F-104G Starfighter, Special Colors

Published: January 8th, 2019     
Product Image
Reviewed by: 
Robert Head, IPMS# 48922
Scale: 1/48
Company: Italeri
Price: $42.00
Product / Stock #: 2777

Short History

The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, supersonic interceptor aircraft which later became widely used as an attack aircraft. It was originally developed by Lockheed for the United States Air Force (USAF), but was later produced by several other nations, seeing widespread service outside the United States. One of the Century Series of fighter aircraft, it was operated by the air forces of more than a dozen nations from 1958 to 2004. Its design team was led by Kelly Johnson, who contributed to the development of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Lockheed U-2, Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, and other Lockheed aircraft.

The F-104 set numerous world records, including both airspeed and altitude records. Its success was marred by the Lockheed bribery scandals, in which Lockheed had given bribes to a considerable number of political and military figures in various nations to influence their judgment and secure several purchase contracts; this caused considerable political controversy in Europe and Japan.

Of the 2,600 F-104's built the G model was the most produced variant with a total 1,122. The last of the worlds starfighters where retired out of active squadron service in late 2004 to early 2005

 

What's in the box?

The kit has 11 total sprues with 9 sprues molded in light grey plastic with light but crisp engraved panel lines and rivet detail where it is needed, and 1 clear sprue tree. And 1 small 4-piece poly-cap sprue. As this is a limited-edition kit from Italeri it has 2 very bright and lively Paint/Marking Options

The marking options are as followed:

 

  1. 28 Gruppo, 3rd Stormo, Villafranca
  2. 20 Gruppo, 4th Stormo, Gift to Ferrari

 

The Build

I have never had the luxury of building a F-104 in any form until this moment. The moment I saw it I knew I had to have it even though I saw Italeri and had my reservations......boy was I wrong. I didn't know that it was a Hasegawa mold and rebox which I knew from other builders is the Holy grail of F-104 kits and 10/10 times are amazing OOB so that actually surprised and excited me!

The instructions where very straightforward and broke things down in a very typical aircraft manner we are all accustomed too and had color callouts using either F.S. or Italeri's own acrylic brand but feel free to use whatever brand you prefer to get the results you want. I Started with the Cock pit and put maybe 3 hours tops into cleaning it up, building it and painting. I used the decal instrument panels and radar. Micro Sol and Set was used to soften them up and get them to settle into all the nook and crannies of the molded instrument panels and I had to trim a little off the edges with a razor blade once everything was in place and dried. I sealed the decals with a coat of Testors gloss coat and called it a day.

Afterwards was the Avionics bay and wheel wells, my plan was to use an Acrylic stand I had so no wheel wells would be open by the time I completed the build so I wasn't to invested into painting the insides seeing as they would not be visible anyway. Now to those who have never built the Hasagawa kits please be advised TEST FIT and when I say that its in regards to fusing the fuselage halves together the kit is pretty amazing already but as I built the sub assembly's and went to connect the dots I realized I needed to shim and trim, and realign pieces to not only fuse the halves together but avoid major gaps I did not want to fill.

So, all in all I put about 8-10 hours total in Sanding, Filing, trimming and rebuilding parts to get things just perfect but still ended up using a little filler putty on the spine and belly of the fuselage. For filling I Used deluxe plastic putty, some rubbing alcohol and cue tips to smooth and spread the putty, this stuff is amazing and honestly after using the method I described I only used a small piece of grey automotive scuff pad with tweezers to clean up the filling.

After getting the fuselage halves fused and cleaned up, I commenced to assemble the wing tip tanks, wings and top portion of the tail fin assembly. I messed this whole portion up myself by just not thinking about what I was doing and a couple of jack and cokes didn't help my judgement either. I should have left those pieces of so when I built the airplane, I could paint the complex scheme a little easier...instead I created more work for myself.

There was no ordinance to this kit or extra pylons so the wings where straight forward and just top and bottom halves... don't go crazy with glue and have it spilling out, I used Tamiya quick cure thin cement and that was just fine for me.

Next was the canopy, I cleaned up the canopy which is broken down into 3 pieces. The Larger portion which is the middle section had a little flash on it and also a small crack I could not determine how it got there but it was fixed easily. I used Tamiya polishing compounds and then dipped in future to seal it and the rest of the pieces to glue them to the fuselage.

This concluded my build of the starfighter, again no ordinance or landing gear to deal with so a lot of small work was not needed and shaved time off the build. I would say I had this down to a science as far as 6 major assembly's and the canopies. So, I was happy and ready to paint her.

Finishing

I painted using mostly Tamiya acrylics and a Grex Genesis Xgi airbrush, I "Acquired" a Co2 tank through the army from a friend of mine and was able to get it fitted and filled and man I love this stuff ...along with being quiet as a church mouse there is absolutely no moisture in my lines. For Priming I used the Mr. Hobby Base White 1000 and Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 black. This stuff is not good on the nose or body in general so a well-ventilated area and mask is recommended. I gave this stuff a full 24 hours to dry. After words was testing my masking abilities and patience...remember that part about the wing tanks and top tail fin, um yea it was a pain and I struggled at time and didn't really like handling the model more than I had to and the taping. I am sure the thin strip Tamiya tape is amazing but I found myself having a hard time with it and just resorted back to stencils and rulers to cut what I needed.

I Used Tamiya X-8 lemon yellow on the first part of this 3-part paint scheme over the White primer and it took about 3 coats to get the yellow I liked and could be satisfied with, followed by Tamiya X-2 white and Tamiya X-18 semi-gloss black for the rear portion of the aircraft. I sealed the model with Testors glosscote lacquer clear which I let dry for 2 days and I must say this stuff still amazes me with the shine and brightness.

The decaling was probably the most time consuming and painstaking of this build due to the sheer number of decals and the witch ...I still ended up cutting her into pieces and breaking her down into sections which also was the result of me gluing the top portion of the tail fin and making it harder on myself. The stars where all sectionalized but since I didn't want to risk silvering or odd spots of carrier film, I trimmed each and every single one ......132 to be exact and man talking about numb hands and fingers I didn't enjoy it but im glad I did and it taught me more about myself in terms of patience. I sealed the model with another coat of glosscote and let it dry and that completed my build of this amazing kit.

Conclusion

It was great to finally get myself ahold of a F-104 to add to my display, this build also taught me something about myself in terms of patience and sometimes slowing myself down and enjoying a model vs "on to the next one" mentality.

I want to thank the people at Italeri and MRC Academy for allowing me to sample this kit and enjoy one of the most colorful kits I have ever built, The amazing people with IPMS and John for having the faith to let me be a member of the reviewer corps, I thank my Great friend Dr Rob Benson for being the best friend I have ever had the privilege of calling a friend and supporting me the best he could. Thank you all I truly enjoyed this kit.

  • Sprue 1
    Sprue 1
  • Sprue 2
    Sprue 2
  • Sprue 3
    Sprue 3
  • Sprue 4
    Sprue 4
  • Sprue 5
    Sprue 5
  • Decals
    Decals
  • Markings 1
    Markings 1
  • Markings 2
    Markings 2
  • Mr. Hobby Base White 1000 and Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 black
    Mr. Hobby Base White 1000 and Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 black
  • Filling and Painting
    Filling and Painting
  • Second Color
    Second Color
  • Second Color
    Second Color
  • Last color
    Last color
  • Lots of Decals
    Lots of Decals

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