1/48 Hasegawa F-104G Starfighter

by Henry Juarez

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The Kit 

    Upon first inspection, youíll find the usual high degree of fine detail throughout the kit, with recessed panel lines.  However, what I found displeasing, was the large number of ejection marks along the underside of the wings and flaps.  With all that detail along the undersurface of the wings, this made it especially hard to fill and sand without losing detail.  The kit comes with two wingtip tanks, but no weapons, as usual.  I think Hasegawa does this to all its kits in order for the consumer to purchase their weapons set.  You Think!

Construction 

   Construction began with the addition of the Black Box (48006) cockpit detail set.  This is a highly recommended addition to the kit.  The set provides the newer Martin-Baker GQ-7 ejection seat, which replaced the older Lockheed C-2 seat and is standard with a few NATO Air Force, F-104ís.  Once the cockpit was painted in Model Master Dark Gull Gray, the sidewalls were installed first, followed by the cockpit tub.  The set goes in without any cutting or modification to the kit fuselage.

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   Next came the intake trunks. The intake trunks have to be assembled first before attaching them to the main fuselage.  Before they were assembled, I painted the inside of the intakes white.  Then the inside of the lip and a portion of the intake splitter cone painted flat black.  Once this was completed, I assembled the trunk and attached it to the fuselage.  This is where I had the most problems.  The fit here is somewhat left to be desired.  A lot of filling and sanding was required to get a flush smooth mating surface.  This caused a loss of detail in this area and there was a lot of fine detail here which had to be re-scribed. 

The rest of the plane went together without much trouble.  The flaps were left off until the painting process began, as well as the exhaust can, which was replaced by the Aires set (4100).  This too is one of the finest castings Iíve seen to date.   I left off the wingtip tanks to show a training and evaluation plane of the Dutch Air Force.  
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Painting

   Painting began with an overall paint of dark ghost gray.  This acted as a primer as well as the underside color.  Once this color was sprayed, I took a thinned mixture of flat black and dark gray mix and pre-shaded all the panel lines.  I then took the base color (dark ghost gray) and sprayed over the entire underside until a hint of the panel shading was visible.  Next, I painted the two-tone camouflage of gunship gray with a little light ghost gray mixed and dark green mixed with a little forest green.  Again, each of these colors was sprayed over the panel shading until a hint of shading was visible.   

   Once all the colors were painted on, I took the base mixture of each color and lightened them.  On each panel, I sprayed the insides until it was lightened.  Now I take the base color and thin it down with thinner to a ratio of 70% thinner to 30% base color.  I then go over the entire specific color until I reach a balance between the panel shading and the lightened panels.  This technique is subtle and to each individual taste.

   After the model is sprayed and Iím satisfied with the tone of colors, Iíll spray the entire model with Future acrylic floor shine.  This seals the paint and prepares the plane for decaling and weathering.

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Weathering 

   Once the Future has had about a day to cure, I mix a wash of flat black and dark gray with mineral spirits.  The entire model then receives this mixture to all the recessed panel lines and detail.  The excess is then wiped off with a dampened soft rag of mineral spirits.  The plane is left to dry for about another day before moving on to decaling.

   The kits decals were used and went on with Solvaset solution.  Once the decals settled down, I ran a blade over the decal and panel line and used more Solvaset to get the decal to settle down further.  I ran the wash over the decal/panel line and wiped the excess, as before.

   The entire model was then sprayed with Testors Dullcoat.  Once the flat coat was dry (another day involved) I took some artists oils (Black and Burnt Umber) and lightly dry brushed the aft section of the exhaust area.  Oil streaks around the plane received this mixture to finish the model.

   After all the painting and weathering was done, I attached the flaps, exhaust can, canopy and wheels.

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Conclusion:

    Although, the colors may not be right, I believe the techniques shown here still make for a decent looking model.  I canít over emphasize what a great resin kit Black Box has come up with for this version.  After seeing the quality of the Aires exhaust can, I ran out and purchased their cockpit set (4098) for the C version and the wheel well set (4103), and found them equally exceptional.   Hope youíve enjoyed this article. I look forward to your comments.   

Henry 

Photos and text © by Henry Juarez