1/72 Meng F-102A Delta Dagger

Gallery Article by Carl Jarosz on Oct 2 2018

 

      

N. Dakota 178th FIS "Happy Hooligans"

I satisfied a long held desire to complete a Convair Delta Dagger. I guess the delta wing was so futuristic at the time I first beheld a photo of the aircraft. While a number of American model makers have had F-102 kits on the market for literally decades, with Revell being one of the first (over a half century ago), it took a recent Chinese firm, Meng, to produce a great looking, accurate model kit of the F-102A. Finally, it was a good thing I waited so long, as finally I found a decal sheet with the “Happy Hooligans” marking for this aircraft. It’s a name with cache all its own.

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I didn’t have to employ any new or novel construction techniques: the parts seemed to fit themselves together, with but small amounts of flash to remove. One nice touch of the Meng design is the landing flap on each side of the fuselage being molded in a downward deployed position, a la landing mode. The speed brake in back of the vertical fin and rudder is also able to be assembled in the open or deployed position. The cockpit was tolerable, with a decal to accent the instrument panel dials location. Alas, the cockpit seat was not detailed enough to suit my taste, so I purchased a pack of Wolfpack F-102A ejection seats (two per pack). There’s no contest with these after market seats being superior to what Meng supplied.

I opted to have the missile bay, with Falcon missiles and the menagerie of parts depicting the rail system for missile storage and extension, closed. I felt the aircraft looks so much more sleek with closed weapons bay. Besides, I remember my nightmare with the same Falcon missile rail assembly in a not long ago completed F-106.

I used my trusty Model Master enamel paints, after applying Ammo/Mig black enamel wash into the recesses. I’m very satisfied with the contrast this wash provides after painting, although I recommend clean up of heavily applied areas before painting the final color, as this wash tends to stay noticeable. Two or even three coats of final color paint in some of these areas will not be out of the ordinary.

The decals were a pleasure to apply: not too thick to where layers of setting solution would be needed for proper laydown, and not too thin to where the decal brittles apart while attempting to slide the thing off the backing.

I entered this model in two modeling contests so far and placed in the top three in my category both times.

Finally, if one is interested in the many appealing and eye-catching unit markings the F-102 wore in its service history, I can recommend no better reference book than Wayne Mutza’s “Convair F-102 Delta Dagger,” published by Schiffer Publishing (1999).

Carl Jarosz

Photos and text © by Carl Jarosz