Another of Kelly Johnson’s modern marvels in aviation history, the F-104 truly lived up to the many nicknames it was bestowed. The “Missile With a Man In It” is probably the most reflective of this great machine. It was a plane that was produced in greater numbers for foreign use rather than US use. It was, however, a major leap forward in technology that led to multiple advances that allowed the US to be the leader in high-performance aircraft. A quick look at the main gear configuration and wing thickness can lead one to see how the F-16 was influenced.
Don’t kid yourself, this is an old kit. I’m pretty sure it is the original 1978 Monogram (MMI molded into the lower flap was a dead giveaway) release that has been repackaged for many years in both the C & G variants. The main difference is the use of the inflight refueling probe on the C and a “Recon” pod for the G. It’s molded in light grey plastic with 65 parts and 7 clear. A cursory inspection of the parts shows the grey parts to be molded in less than great crispness. One area that stood out was the small piece of plastic that forms the upper opening of the gun bay in the lower fuselage half. It was very distorted and interfered with the joining of the fuselage halves. Speaking of the two halves, this was another trouble spot, as they do not have the same shape and required considerable work and putty. These same fit problems carried over to the rear fuselage/tail halves as well. This part did not match the forward part well and required considerable putty and sanding. With all of this said, I elected to close the gun panel (not a great fit) and putty the seams and sand flush, as all of the other sanding and filling had led me to remove all of the raised surface detail. I was now making, for all intents and purposes, a slick-looking desk model. I left only the recessed details and hoped to capture the pure lines of this missile-like-looking aircraft.
A big issue for me with these moldings was the amount of ejector pin spots and a few areas where the plastic was short-shot, not completing the part. Some major ejector pin marks were also on the AIM-9 missile bodies/launchers and on both sides of both pieces of the intakes.
On a positive note, I felt the clear parts were decent enough, and they seem to dry-fit very well. I performed the ceremonious Future-dipping prior to masking and painting, and then re-dipping for the final coat. Due to the small amount of detail in the cockpit, I chose to have the canopy closed.
The instructions were straightforward and, if followed, will allow for minimal issues. Thorough paint and part indexes are included at the beginning of the instructions. The basics of leaving off the tail, landing gear, munitions, and drop tanks for final assembly after decaling and paint are completed is recommended.
I finished the model with Testors and Tamiya paints and final-coatedit in satin gloss to give a hue that resembled a used aircraft.
A large sheet of decals for 3 separate aircraft, two RCAF and one USAF is provided. While the kit is marketed in Canadian markings, I choose the USAF for one major reason – unresponsive decals. The decals have a decent register and appear to offer some great color, but they are not very responsive to any of the decal solutions. I used Micro Sol and Set, Testors and Solvaset. Given the wrap-arounds and the compound curves, I opted for my sanity and went the easy route. There is a nice template cutout provided for one of the Canadian units if one is so inclined. Aftermarket decals would be a big welcome for their ease of use.
- CF-104G, Serial Number 104790, of the Canadian 417th Squadron, based at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada
- F-104G, of the 69th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, 58th Tactical Training Wing, 12th Air Force. This plane was used to train German Luftwaffe pilots at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona
- This colorful CF-104G, serial number 104763, of the Canadian 417th Squadron, was decorated to commemorate the disbanding of the squadron in 1983
Well, it looks like a “go fast machine” and carries the lines pretty well for such an old kit. This is NOT a modern, crisply molded, falls-together kit. I am certain that, with a lot of patience and some greater skills than what I currently have, this could be a great project. It would require a total re-scribing of all detail, and some work with the pitot and cockpit would really make it pop. Decals are colorful but very “stiff.” Looks good next to the other Century Series hot rods.
Many thanks to Revell for providing this kit for review. Additional thanks go to the IPMS Staff for allowing me to review it, and for working with all of the manufacturers to provide this organization the opportunity to be reviewers.