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Hasegawa's 1/48 scale
F-104J Starfighter

by John Chung


F-104 Starfighter

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




First off, this will be a short write up.

This is the 1/48 Hasegawa F-104J kit, which has been reviewed and featured aplenty, so I shall not elaborate much. I will say that it captures the general shape of the aircraft very well, and the fidelity of the model is definitely Hasegawa. However, I also echo other modelerís sentiments about the overdone wing rivet details, the sometimes inconsistent panel line depth, thickness and tidiness, especially around the top and bottom of the fuselage.

Even with that said, it is still a very decent model that will build into a respectable replica out of the box. It also allows plenty of room for the braver modelers of the rivet counter and super detailer kinds should they feel gung-ho at it.





Iíve used a total of three aftermarket resin detail sets on this model: Aires F-104C/J cockpit, F-104 wheel bay, and F-104 exhaust set.



The general fit of the cockpit and exhaust turned out to be quite decent, while Iíve had some issue getting the main landing gear bay to fit right. I appreciate Aires overall fineness and precision in their sets which are overall consistent and accurate over their product range.

Iíve committed quite a bit of fine scratch building to this model. In the cockpit this includes the cockpit framing detail for both the main canopy and inside the windscreen, and various piping behind the seat and under the rear windscreen.



The undercarriage legs and doors were detailed with tie-down rings, wires, and cables, whereas area that could have been better portrayed were removed and rebuilt, such as the torque link and nose gear steering unit. The RBF covers for the leading edge were built from cooking foil and the various RBF covers from styrene with stretched sprue. RBF tags were from Eduardís pre-painted set.

Looking back there wasnít very much that Iíve deviated from the kit or the resin, but the build just seemed very long and tedious.



Painting and Markings


Probably the most significant experimentation Iíve done on this model is my first use of Bare Metal Foil to replicate the natural metal finish found on many F-104s. The process was very difficult and in the process Iíve had to redo a good number of panels. Foil lifting and tearing were my biggest issues, and I either have to patch the tear with smaller foil sheets or leave it as is. I found an image of a BMF A-4F jet with a lots of green primers around the fuselage, and took the idea to touch up some of the tear with green paints. Cheating? Yes, but itís just too difficult to fix all my botches.

Alclad II was used around the aft fuselage to simulate the different panel shades, which were impossible to replicate with the limited shade options offered by BMF. Vallejo, Gunze and Tamiya acrylics were used in the non-BMF area. Oil wash was applied to the cockpit, exhaust, and undercarriage area.

TwoBobs F-104J aggressor decal sheet was used. I did not choose to model an aggressor aircraft, and even left the tail free of squadron markings. The decals went on fine, though itís difficult to adhere it to the foil. Iíve also managed to chip the decal a bit too much during weathering.





This model was built about a year before this article was written, so my memory is a little fuzzy regarding the exact details of the build. All I remember was a lot of frustration and patience and rebuilding to achieve the level of detail I wanted. This was compounded by the various new modeling methods Iíve experimented on this model, namely different scratch building techniques and the amount of aftermarket details, as well as finishing techniques.



In retrospect, it was not an easy project but Iím glad that it turned out as well as it did.



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2005 by John Chung
Page Created 29 September, 2005
Last Updated 29 September, 2005

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