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Doug

Academy 1/72 F-104G Starfighter

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Hi all,

Before i get stuck into this build I would like to make the following statements:

1: This kit is defintely a sow's ear not a silk purse and to be honest it'll never make it into my collection along side the Esci, italeri and Hasegawa Starfighters i have built and are in my stash, so please do not post there are better kits why are you messing around with the Academy kit.......... as I will ignore you and tell you to read this, the first, posting.

2. the reason for the build is purely to try out new scratch-building techniques I have been following and want to try out, and I'd rather try them out on a cheap kit than on a £15 to £25 kit, especially if it all goes pear shaped and i end up giving it a test flight into a bin or the wall!!!

Right that said, anyone who has built or attempted to build this kit will know this is a very, very basic kit indeed and even to make it look reasonable, if such a thing is possible will take some doing. Despite being molded in the mid 80's this kit seriously lacks some basics such as undercarriage bays, cockpit, airbrake bays etc. For this reason I have created two lists, one covers "must" does and the other "want" to's

The "Must" does: Main and nose undercarriage bays, Airbrake internals and the cockpit tub and seat, correct the air intake cones. All these items will need to be scratch-built or heavily modified, as I will not be wasting money on resin or white metal aftermarket parts as to be honest the kit isn't worth it.

The "Want" to list: Open up the gun-bay and add a scratch-built cannon, open up the avionics bay with scratch-built details, open up the bay behind the cockpit, scratch-built cockpit, cut off nose and add a radar installation, open up the ventral engine inspection bay and add the parachute deployment flap/bay and finally lower the flaps and leading edge flap. I may not get around to doing all of these modifications, but I will have a go at as many as possible.

photo's of the kit to be shown in the next post.

Edited by Doug

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Ok, so what's in the box:

Box0002_zpsd14b0acc.jpg

You get two grey sprue trees: one containing the fuselage, exhaust, wheels and undercarriage:

CompnentsTree0001b_zpse6c72bb7.jpg

and one containing the main wings,intakes, cockpit and external fuel tanks:

CompnentsTree0002b_zps292396b5.jpg

and finally a clear sprue with a canopy.

Canopy0002_zpsc5fc6204.jpg

For some reason Academy decided to put all of the canopy detailing on the inside of the moulding so when painted none of it is visible????

Edited by Doug

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As those of you who have or have built this kit there are a number of shape issues as well as component issues. Lets start with the cockpit, or lack of:

Cockpit0001_zpsc7e095b9.jpg

as you can see from this photo, the seats headrest is integrally moulded to the fuselage halves, which as we older modellers know, is the old fashioned way of filling a basically empty or badly detailed area. there is a cockpit tub/set moulding, see below, which fits inside this area:

Pilot0001_zps4ba393b8.jpg

the tub and seat are the lumps of plastic hiding in the top right of the sprue, the lump at the top is the pilot by the way!!!! oh and that straight lump with a sort of hook on the end is the arrestor hook, if you think that looks funny, wait, it gets better!!!!

I have already mentioned the canopy, the canopy is well to say the least, dreadful. It is just a bubble, there is no shape, no real detail and looks nothing like the real thing. here's a top view:

Canopy0003_zps09a4e35a.jpg

and here's a side view:

Canopy0002_zpsc5fc6204.jpg

if you have an Esci/italeri or Hasegawa kit have a look at the canopy shape and compare it with the academy one and you'll soon get the picture!

Finally, at last I hear you all cry, perhaps the thing that most upsets me is the total lack of any bays, and by this I mean undercarriage bays, just large voids of open plastic! (This also includes the air brake areas).

UndercarriageBays0001_zps1dac550f.jpg

What you see is what you get, no inserts or anything, even for a kit of the 80's this is really not good, ok, so this is not a hard fix for a modeller with some experience, but can you imagine what a beginner will make of this? probably put them off for life.

Ok so now I have had my moan and got it out of my system, the fact is that this kit suits my needs perfectly, as I said above I only brought this kit because it was cheap and so if my planned scratch-building goes pear shaped it doesn't matter in the slightest. Easier to swallow throwing a cheap kit against the wall than an expensive one!

One last thing if I may, I'm no Starfighter expert, but this kit is more akin to an early F-104A or C than a G, so perhaps someone who knows more about Starfighters than I do would like to comment on this.

Edited by Doug

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This should prove to be interesting to follow! :popcorn:

But, would it be better placed in the WIP forum?

ATB
Rick

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One last thing if I may, I'm no Starfighter expert, but this kit is more akin to an early F-104A or C than a G, so perhaps someone who knows more about Starfighters than I do would like to comment on this.

Doug, while there are many differences in details between the G and the earlier Starfighters, the main one is the tail, with the A/C having a smaller tail like the one seen here:

http://cdn-www.airliners.net/aviation-photos/photos/4/5/8/1264854.jpg

The G, the S, the J, the CF-104 and all the two-seaters except a few B have a larger tail like this one:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/F-104_right_side_view.jpg

The Academy kit with all its errors is more similar to a G.

There's a very good Taiwanese site dealing with the many differences between the A and the G (Taiwan used both and also the J), it's in chinese but I still find it very useful for the pictures alone:

http://blog.yam.com/rexkuang/article/38281637

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Hi Giorgio,

That last link (http://blog.yam etc) is a bit good isn't it, lovely information, will be useful a little latter on.

Doug S.

Edited by Doug

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Hi doug,

I am also doing this kit. I bought it with my son as his first model kit. The cockpit and main gear bay are very interesting to say the least ; ). Makes quick progress though.

Happy modding,

Jw

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hi Jeewee,

Are you going to add any of the basic improvements to this kit of build OOB? by improvements I mean box in the Wheel wells, airbrakes etc.

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Please bare with me on this build as I am disabled and some days I am unable to do any work on the build, but most of you who know me, know that I do build at quite a pace when I am able to.

As I said before I intend to carry out both the "Must do" improvements and the "Like to" improvements. lets start with the "Must do" improvements:

The boxing in of the Wheel bays, both nose and main, as the undercarriage legs have been designed to attach to the insides of the fuselage I will leave this area alone and simply box in the areas around the attachment points as this will save some work on the legs to change the way they attach to the newly built bays.

Also the boxing in of the Airbrake bays as there are no struts to hold the doors open, these will need to be scratch-built so it's a simple boxing in procedure.

Cockpit: Really don't know what to do hear, scratch-build a complete cockpit and seat or raid my spares box for some suitable components.

Finally, the intake bullets, these really need to be re-shaped as they are way to round so need to be filed and sanded to a more realistic shape.

Due to the construction of this kit some of the "Like to" jobs also need to be thought about at this point to. the reason for this is that if you intend to start cutting out and boxing in the bays, such as gun bays and avionics bays you need to thin down the plastic on the inside of the fuselage around the areas you intend to cut out. This kit has very thick plastic walls and of course the boxing in is best done whilst the fuselage halves are not joined! lol. the thinning down is best achieved with a mini-drill, when the plastic is thinned enough, simply cut out the bay and using plastic sheet/card box in the bay. Make sure that all the boxing in does not interfere with the cockpit or undercarriage bays. this should not be a problem for the nose wheel bay as it sits below the cockpit tub.

I am at this moment taking down the internal measurements for the undercarriage bays (nose & Main), cockpit, airbrakes,Gun bay and avionics bay, then I will make drawings then proceed to make the bays from plastic sheet. this may take a few days so please bare with me as I complete this process.

Finally can I just repeat that this is not a super detailed build, it's for scratch-building practice purposes only, as this kit is not good enough to be turned into a display kit.

Doug S.

Additional info: When boxing in the airbrake bays make sure it does no interfere with the exhaust moulding!!!! (I haven't made this mistake yet but a friend of mine who was detailing the Airfix kit, did!!!! (he made them to long, and was adding the tail pipe from a Esci or Haseagwa kit, much swearing and cursing later he finally rectified the problem by having to re-build the entire airbrake area, on both sides).

Edited by Doug

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The main problem with this kit, apart from all the others mentioned above, is that is simply does not look anything like a Starfighter. The whole thing is completely misproportioned, which is a nice way of saying it is too fat. It's almost an eggplane-like charicature of an F-104. I built it a long time ago and when completed compared it with my dads unbuilt Hasegawa kit, and the difference is night and day. It bears no resemblence to the lean and elegant lines of the original.

This shouldn't prevent you from having a good time with it - the fit is good and it does build up pretty well :)

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hi Jeewee,

Are you going to add any of the basic improvements to this kit of build OOB? by improvements I mean box in the Wheel wells, airbrakes etc.

nope no improvements. when we are done constructing, its primor time and then i will hand it over the the mini-maestro for painting :D

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The main problem with this kit, apart from all the others mentioned above, is that is simply does not look anything like a Starfighter. The whole thing is completely misproportioned, which is a nice way of saying it is too fat. It's almost an eggplane-like charicature of an F-104. I built it a long time ago and when completed compared it with my dads unbuilt Hasegawa kit, and the difference is night and day. It bears no resemblence to the lean and elegant lines of the original.

This shouldn't prevent you from having a good time with it - the fit is good and it does build up pretty well :)

Hi Sroubos,

Couldn't agree more, every time I go to measure or box something in nothing seems to be where it should be, I'm beginning to think this build is a total waste of time, I may have been better off using a Heller or Matchbox kit, (as they a\re still relevantly cheap from some places), as the base kit, at least I would have something to work with?

Quick question did all G models have the bulged main wheel bay doors?

Doug S.

Edited by Doug

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Quick question did all G models have the bulged main wheel bay doors?

.

Probably not. There is evidence that some very early Gs may not have had the larger tyres and the associated bulged wheel bay doors. I will have to dig through my references to find more info on this, hopefully it will not take too long

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Thanks Giorgio,, have to say I can not tell which of the wheel/tyre combinations is in the kit anyway so probably not a problem.

Sorry for the slow build on this kit, I'm not giving up on it it's been a combination of health and hot weather. please bare with me some progress is being made, I have just had to change the way in which I am working on it, ok.

Doug S.

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Probably not. There is evidence that some very early Gs may not have had the larger tyres and the associated bulged wheel bay doors. I will have to dig through my references to find more info on this, hopefully it will not take too long

Early production G's definitely did NOT have the larger tyres or bulged gear bay doors. That was a mid-production modification that was quite quickly fitted to in-service G's and also to some CF-104's when they were rebuilt before handover to non-RCAF users in the 1970's, the CF-104 and F-104G were the same airframe with differing avionics (and the CF-104's originally had the fuel cell instead of gun fitted), although the CF-104's were equivalent to early-production G's, being built on the same line and with the same tooling as the first G's (Canadair produced the first batch of G's before the other lines were setup).

I'm not sure how quickly the mod arrived however, it was certainly after Canadair production ended, but that was very early on in G production.

Edited by Adam Maas

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I built it a long time ago and when completed compared it with my dads unbuilt Hasegawa kit, and the difference is night and day.

That must have been Hasegawa's "new" tool from the 90s, I guess ? As the Aca is a clone of the old Hase, the difference between them would be not that much.

The reason for the gaping hole in the belly is that the main u/c originally retracted (IIRC), via tiny knuckles. As the wheels had to go somewhere, ending up full-fronted to the line of flight, a cavern was needed.

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If you want a kit to practice new techniques on, this is the one. It's not much use for anything else. I did this with mine:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/29934-starfighter-museum-piece/?hl=%2Bmuseum+%2Bpiece

Interested to see what yours comes out like.

Good luck,

Dean

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If you want a kit to practice new techniques on, this is the one. It's not much use for anything else. I did this with mine:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/29934-starfighter-museum-piece/?hl=%2Bmuseum+%2Bpiece

Interested to see what yours comes out like.

Good luck,

Dean

hi Dean,

yep I have seen this build and think he did a good job with the kit, but as I say this is not for display it is simply a practice piece, so I do not intend to correct the kit or worry to much about the accuracy of the scratch-built components, i'm just interested in how to construct them.

I'm going to leave the main U/C doors without bulges and I may leave the cockpit alone as I did intend to open up the rear fuselage directly behind the canopy to scratch-build the ammo boxes, flight computer and extra fuel tank, but as the canopy is so bad and the panel lines and shape of the spine area are not in the right places or the correct shape I have decided not to carry out this work, but I am still going to add the gun bay to the port side and the avionics bay to the starboard side as well as the radar unit this will complete the front end mods. just finishing the drawings for all these items including the airbrake interiors and the main and nose wheel well bays.Will post these drawings with measurements in case anyone else is silly enough to want to try this build! lol.

Doug S.

Edited by Doug

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Sorry folks I really am going to abandon this build, not because it's beyond my capabilities, but because of the standard of the kit. I spent two days measuring the internals of this kit several times and producing some plastic card template drawings to create the gunbay, undercarriage bays, cockpit, avionics and speed break internals. did all this work, printed them out, cut out the bays glued them all together then tried installing them into the fuselage, it was hear that I discovered that the fuselage mouldings are totally different for each half and the only bay that fitted correctly was the nose wheel bay! there was no way in hell I was going to get the nose wheel bay, cockpit, gunbay and avionics bay in the fuselage halves without making gunbay and avionics bay so thin it wasn't worth fitting them on the ground that the the gun itself and the avionics equipment would be so small it wouldn't be seen and therefore totally useless as a feature or a scratch-build project. With a lot of jiggery-pokkery I did manage to get main under carriage area boxed in as with the airbrake housing, so I have managed to do some of the work:

Boxing-in0005_zps24e1d61e.jpg

Boxing-in0001_zpsc7b32302.jpg

Boxing-in0004_zpsfece365f.jpg

I also managed to re-shape the air intake bullets: Here are the kit items:

IntakeBullets0001_zps17a765e7.jpg

here are the re=profiled items:

IntakeBullets0002_zps0192c553.jpg

IntakeBullets0003_zpsef1f5b1f.jpg

I will finish the kit as is, as I really don't think this kit is worthy of much more to be honest and I have ordered a couple of Matchbox kits from the internet, whcih I hope will be better base kits to work with.

Sorry for the anti-climax, but I really don't want to waste anymore time on this kit. So all you modellers who want to say "I told you so" here's your opportunity

Doug S.

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Know how you feel Doug, happened to me before with other oldies, an enthusiastic start followed by the realisation that the plan could not be completed.

At least you tried ! The modified intake bullets alone will make quite a difference on the completed model, now personally I'd just look for the wildest paint scheme to apply

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No doubt the work you did will give you valuable experience for projects which are more deserving. I freely admit of having tried silk purses from sow's ears a couple of times - sometimes it works (Frog Sea Hawk - but that one is just old & simple and otherwise a splendid kit), sometimes not (yet - have you ever tried building PM's Floatfire ? I did, and one day I'll kill that beast). I also did my first attempt at engraving on Revell's H-611 Spit, which I also haven't finished after nearly 25 years, but which certainly aided me with that Sea Hawk. Have you thought about using a base kit that is simple but generally sound, so that you can draw a line and finish it off once you think you've tried & tested enough and still end up with a relatively pleasing result ? If it has to be a Starfighter, you could also try the Airfix one oncurrently with the MB - it should still be available quite easily and cheaply, even though it's out the programme for well over 20 years now.

Edited by tempestfan

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I'm wondering if the kit could be a re-box of the old ( early 70's ) Hasegawa kit? It certainly looks like it, if my memory serves me correctly. Anyway, good luck with your build, Doug, and I shall follow this with interest. :cheers:

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