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KLU 322 Sqn. F-104G - Completed


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Here's my entry for this GB, a 1/72 F-104G from the Revell kit representing an aircraft of 322 Squadron of the Dutch KLU in 1966.

There's little that I have to say about the F-104 and the importance that this type had within NATO starting in the '60s. Let's just say that it was the mainstay of most NATO air forces in Europe for part of the decade and for this reason alone it would be a pity not to add one myself to the others already being built at the moment.

That I'm a big F-104 fan of course also helped shaping my choice... ūüėĀ

 

For this build I will use the Revell 1/72 kit. This was first issued in 1995 and is typical of Revell's production of those days, with good quality mould, nice panel lines and good detail. The kit seems to be "inspired" by the "new mould" Hasegawa kits and I suspect that I could add bits of one on the other without any problem... I may actually exploit this during the build.

 

Let's start from the box

 

772f3d20-9f1a-4933-96db-30eba20ad8c1.JPG

 

Hmmm, wait, there's something wrong here ! Isn't my model supposed to be a G ? What's an F-104C box doing here ? Let's open the box....

 

f832be52-7e57-4f92-bab6-2991e863e98d.JPG

 

Oh right, I bought the G at a model show from a modeller and the box was in such a bad condition that I threw it in the bin and placed the kit in the box with the Monogram C. BTW, the Monogram 1/72 C is a variant of the same mould and actually this kit could be built for this GB as in 1961 two F-104A equipped units (151st and 157th FIS) were deployed to Europe as a result of the Berlin crisis... but the plan is to build this as a US based C, so the A will have to wait.

 

Sprues are moulded in a dark olive plastic, I don't like the use of dark colours but a coat pf primer will sort this.

 

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The "modular" nature of this kit is evident as are parts of the sprue that were gated to allow other variants to be offered. These other variants included the abovementioned C and the TF two.seater. For some reason none of the Revell F-104 kits seem to be widely available, the G itself has been offered for a relatively short time but has appeared in a number of gift sets together with other Luftwaffe operated aicrafts.

 

The decal sheet unfortunately dates to the days when Revell advertised their "super decal" range. These are not too bad but are IMHO well inferior to the Cartograf printed decals that later Revell kits included. In any case these offer 3 Luftwaffe subjects.

Beside the decals are the clear parts. The canopy is in one piece and IIRC there's something wrong with the the frames, can't remember what. I'll found out during the build...

 

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Now this promises to be a good kit, not as good as the Hasegawa one but still worth building. I have read of a couple of issues, the canopy frames mentioned above and the shape of the intake cones. I may replace the latter with copies of the Hasegawa parts if needed, unfortunately the canopy will have to remain as it is.

The decals don't look great but it's a minor problem as I will not build a Luftwaffe aircraft. My subject will be a KLU aircraft in the overall grey scheme used at the beginning of the type career in Holland. Markings will come from the sheet included in the Italeri RF-104 boxing, some of the stencils may have to come from other sources. This kit also came with a decal sheet from a Haseagwa kit, guess that the previous owner shared my view of the kit decals.. some may come from there.

 

 

Edited by Giorgio N
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Thanks folks, hope to manage to finish this one, my latest track record is pretty poor...

 

13 hours ago, Lex77 said:

Nice choice!

Which colour are you going to use for the grey?

 

Good question... my main "reference" is this older thread on this same forum:

 

 

Now in the thread I mentioned how the lower surfaces of Dutch F-104s were in grey RAL 7001 and I had been told that early grey aircrafts were in the same colour... however   @Rob de Biementioned the possibility of these being in a lighter colour named KLu 130 Nevelgrijs.

In terms of modelling paint, I may simply start with a grey paint lighter than RAL 7001and postshade with 7001 until I get something similar to the pictures. Vallejo 990 Light Grey looks pretty close to RAL 7001, will likely be my starting point

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And now a couple more pictures. First of all the decal sheet, that as mentioned before comes from the latest Italeri rebox of the Esci kit. I'm not a big fan of Italeri decals, they are usually well printed and adhere well but the stencils are very often too large, something that spoils the look of the finished model. In this sheet they are not that bad as in others, but still some would end up being too "obtrusive" in the finish. My plan is to use a mix of Italeri, Hasegawa and home printed stencils.

The main markings look fine, but if any modeller with a good knowledge of this subject knows differently, please let me know your thought.

 

9f18ed77-50ee-45c7-86b8-3b47b7415c1c.JPG

 

I've also added an Eduard zoom set in the picture as I was planning on using this... however after the first test fit of the parts I realized that this kit may not be as good as I hoped and I'm now thinking of keeping the set for a different kit.

 

Most important, I made a small start: this kit was designed from the start to allow the F-104C variant to be made with as little extra parts as possible. Revell decided to cut the rear fuselage along the rudder line and the first step to get a set of F-104G rear fuselages is to glue the specific parts:

 

21b54120-4dcf-405d-bc0f-bb88fac6baca.JPG

 

Revell instructions sheet suggest to glue the rear ends together and add these to the assembled rear fuselage, I don't like that approach as may result in two parts of slightly different sections. I much prefer to glue mid and rear ends together on each fuselage half as this allows me a better control of the fit. Of course this may result in some fit issues on the undersides when joining the fuselage halves, but I'd rather have to sort this than trying to match slightly different sections.

I also glued the airbrakes in place. Revell gives the option of opern airbrakes but really a Starfighter with open airbrakes was a very rare sight. Fit of the airbrakes was not good and to avoid problems I decided to glue them slightly proud of the fuselage surface and then sand the whole area.

 

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For a number of reasons I ended up staying at home over the weekend, even if weather was lovely. One of the reasons was likely that I got a sever case of Starfighter frenzy !

I had already completed the cockpit before the weekend, something that took me a bit more than expected. The parts don't fit too well IMHO and the cockpit alignment as proposed by Revell is not too accurate so I disregarded the alignment pins and followed my eyes. This not before thinning the instrument panel shroud that not only is too thick but was also od firrent thicknesses on the left and right halves...

Detail is quite good, not as as good as Hasegawa's but very useable... pity that the only picture I took is totally out of focus ! I'm posting this here only to show that I did indeed build the cockpit... ūüėē

 

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One other job I did before the weekend was to close the rear fuselage halves, fit here was decent.

 

e2350a8f-e5ef-419c-b52d-d45466d93e67.JPG

 

Then the weekend came... first step was simply to glue together the front fuselage halves !

The panel with the gun faring is separate in the kit and was glued before working of the cockpit. Fit again was not bad but could have been better. The fit of the two front fuselage halves was however not as good and I lost a bit of surface detail on the lower surfaces. This was restored using various scribing tools. While I was restoring panel lines, I also rescribed the rectangular panel before the wheel well. Revell reproduced this with square corners but the real panel has rounded corners. As I had lost most lines during sanding I decided to cut a mask from vynil and use this as a scribing template. Worked pretty well and while I was at it I cut a few more templates to use on my future F-104 models, as Hasegawa made the same mistake.

The nose cone was not a good fit at all as the diameter was slightly larger than the rest of the fuselage. Again I had to sand down the part quite a lot but in the end I got there

 

84f59839-1123-496f-8374-a72c86a336df.JPG

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Sunday was partly devoted to watching some bike racing on the telly and apart from the totally crazy act committed by Fenati it was very good.

The rest of the day was devoted to some more F-104 work.

Once the rear and front fuselage sections were sanded, it was time to mate them. Again fit was not the best but in the end I got there

 

51a829cb-21f9-4165-94c0-fde9e14ff288.JPG

 

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Notice how I glued in place the frame in the wheel well but chopping off the rear bit. This frame is designed to be glued above the main gear leg assembly however this would mean having the gear legs in the way during assembly. As the frame is also useful to align front and rear fuselage sections, I wanted to have this in place without the gear legs so I simply cut the part going over the legs. I will later add this together with the legs.

I also had to widen slightly the rear end of the front fuselage section as otherwise the dorsal spine would have had a very noticeable step. In hindsight I now know that I should have widened this a bit more... you'll when the intakes are in place !

 

Speaking of intakes, these are always a troublesome spot in the Hasegawa kit and I see that Revell's follow the same path.. did I mention that this kit is very similar to the Japanese one ?

For a starte the splitter plates are a bit too narrow, so much that when the intakes are added they dont' touch the plates as they should do. Following the Revell approach would result in the edge of the intake touching the fuselage with the plates inside but in reality the intakes don't touch the fuselage side at the edge, they only touch the splitter plates. To sort the matter I widened the plates gluing some very thin (o.13 mm) plasticard strips on both sides

 

76b690d7-9575-40f1-ba8f-6ea0351b2cee.JPG

 

The picture shows the left already sanded to fit while on the right plate the strips have yet to be trimmed and blended in. I should mention here that I later sanded the rear of the plitter more as the plasticard strips were interfering with the intakes in these areas.

 

With the plates sorted it was time to glue the intakes in place and I now have a decent looking F-104 fuselage

 

be76d6ae-5f76-4e9f-8528-a84dd00dfa33.JPG

 

Unfortunately there are some gaps at the top and bottom on the intake-fuselage assembly, I'll sort this today. I believe that widening the rear end of the frton fuselage section may sort the problem, I may try this approach on my next Revell Starfighter ( I have 2 C in the stash).

The picture above shows one other modification I made to the kit, the radome tip

Revell have moulded the radome with room for a separate pitot tube. On my Starfighters I almost always replace this with metal tubing as blending in a plastic pitot often results in the part breaking. For this reason here I drilled a hole in the tip and inserted a metal tube with outer diameter of 0.9 mm and inner diameter of 0.5. I then glued on the exposed part of the tube a short cylinder of sprue from the same kit that was then sanded to form the tip of the cone. At the edge the metal tube is also sanded so that in theory when I insert a 0.5 outer diameter tube this will look as realistic as possible... we'll see how it goes

 

A couple of comments: I believe that the F-104 allows for a very simple kit even when supplying good detail. As such it's one of my favourite subjects for a quick build. Really with more dedication and without modifying the parts I could have probably built the whole airframe in a couple of days and completed the model in 4.

At the same time the Revell kit is a bit disappointing in terms of fit and in a couple of engineering choices. For this reason I've decided to stop searching for other Revell Gs and just keep buying Hasegawa kits. Mind, these aren't perfect either but at least they fit better... Now the problem is that Hasegawa made no C, I may try to modify their J and see what the result is like.

 

Edited by Giorgio N
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1 hour ago, Giorgio N said:

On my Starfighters I almost always replace this with metal tubing as blending in a plastic pitot often results in the part breaking. For this reason here I drilled a hole in the tip and inserted a metal tube with outer diameter of 0.9 mm and inner diameter of 0.5. I then glued on the exposed part of the tube a short cylinder of sprue from the same kit that was then sanded to form the tip of the cone. At the edge the metal tube is also sanded so that in theory when I insert a 0.5 outer diameter tube this will look as realistic as possible... we'll see how it goes

Smart solution there, G :clap: It looks like a Starfighter already! :clap:

 

Ciao

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Thanks everyone ! I've done some more work on the model and as the F-104 makes for simple subjects to build I managed to quickly have something that looks like a Stafighter... well, my mistake here, I should have taken a couple more pics but I got carried away and only realised this when I was quite far in the build process...

With the intakes sorted I could glue the wings in place, easy enough. The wing-fuselage joins needed some filler as the gaps were a bit too wide... correction fluid sorted the matter and I could then start priming.. followes by some more filling and sanding in a couple of spots, followed by priming... you know the routine here !

With the model primed I then acted like a kid and couldn't resist spraying a first coat of light grey

 

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Now really it's hard to tell if this is the final coat or the primer, trust me it's overall grey finish. I may give another very light coat that will then followd by some light postshading work. A very simple scheme !

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Done some postshading by spraying a darker grey around panel lines and in other areas to simulate shadows but can't say the result is all that visible.. guess I'll have to leave it to a wash to make the paint scheme a bit less monotone..

I've also started adding some colour, the black intake edges and the radome in FS 16473. The intake edges required some study of pictures as Klu Starfighters later had these repainted in the camouflage colours and I wasn't sure if the same applied to the overall grey scheme. 10 minutes on Google sorted the matter and black it was.

 

8a115ca5-a87d-4a22-9991-e9de16e1c921.JPG

 

Next colours to spray will be the various antenna covers, in natural fibreglass, and the antiglare panel. As this machine was built by Fiat, this panel will be sprayed in a dark olive green.

It was while checking pictures of antiglare panels that I noticed one not so small detail: Revell totally forgot the IR sensor fairing ! This is located right ahead of the windscreen, as visible in this nice picture of an early Dutch Starfighter

 

https://nimh-beeldbank.defensie.nl/memorix/10115b37-4485-332c-47c3-91c0c1fde45a

 

I will have to do something here, it's too visible a detail to be left out

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1 hour ago, Giorgio N said:

Done some postshading by spraying a darker grey around panel lines and in other areas to simulate shadows but can't say the result is all that visible.ÔĽŅ

Giorgio, you should probably use a much darker color to obtain some visible effect here; why don't you try with the trick you taught me, to wit using Vallejo Glaze medium to thin the color? I think you should get a very controllable effect, without fear of overdoing it.

And a panel line wash would add to that, complementing the final effect. Just a thought :wink: 

 

The overall paint job looks super smooth, BTW :clap: 

 

Ciao

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18 minutes ago, giemme said:

Giorgio, you should probably use a much darker color to obtain some visible effect here; why don't you try with the trick you taught me, to wit using Vallejo Glaze medium to thin the color? I think you should get a very controllable effect, without fear of overdoing it.

And a panel line wash would add to that, complementing the final effect. Just a thought :wink: 

 

The overall paint job looks super smooth, BTW :clap: 

 

Ciao

 

That is exactly the technique I used but guess I used a grey that wasn't dark enough. Of course I may still give it another go, just need to mask intakes and radome.

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Small but important update: you may have noticed that all previous pictures showed no seat in the cockpit. The reason was simply that I didn't have a seat ready yet !

The Revell kit only includes the Martin Baker GQ-7 seat retrofitted on the German (and other) Starfighters starting in the late '60s. Makes sense, as the box include Luftwaffe markings only, however in the F-104C box, that comes from the same set of moulds, they included a Lockheed C2, so I wonder, why not leave both seats in every box ?

Anyway, as Dutch Starfighters retained the C2 seat through their whole career, I had to find myself one such seat. I have a couple of Pavla resin C2s in the stash but I had decided that this kit model does not deserve a resin seat. Fortunately the Hasegawa F-104G/S box includes both the MB and the C2 seat.Having built a couple before with the MB seat, I realised that there was a C2 seat somewhere and after finding it I started adding a few details. Nothing major, just seat belts from wine bottle foil and a couple of ejection handles. I also had to shave the bottom of the seat to make this fit in the modified cockpit without hitting the canopy. The seat now looks like this

 

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There are a lot more details that could be added, for a starter the complicated harness system located on the sides of the seat, but this will do for this model. The red headrest needs some touching up but this is better done after the seat is glued in place as handling the seat inevitably removes red paint from the edges

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9 minutes ago, giemme said:

Wine bottle foil is a favorite of mine for this kind of jobÔĽŅ, toÔĽŅo

 

That sounds like a perfect  material and, I guess, there will be a bit arohnd at home ;)

 

Martin

Edited by RidgeRunner
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