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Hasegawa's 1/48 scale
CF-104 Starfighter

by Ian Robertson


CF-104 Starfighter


Hasegawa's 1/48 scale F-104G Starfighter is available online from Squadron.com




In 1959 Canada chose the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter to replace the aging fleet of Canadair Sabres. Initially the CF-104 (built under license by Canadair) was intended as a low-level nuclear weapons delivery system for NATO in the event of a European conflict with the Soviet Union. Later its role shifted to that of a conventional strike weapon. The CF-104 remained in RCAF/CAF service until 1986, at which time it was replaced by the CF-18 Hornet. More than half of the Canadian Starfighter fleet was lost in accidents during its 27 year operational career. Many of these losses were due to the starfighter’s dangerous operational role as a fast low-level flier, often in poor weather conditions. My model depicts a CF-104 trainer from 417 Squadron, Cold Lake (Alberta), 1975.

The Model

I used Hasegawa’s 1/48 F-104J Starfighter as the basis for my model. Additions included a Black Box CF-104 cockpit set and Aires resin exhaust nozzle. Both resin sets fit well and were beautifully detailed. Decals are from Belcher Bits decal sheet #6.




The model was simple and straightforward to build, taking only a couple of evenings to complete. I built and painted the model in subassemblies (fuselage, wings, wing tanks, horizontal stabilizers) to minimize the need for masking.



The Black Box CF-104 cockpit set fit well in the model once the raised detail on the fuselage sidewalls was removed. I painted the cockpit medium grey as outlined in Hasegawa’s paint instructions. Online reference photos of the C-2 seat were used as a color guide for the resin seat and harnesses.



Paint and Decals


The fuselage exterior was first sprayed with Tamiya fine grey surface primer and then polished with micromesh sanding cloths. I painted the nose cone with a mixture of light ghost grey and neutral grey (Polly Scale acrylic) and then masked it off until the natural metal finish had been applied. The metal finish was achieved using various shades of Alclad II (duraluminum, dark aluminum, steel, polished aluminum) followed by washes of Tamiya black acrylic to help tone down the shine from the rivets and panel lines.

The upper wings were painted in with Tamiya white primer, whereas the undersides were painted the same as the nose cone. The horizontal stabilizers were painted with Tamiya red acrylic.


The upper and lower wing surfaces were given a light misting of Future as a gloss coat prior to the addition of the decals. No gloss coat was used over the natural metal finish. A coat of Polly Scale clear satin was applied over the wings and elevators once decals had been applied. A satin clear coat was applied directly over the larger decals only on the fuselage. I did not clear coat over the stencils.





Photographs were taken outdoors in natural sunlight with a Nikon Coolpix 5400 digital camera. The “unsharpen mask” tool of Adobe Photoshop was used to restore some of the clarity and crispness lost during image compression.


Final Thoughts


The rivets on the model are exaggerated in the photographs due to the sun reflecting from them. Under less intense light conditions the rivets are far less conspicuous and distracting. This is one of the most heavily riveted models I have built by Hasegawa, and I wish they had been a little more refined in their approach.



Nevertheless, the model was fun to build and a nice diversion from my regular WWII fare.



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Messerschmitt Bf 109
Modelling Manuals 17

US Price: $17.95
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 January 25, 2002
Details: 64 pages; ISBN: 1841762652
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Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2006 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 26 March, 2006
Last Updated 26 March, 2006

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