for each part that needs painting. The last page of the build has the mask application guide. Only the outer edges of the main canopy is supplied as a mask so masking fluid will be required to fill in the middle.
The next 5 pages cover the marking options that are supplied with this boxing.
A c/n 683C-4025, 331st Squadron, Royal Norwegian Air Force, BodÝ Air Base, late 60s / early 70s
B c/n 683D-7037, 192nd Filo, Turkish Air Force, Balikesir Air Base / Fairford, 1991
C c/n 683-8331, Flown by Capt. Hans van der Werf, 312th Squadron RNLAF, Twente Enschede Airport, September 15, 1979
D c/n 683A-1199, Royal Canadian Air Force, Twente Air Base, the Netherlands, May, 1976
E c/n 683-9079, 350th Squadron, 1st Wing, Belgian Air Force
The last two pages of the instruction booklet is the placement of the stencils. There are hundreds, but once applied should look really good.
As usual Eduard have out sourced the decals to Cartograph. The two decal sheets are as usual from this Italian company top notch, with pretty much all the text on even the smallest stencils legible. Colour registration for the unit, and national markings are good.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.