1/48 Monogram F-102

by Fred Krause

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Monogram first released their 1/48th scale F-102 as kit #5827 in their ongoing coverage of the Century Series of aircraft back in 1990. This release had the later style Case XX (20) wing. Only F-102’s serial number 56-1317 and higher had the Case XX wing, these being about the last third of Deuces built. Some TF-102s are included in this group. Monogram has thankfully also re-issued this kit in their Promodeler series with the earlier style Case X (ten) wing. It is basically the same kit, with the correct wing, and an added boarding ladder, and ground crewman. Both are out of production now, but can still be readily found at model swap meets, shows, and on line auction sites. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them re-issued at some point either.

Both kits feature nicely raised, and accurate panel lines, along with Monograms usual attention to detail. The modeler is given the option of having the canopy, and weapons bay open or closed. The weapons bay is a real piece of work, and Monogram did a great job representing this complicated area of the a/c. This took me nearly as long to build, and paint as the rest of the model!

Fortunately, Monogram corrected most of the badly engineered area’s that plague their F-106 kit, which makes the Deuce kit go together much better than the very similar Six. I built this kit straight out of the box. I had an extra kit of the Case XX wing Deuce, and when I saw a picture of this a/c in Kinzeys F-102 in Detail & Scale book, I thought that it would make an interesting subject. I had wanted to model a Deuce with the weapons bay open, and a full load of Falcons, and since this Deuce was deployed to Vietnam, this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

The kit builds up nicely, with only a few fit problems. One area that requires attention is where the wing section meets the fuselage section at about the middle of the arresting hook. On every one of these kits I’ve done, the wing wants to tilt off to the left side of the a/c here. Some careful gluing will remedy this, but a nasty seam will result. Another area with problems is the intakes. After attaching them, the result is a moderate seam, to a large gap. I usually plug these gaps with sheet styrene, and gap filling super glue. If you choose to use this method, make sure that the styrene plugs don’t protrude into the inside of the intakes. Some sanding will smooth things out nicely here. Where the fuselage halves meet on the right side of the tail will require some puttying, and sanding as well. A few other times when building this kit, the fit isn’t all that great between the fuselage, and wing sections, but it was a problem this time around. Careful gluing with clamps in place will usually solve this problem. I did have a problem this time with the forward left side of the weapons bay. I had to do a little filing there, and did too much. A slight dip in the edge of the fuselage was the result, and now the upper weapons bay door has a slight gap beneath it. Otherwise, the kit goes together fairly well.

I left off the landing gear, weapons bay parts, speed brake, wing tanks, and canopy. I then masked off the cockpit area, engine section, and stuffed cotton balls in the intakes, and prepared to paint. I followed the pattern in the book "Century Series" from Squadron/Signal. I used Model Master enamels FS numbers 30219 dark tan, 34079 dark green, and 34102 medium green for the upper camo. The correct gray for the bottom is listed as 36622, but I couldn’t find any matching this number, so I went with FS36492 light gray. I did this mainly because I had this color, and its only slightly lighter than 36622. The nose cone was then painted black. Next came the zinc green for the weapons bay, its interior parts, the speed brake interiors, gear door interiors, and landing gear wells. The landing gear was airbrushed Testors Metalizer Aluminum. A coat of Testors semi-gloss followed once the paint was dry.

For the most part, decaling was a breeze, as this a/c has minimal markings. The one problem I encountered was self inflicted. I had to piece together these markings from a number of different sheets. Some of the stenciling, and "NV" tailcodes came from the decal sheet I got with C&H’s resin TF-102 conversion. I planned on using the national insignia from this sheet as well, but only one of the four were in register. The remaining national insignia’s came from Superscale sheet 48-288 US National Insignias. Some of the stenciling needed came from Superscale sheet 48-291 F-102 data. I had to apply each numeral of the serial number separately and used white numbers from Repli-Scale sheet 48-5043 White 24" tail codes, and numbers.

This is where I shot myself in the foot. I applied the AF 070-882 code to the left side of the tail, before realizing that I had offset the entire code too far towards the rear. No matter how I looked at it, it just looked very wrong. No problem, right? Just sand off the decals, repaint, re-gloss, and try it again. This I did. Problem….. only four "8’s" on the decal sheet, and I’ve already destroyed two of them, and still need the other two. I ended up having to use the "882" from Repli-Scale sheet 48-5044 White 18" tail codes, and numbers. These numbers are about 5% smaller than the 24" numbers, but since I applied the 24"s on one side, and the 18"s on the other side of the tail, you really have to look to see a difference. The black AF 070 part of the serial came from Detail & Scale sheet DS-0948. Once the decals were dry, I wiped them off with a damp cloth to remove any extra Solva-Set residue. A coat of Testors flat coat followed.

The landing gear, and speed brake went on fine with a little super glue. I then started on the weapons bay. This turned out to be a model in itself, not because of bad fit, but because of a lot of painting. The AIM-4 Falcons took a bit of time to paint, and decal, but came out well. I used Reheat placards decals to represent information placards on the inside of the bay. The small US AIR FORCE titles for the Falcons came from the Promodeler F-102 kits decal sheet. White, black, and yellow Superscale stripes were used to detail the Falcons. These were gloss coated after drying. Assembly of the weapons bay is pretty straight forward, but be sure to pay attention to, and understand the instructions. I found them to be a bit vague in this area. Fit is pretty good in the bay, with only a few parts requiring trimming for a proper fit. The weapons bay doors, and canopy were attached next.

Since I do not have anywhere to display my models at the moment, I left off the pitot tube, so it wouldn’t get broken off. I also "flattened" the tires with a file before painting them.

The canopy section, canopy, and windscreen had been masked, and painted tan when the rest of the a/c was. I then painted the trim of the canopy with FS 20400 tan. I dry brushed this trim with black to show some rivet detail, and weather it. The heating stripes on the windscreen were done by applying Superscale 1/64th yellow stripes.

I painted the position lights with Tamiya clear smoke, clear blue and red colors. I gave the entire a/c a light weathering with black water color paint. I had also used this method on the landing gear, speed brakes, and weapons bay area’s, prior to their attachment to the model. I also "chipped" up the leading edge’s of the wings, tail, and intakes by dry brushing a little silver.

So there you have it, a ‘Nam Deuce! Overall this is a very good kit, with only minor assembly problems, and I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to build this most interesting aircraft.    

Useful references:

F-102 in Detail & Scale Volume 35 by Bert Kinzey

Century Series in Color by Lou Drendal

Review, model, and photo’s by Fred Krause

Fred

Photos and text by Fred Krause