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Japanese cold War QRA - JASDF F-104J Hokkaido (1/72 Hasegawa) - FINALLY FINISHED


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I'm going to build my 1/72 Hasegawa F-104J as a JASDF interceptor based at Chitose on Hokkaido.


It'll be roughly like this (pic is public domain via wikicommons):




I'm going to do an aircraft based on Hokkaido. I really love Hokkaido, having been lucky enough to visit about six times when I lived in Beijing a few years back. Hokkaido is beautiful in winter, summer and autumn - I never got there in spring. 


It's also way north - the name Hokkaido literally means "north sea prefecture". (Well, the Japanese character in its Chinese root refers to an older form of administrative division, but prefecture is near enough; that's like a state or province in other countries). 


During the Cold War, the air base at Chitose, near Sapporo, Hokkaido's capital, mostly had to intercept Russian aircraft. 


Of course, these days, most JASDF interceptions are against Chinese aircraft - in the last decade or so China's air and naval air forces have grown in capacity and confidence. But there are still plenty of Russian intercepts.


[If you're interested, these articles (1, 2, and 3) (and many others that google will cough up) spell out how many intercepts the JASDF is doing in current times. For example, in 2016 there were 1,168 scrambles - more than three a day - against 851 Chinese aircraft and the rest mostly Russian. That was the peak year in recent times, but for the fiscal year 2019 (which ended in March this year) there were 675 intercepts against Chinese aircraft, a six per cent increase. I don't know if that's a V shaped or a K shaped curve - haha -  but it's interesting anyway. There were 947 total intercepts, down from 999 the previous year. Of the 947, Russians accounted for 268. Of those 947 total intercepts, the Northern air force did 198 of these intercepts flying from the base on Hokkaido.]


Today they fly F-15s but it used to be F-104Js...


...which is what I will be building shortly.


The Hasegawa F-104 is - as far as I can tell and I am by no means anything more than a lay person on the F-104 or the kits of it - meant to be the best of the 1/72 offerings. I am sure there is plenty that could be improved but I will go with an OOB build except I will try to add the underbelly pylons and a pair of Sidewinders because it's not much use being an interceptor without those.


Pics of the kit to follow in a few days.

Edited by bianfuxia
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A worthy and welcome subject in our GB. The background information to this subject is also very interesting - the JASDF is clearly a busy organisation! :thumbsup:

The Hasegawa kit is a good one from what I can recall of my own experience with it but sure there's a few builds across this forum that will offer better critique and tips on how to make the most of it if you do a quick search.

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Great subject choice and great kit :) No major problems with the kit and the details are also OK for the most part, you can make really good looking kit straight from the box. Just (as with any Starfighter) pay extra attention when gluing the intakes.


Will be following this for sure. :) 

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Thanks! I hope my build does justice to your interest!


Today I had a moment to photograph the kit although I won't be able to get started for a little while yet.




The kit I got is actually a twin pack - it has a single seater and a twin seater in it. I bought this at a nice price from HLJ in Japan while I was still in DC. The shipping to there was way better than it presently is to Australia where I now am, due, like pretty much everything this year, to COVID. 


It looks like a nice kit. I can't quite tell if it includes the pylons for the under-belly sidewinders. As with lots of Hasegawa kits it doesn't come with the missiles, of course, but I have a couple in my spares box I can use. I feel like an armed aircraft is appropriate for this GB.






As I mentioned I will do an aircraft based on Hokkaido. It will have the tail art of the bear - Hokkaido apparently has tons of bears although luckily we never ran into any while climbing Mt Yotei or hiking around the Niseko area or further north at Daisetzu National Park on our trips (especially important as we had a little kid with us).


Sorry - there are a few digressions as I think fondly of Hokkaido and wonder if I will ever get back there in this crazy new world. Hopefully some day soon.


Anyway, this is the tail art I'll be using - aircraft 8552:




Not exactly sure what the two red stars are there for - a bit risque in a ridiculous 70s soft-porn film way (so I assume, haha). Anyway I think it looks cool so that's the one I'm going for.





Edited by bianfuxia
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  • 1 month later...

I finally have had an opportunity to get started on this, although I haven't done much. 




I dug through my stuff to find the set of Revell pilots and found one who fits perfectly in that seat. I usually prefer to have pilots in my models where possible, but especially for an interceptor group build - no point having an interceptor if it doesn't have someone to fly it up to 50,000 feet chasing Badgers and Bears.


The instrument panel decal got a bit munted but it worked well enough I guess.


As for:


On 11/14/2020 at 8:20 AM, Col. said:

Feel free to continue musing on Hokkaido as it helps add a personal touch to your subject choice. So are we getting to watch a double-build? :bounce:


Yeah maybe... :)


I painted the seats and cockpit of the two seater. Let's see if I can manage to keep both going at the same time. 


Hokkaido memory of this post:


We visited Cape Kamui which lies due west of Sapporo. It's very beautiful there. Way out on the cape path I looked up and saw something small flying very high and very fast - it left a contrail which was how I saw it. I felt like it must have been a fighter given the speed.




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  • 3 weeks later...

My aunt who owns a house on Hokkaido where we have been lucky enough to stay was in town yesterday which prompted me afterwards to go and progress my F-104 a little.

Slow progress, but I am still moving along! I now need to crack out the spray paint on the intake parts because the next step is to get the fuselage together.




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Just for fun I gave my pilot a Japanese flag patch on his shoulder...



You can barely see it with the naked eye but it's kinda cool.




In this close up (above) you can also see how the main instrument panel decal somehow curved (I mean, I did it, but it was a mistake).


Next step is sealing up the fuselage. I sprayed the intake interiors already too.


The other thing I have noticed is that it's hard to choose a colour for Asian skin tones. Like white skin, of course, there are many variations. But all the "flesh" colours I've ever seen are for white people (no surprise there). For this pilot I used deck tan but I am not sure that was right. What do you all use if you want to paint a figure who is not white?

Edited by bianfuxia
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I'm soon to be in spray painting territory, having sealed up the front of the fuselage last night. Bless Hasegawa for the fit of its kits!


I'm hoping to use these two AIM-9 on the underside (though repainted - I am not sure why I ever painted them like that). 






And here is another story from my travels to Hokkaido.

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On 1/20/2021 at 5:45 AM, Col. said:

Nice progress and a cracking story of your day on the mountain :thumbsup:

thank you!


Made some more progress today. Got from here:









To here:



It goes together pretty well although you need to be super careful joining the front and the back together. It seems quite flimsy and vulnerable really. Pretty sure it wouldn't take much for this kit to fall apart. I didn't want to use superglue because I wanted some time to line it up smoothly (and in the end I pulled it apart to try again, which I couldn't have done with super glue.


Anyway it's coming along nicely I think!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Getting close to being ready to spray paint this F-104 now. This afternoon I finished up the last painting in the cockpit and put the canopy on.


The join between the two halves is ok on the left side but not great on the right. I'm not sure how much I want to try to tackle that.





The canopy is in three parts - windscreen, roof and rear window. It fits PERFECTLY. 




What's my pilot doing?





1. Taking a selfie with a GoPro (even though they didn't have them back then)

2. Practicing "conducting diplomatic relations" (you know, the bird!) (Yes, I know the bird, Goose).

3. Giving a COVID-safe virtual fist bump to his wingman from a safe distance of several meters and masked up behind a plastic canopy.


I don't know, but I saw that silhouette by coincidence at my desk and figured it looked cool.


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Coming along slowly with this one. I've done the exhaust area now, using a Tamiya spray which is a kind of light gun metal. 


I realize now I've done it back to front - it probably would have made more sense to spray the main colour then mask off the rest and leave this area. Instead I now have to mask all this again, the tricky corners etc, twice.


Anyway whatever, it is moving along and that's the main thing. I gave it a respray today as I saw a spot that was a bit underdone. So tomorrow once this is dry, or maybe the next day is safer, I will re-do all the masking in reverse and hit the rest of it with Tamiya gloss aluminium (I think).


BTW I have given up on the two-seater for now, I have three GB builds all facing a soonish deadline!




The pic makes it look way worse than it is, mainly because I'd literally just sprayed it a second before I took the photo. Once dry it will look nice.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well I figured this one would have been finished by now and I'd be struggling with my USS Long Beach but at the moment it's the other way around. 


I decided I couldn't live with the messy join between forward and aft fuselage sections, so I am doing some remedial work. 


I still hope to get this done, thanks to the extension! 




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  • bianfuxia changed the title to Japanese cold War QRA - JASDF F-104J Hokkaido (1/72 Hasegawa) - eject eject eject!

Sadly this one is flaming out of the GB. The time I thought I'd have this week just gone to wrap it up didn't materialize and it was still a little way from the end zone. 


I'll still finish it up soon hopefully.

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Thanks - and yes totally! I'm like, can't you make your own dinner and drive yourself to all these birthday parties? You just turned six, I mean you're practically an adult...hahaha. 🤣


Actually it was mostly office work that got in the way, last week was unusually busy. There were indeed two birthday parties this weekend but both for my nieces/nephews - can't really skip those. "Yeah I can't make it to your kid's first birthday, sis, I've got, uh, a very important deadline with that, um, form F-104 I've been filling out....there are people in the UK totally expecting it..." 


Next week maybe I can wrap this one up. But at least I will finish my USS Long Beach in this GB.

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  • bianfuxia changed the title to Japanese cold War QRA - JASDF F-104J Hokkaido (1/72 Hasegawa) - FINALLY FINISHED

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