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G-FIRE keeps looking at me from the unit - makes me smile!




Not much progress on the F-104 but the cockpit has some base greys and I put in the instrument decals.  Once they are dry I will paint some buts & give the scratch stuff a bit of a wash over



Once the cockpit is sorted I can seal up the body.  The tail is a separate unit but it’s tempting to join it to the fuselage halves & join the body as two halves.  Not many more stages on the build instructions really!  Got to love ESCI keeping it simple

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Finished off the cockpit interior painting & painted the seat





Still needs the fuselage halves joining, and will get a gun sight on top of the instrument panel top.

I am still toying with the idea of cutting the canopy to pose it open.  Always a scary idea




Thought I should check the centre of gravity before joining the fuselage.  Seems ok, although I could still put a little in the nose cone



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Took the risky action of cutting the canopy in to three parts.  Always risky on an older kit with a thin and brittle canopy.  It went ok though.




I might have to add an end frame to either end of the opening section as about 2mm has been lost by cutting and sanding it straight.  Should be worth it though


Got on with joining the fuselage halves and added the nose.  Tail is still taped on though.  Test fit of the intakes too




And with some other bits test fitted, she is starting to look good




I am still not convinced by the recesses at the top of the nose ahead of the windscreen.  I think I might fill them in.  Possibly an early version hangover that seemed to be gone on the G models


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Not been rushing this one along, just doing bits as & when.  Lots of green stuff filler to tidy things up




There are two recessed squares ahead of the front windscreen which I think I have seen on earlier models but I can’t see it on G models.  So out with the filler there and on the circles on top of the tail.  Can’t see any on here




The exhaust fit is a bit hit & miss inside the tail.  So I thought I would add a length of plastic tube to the fuselage bulkhead




I am not sure it will slot in if I seal up the tail, so I have not glued the lower seam yet, just the rudder area.  There is also a nasty join in the two sections ahead of the exhaust.  A blanking piece of plasticard should hopefully sort that

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Now I did wonder if this would happen.  I put a thin plasticard sim in the bottom of the fuselage below the exhaust.  I can now slot in the exhaust & tube after I have painted it all.  So all is good.  Tail all glued on.  Just a quick COG test...




Ok the new tail tube now makes her tail sit.  It’s marginal when the resin seat is in & canopies on, but I think I will put some weight in ahead of the instrument panel just to be sure

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Not much to update just lately.  Work is getting busy & the weather means I have been starting garden jobs, including building a new fence section & gate.  But I am getting to the Starfighter when I can.  Bit of painting inside the intakes and the exhaust.  I drilled a hole ahead of the instrument panel to drop in some nose weight.  I found some old curtain hem lead that is nice & small & easy to push in through the hole




The front panel section will cover the hole anyway.  Not much weight needed really.  Just guessing how much the air brakes add to the back and where the wing tanks will sit - maybe some tank nose weight too.

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And inserting the string of curtain weight




Seems to have done the job.  And the intakes are on.  I left out the inserts & painted them black.  The plan is to put them in later once the main painting is done.




More filling needed but most of the main bits are coming together

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With the intakes attached I put some filler on this morning.  I also test fitted the intake cones and they fit in nicely meaning I can paint the rest & slot then in at the end



So sanded it back and put on a quick grey primer



The wings & tail are still just pushed in.  The right wing fit was not great until I fitted a shim under the tab & now it’s nice & snug.  I am very tempted to paint the wings & tail off the airframe as they fit in well.  Or the underside at least.

Definitely need another round of filler before anything else though

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I do like the gun bay - it needs some more detail around the gun though.  I think I might paint it & the fit the door.  It might get reopened once the paint is done, or it might just stay closed.  New coat of filler on today



The majority of the main wheel well will be hidden under the front doors, but the back will be visible.  Detail is a little, er, sparse?  Some pipes & bits would make it look better 



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Sanded back the filler and touched up the primer.  Intakes noe have a black cone & grey either side as per the Dutch ones




 I started on the main undercarriage adding some extra details.  There was a bar missing from the kit parts connecting the axels to the front of the main struts. And I had a go at adding brake cables



Then the wheel bay got some wiring added.  Well a bit of a cocktail stick & telephone wire with & without casing



the front of the bay is almost closed & covered by the front half of the bay doors.  There is a retraction strut ahead of the main undercarriage legs that attaches to the two little pins on the central bar.  But the strut also means the front bay doors stay slightly open.  But you can’t see inside so no need from detail as far as I am concerned


So with all the bits together I think it will do



Need to get some paint inside the wheel wells, air brakes and gun, then preshade and I can start painting

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Bit more pipework in the gun bay.  The bay will be white while the wheel wells will be aluminium as will the airbrakes




I need to add some Dutch specific bumps behind the nose cone thenthink about paint




I am still amazed by the number of decal options with this kit



A bit  like my fleet of F-16s it kind of make me want a few F-104s.  The plan was always for a German one from the Kinetic kit, but Luftwaffe or Marine?  The German decals on this one are too early.  But Belgian, Italian, Canadian.  So many to choose from

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Thanks to the help of a few guys on here ( @Rob de Bie, @Andrew and others) I have a much better idea of KLu Starfighter ECM antenna.  

The gun bay has had a quick quash over but I am sure would always have been kept pretty clean



Compared to the real thing




Given that I may well not open this up anyway I think it will do.


The wheel wells have gone aluminium with a wash too, as has the jet pipe




And some lumps have appeared on the nose, with one for the back end to follow



I also dropped the flaps a bit, just for a little variety.  She is coming along.  Maybe some paint by the weekend?  Then I need to get back to the canopy.  I need to introduce a new frame in front of and behind the opening section.  By cutting it the canopy lost about 2-3mm, so a flat plasticard section will build it up again.  Trouble is a white piece of card will show through the glazing, so got to think about this.  May even use thin card pre coloured.


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Found a spare scoop that roughly matches the size & shape of the KLu rear ECM part.  Fixed in place an a quick spray over.   I also carved a rudimentary naca style duct behind the cockpit, also part of the ECM suite.



Pretty sure she is ready for preshade & paint after this fit out.

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