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1/48 Hasegawa F-104G Starfighter  

by Piero De Santis

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The Lockheed F-104 “Starfighter” is one the most famous jets and served in many air forces around the world.  It played many roles during its service life which started in the 1950-60s, with high-altitude fighter to the recce to the ground attack role to the tactical nuclear bomber.  With not a luckily career in the USAF, it became the NATO’s air force backbone during the Cold War.  Military aviation as the “Aeronautica Militare Italiana” used this aircraft for mainly the interceptor role until a few years ago.  Talking about the Luftwaffe use, the F-104 was the first muti-role warplane.  Main role for five squadrons was the nuclear strike, acting in conventional ground attack as secondary role.  Two squadron used the F-104G for air defense.  The other two squadrons were tasked for reconnaissance.  The two-seater variant was used for training duty.  The F-104G served also in the West Germany Marine Aviation in anti-ship role with the Kormoran missile. 

For my model I chose the Luftwaffe F-104G “26+30” from the JBG-34 fighter-bomber unit.  The F-104G served in the JBG-34 from the 1964 to the 1987.  The aircraft was painted in the “Lizard” camouflage used during the last period of service.  

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Until some years ago, there were a couple “decent” F-104s kits in 1/48th scale, form ESCI, Monogram, Testor.  Hasegawa has recently produced some F104 models in 1/48th scale: F-104J, F-104C, F-104G and F-104S. It’s a news for 2006 the replica in 1/48th scale of two-seater version.  The kit is at the top of Hasegawa production with recessed panel lines, fine details and also the fitting is really good.  The only “strange” feature of the kit is the rivets all around the rear fuselage section and on wing and tail surfaces.  Maybe the rivets are a little bit over scaled, but if you don’t like them are easy to fix as I did for the wings.  If you want to add extra details on the F-104s the aftermarket offer a good range of sets: ejection seats and resin cockpits, wheel bays, avionic bays, parachute vane, exhaust nozzle, conversions for specific variants… and so on.  Decal sheets in the Hasegawa kits are usually not as good as the plastic parts… white is never white, film is too thick… better to go with some extra sheets as from Aeromaster, Victory Models, Tauro Models, Cutting Edge.  

As I said before the Hasegawa 1/48th scale F-104G is really easy to put together.  There are a couple of areas where attention is needed, as the nose cone is split in two separate parts, the front undercarriage wheel bay required some dry fitting to  aligning well with the fuselage and the cockpit.  

To improve my F-10G I got some extra parts from the aftermarket:

  • Cutting Edge resin cockpit and Martin Baker Mk. Q7 ejection seat.

  • Aries resin J-79 exhaust nozzle.

  • Cutting Edge resin parachute vane.

Now some information related to the assembly of the Hasegawa kit. Cockpit resin set is almost ready from the box to be fitted in the plastic fuselage parts. No sanded is needed… Great!  I applied some liquid filler into the rivets all over the wings. After a couple of passes with fine sand paper they almost disappeared.  Ten grams of weight must be placed into the nose to avoid a tail sitting model.  Wings can be left separate from the fuselage for painting and decaling phases. The joint with the fuselage is perfect!

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I painted my model using my Aztek double-action airbrush.  References I used for the correct camouflage pattern can be found on the Victory Models decal instruction sheet and on Wings of Fame issue number 2.

The colours for the Lizard camouflage are:

  • Charcoal Grey (RAL7021)

  • Dark Green (FS34079)

  • Medium Green (RAL6003)

Nose cone is gloss white with a black antiglare panel.  I painted the two tip wing tanks in the previous camouflage pattern used on the German F-104, consisting of Dark Green over Natural Aluminium with a Day-Glo Orange band.  Undercarriage wheels, bays and legs are finished in Natural Aluminium.  I use acrylic paints from Gunze.  Pre-shading and post-shading as usual for my models.  

I got the decal sheets for “German F-104G by “Victory Models” printed by Cartograph. That decal sheet is very good, thin and correct with a lot of subject and a mass of different stencils.

A wash of a well thinned mixture of black and red-tan Humbrol enamels was added all over the panel lines and rivets. 

CIAO!

Piero

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Photos and text © by Piero De Santis

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