1/48 Trumpeter F-106A Delta Dart

Gallery Article by Carl Jarosz on May 26 2017



This my latest build, a nicely molded Trumpeter kit of the F-106A, in 1/48 scale. I had always had a fascination with delta-winged aircraft. Once I saw Trumpeter's release, I knew I had to build it next on my list. Yes, I could have settled for the staid and true Monogram kit, but I saved several years of my life from having to sand off raised panel lines and re-scribe them (never being exactly in the same location in the process).

The assembly was by-the-instruction-booklet, as this was the first time I fiddled with this kit: if I build a second Trumpeter F-106A, I'll know what I can do to expedite the finished model. After examining the kit's cockpit seat, I knew I'd have to use a resin after market one instead, so I purchased it online. The kit's seat is adequate, with included photo-etched detail parts, but why fiddle with those little pieces when one more detailed is available for a few quarters more?

The rest of the cockpit parts were used from the box, with modification. I used the decal sheet's instrument panel and side consoles, as I felt the decals were as good as I could paint those many tiny raised molded nubs. I saved hours in the process. All I had to do was sand off the raised plastic from the parts involved.

The rest of the assembly was overall uneventful. Part fit was very good, with little to no putty needed. Then I decided to make life hard on myself by adding the internal ordnance supplied with the kit, of four AIM Falcon and one Genie missiles. Doing so revealed the kit's weak point: the internal weapon bay.

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I intended to display the weaponry in their extended, launch positions. It didn't work out that way, however, as 1) I didn't have a third hand with fingers, and 2) I certainly did not have the patience of Job!

The weapons bay has a nice two-piece folded outer door on each side. It also has three hydraulic braces/support arms on each side, too, roughly equally spaced along the length of the bay (six total). The outer half of the folded door needs to be resting against one brace arm at each location: the arms in contact with the door are wafer-thin in diameter, plus the support arm locations are poorly shown in the instruction diagram. To complicate matters, the inner outside door needs to be simultaneously assembled along the edge of the outer half of the door - and rested against a second tiny diameter brace arm. 

I broke two of the tiny diameter brace arms, having to glue the ends together, with a magnifying glass. I also had to find out the exact location for the support arms in the bay from the spots on the outer door: since the parts had to match up, I glued the arms in the bay where it would directly contact the detail on the door. Then I had to use absolute minimal pressure when adding the inner half of the bay door to its outer buddy, or else I'd have to re-glue broken brace arms.

The frustrations weren't over, however! I still had to add the Falcon missiles in extended position - NOT! Support/raiser arm parts are needed to hold the extended missiles in their proper height, but this has to be done with moveable guide arms that are attached to a missile holder. The rear pair of Falcon missiles have three (3) parts for each missile that need to simultaneously be oriented in relation to each other within the bay confines, for a total of six (6) fiddley parts to set in place; the front pair of missies have only three (3) such raiser and support arms, a real bargain.

My guardian angel knew I was about to lose my religion from my hurled verbal invectives using the Almighty's name, so he instructed me to just leave the missiles displayed . . . in retracted, i.e. stored, location within the weapons bay.

I agonized a short time before painting, with the degree of weathering to employ. It seems like every photo I examined of F-106As, and the 460th FIS in particular (see below), showed an almost immaculate looking aircraft. I could understand that, what with the ground crew time available and not being subject to salty sea air, a la Navy aircraft, but still some dirt and oil streaking had to occur, unless it was wiped off very soon after landing. So I used a light blackwash to hit the recessed panel lines and rivet holes. Airbrushing almost filled in the weathering; I selectively used a mechanical pencil to hit some areas afterward.

Painting was mercifully a simple endeavor: The entire airplane, with the exception of the nose area, was painted a uniform Aircraft Gray (FS16473). I often wondered why such craft weren't left in bare aluminum finish, then one of my references answered the question. Convair F-102 Delta Dagger, by Wayne Mutza, wrote that the neutral gray paint protected the exterior surfaces from the Falcon missile rocket blast: residue from the rocket motor, when it got wet, triggered an electrolytic corrosive action that broke down the metal alloys in contact. As the F-106 replaced the F-102, and the same Falcon missile was employed, the paint scheme necessarily followed suit.

I used Testor Model Master enamel paints, with the exceptions being the running lights and instrument radar screen: these had clear red and/or green acrylic paint used.

The decals were a joy to apply. I had a twenty-plus year old sheet of Detail & Scale decals, depicting the 460th FIS ("Cave Tigers") from the early 1970s. That, plus generous references showing the same aircraft from that outfit in the time period, allowed me to create a rare looking Delta Dart. The usual Micro Set and Micro Sol were used to ensure optimal adhesion; the decals responded perfectly. I doubt if one can easily find that same sheet with the 460th FIS these days. If one is driven to build multiple 1/48 scale F106As, there are quite a few decal sheets with different colorful FIS units available. 

It's hard to beat the Trumpeter kit, but I strongly recommend omitting the included missile weaponry, unless you're a closet masochist. I'll build my next F-106A with the single piece CLOSED weapon bay door!

Carl Jarosz

Photos and text by Carl Jarosz