1/72 Hasegawa F-104S

by Craig Sargent



Lockheed F-104S ASA Starfighter
21º Gruppo, 53º Stormo
Aeronautica Militare Italia
"Tiger Meet '96"

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Model: F-104S Starfighter 'Italian Air Force' (1003)

This is the Hasegawa 1/72 model of the F-104S, which builds very well straight out of the box, but I wanted to dress it up a bit, just to add some detail to this impressive paint scheme. Decals for this scheme are provided on the Cutting Edge "Starfighter Special #1" decal sheet (CED72042). There has always been a lot of conjecture over a larger diameter rear fuselage, as these aircraft had an uprated General Electric J79-GE-19 engine fitted, but I find it hard to believe this would be noticeable in 1/72, so didn’t bother to do anything about it.

To dress up the cockpit, a Verlinden resin ejection seat was used to replace the kit seat, and a scratch built HUD, air conditioning conduit and throttle, and photo-etched mirrors were added. I also added some extra detail to the landing gear bays. Angle of attack vanes were cut off and replaced with more in scale items made from plastic sheet. Pylon mounting points were scribed under the wings. Construction was very straightforward and I didn't have to use filler anywhere.

Once construction was complete, the canopy and windshield were masked and the model painted. Xtracolour X252 Weissaluminium and Gunze Sangyo H5 Primary Blue were the two main colours used, which despite Cutting Edge's comment that there is no match for the blue, comes convincingly close. The blue feathered edges were all airbrushed free hand. Navigation lights were drilled out, and filled with 5-minute epoxy tinted with Gunze Sangyo clear acrylics. 

I discovered, after the model was painted, that the F-104S has the front of the ventral fin sloping rearward at an angle of almost 45 degrees, whereas the front of the fin on the kit is perpendicular to the fuselage. The extra part of the kit fin was easily removed, and once modified, repainted to cover the change.


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Some stencilling from the Hasegawa kit was required. Cutting Edge provides the rectangular nose rescue markings as red on black, but these should in fact be orange on black.

The upper wingtip fuel filler cap decals, and the fuel filler cap marking on the port side (just in front of and above the intake), were used from the Hasegawa decal sheet. I also created the candy stripe pitot marking on my ALPS printer (complete with legible "HANDS OFF" stencilling).


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The tiger decals, though very accurate in size and shape, appear to be too orange - they should be more of a tan colouration. One further improvement would be to blend the areas of red and pink on the tiger's nose and tongue as in the picture of the full size aircraft above.


Photos and text © by Craig Sargent