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Modellers Data File #36 - The F-104 Starfighter (9781838045807) MA Publications


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Modellers Data File #36 - The F-104 Starfighter (9781838045807)

MA Publications




The F-104 Starfighter (or missile with a man in it) was Lockheed's & Kelly Johnson's attempt to reverse the trend for large more complex fighters then being developed. It was basically an engine with very little airframe surrounding it. The aircraft had a short life in the US with them going towards heavier and more complex aircraft. The Starfighter did have much more success with NATO nations, though it would later transpire that this success was gained someway by Lockheed bribing officials in some of those countries. The G model was the most numerous model made with over 1100 being built, many under licence.  




This book is the 36th in the long line of books in the Modeller’s Datafile series, and arrives as a perfect-bound A4+ book in portrait format with 184 pages within the card cover.  If you’re familiar with the series, you’ll know the content is split between the real aircraft and modelling them, but here’s a more thorough breakdown:



Chapter I

Seeing Starts - The Birth of the Starfighter

Chapter II

The F-104A to F-104D - Starfighters in US Service

Chapter III

The Canadair CF-104 Starfighter - Canadian Built F-104s

Chapter IV

Export Starfighters - The F/TF/RF-104F to F-104S

Chapter V

International Users - Starfighters worldwide

Colour Side Views

Eight pages of colour side profiles of various types and operators

Modelling the Starfighter

  • Vietnam Warrior - 1:48 Hasegawa F-104C (Andy Renshaw)
  • Sleek Greek - 1:48 Hasegawa TF-104S (George Roidis)
  • Supersonic Starfigher - 1:72 Revell F-104G (Jezz Coleman)
  • Bunesfighter - 1:48 Eduard F-104G (Rene Van Der Hart)
  • Marineflieger Startfighter - 1:48 Eduard F-104G (Oliver Soulley)
  • Super Star - 1:48 Kinetic F-104G (James Ashton)
  • Marineflieger Missile - 1:48 Kinetic F-104G (Jezz Coleman)
  • Samurai Starfighter - 1:48 Kinetic F-104J (Dawid Branski)
  • Dutch Master - 1:48 Kinetic F-104G (Barry Koerver)
  • Tiny TF-104G - 1:144 Revell Tf-104G (Tomasz Lubczynski)
  • Danish Star - 1:48 Kinetic F-104G (Marcin Torbinski)

Appendix I - Technical Diagrams

10 pages with pictures

Appendix II - Walkarounds

  • Belgian F-104G (luc Colin)
  • Japanese F-104J (Z Tanuki) (The text calls ts an F-105J !)
  • Luftwaffe TF-104G 

Appendix III - Understanding the Subject

4 pages of Aircraft Profiles

Appendix IV - Kitography

Available accessories, kits & decals at time of writing

Appendix V - Starfighter Variants

4 pages concerning the different variants of the Starfighter

Startfighter Gallery

22 pages of colour photos of the Starfighter


2 Pages of 1/72 plans.




There is a lot of text on the type during the first half of the book that cover the airframe beginning through prototype, the initial in-service details, followed by the subsequent upgrades to capabilities. After the US Aircraft there is more consideration to the other nations which then went on to use the type  The modelling side of the book begins now, and extends to 11 builds of mostly 1:48 Kinetic & Hasegawa kits, with a 1:72 Revell kit; and a 1:144 Revell Kit for a little variation, that are carried out by various modellers, the names of whom you can see in brackets in the list above.  My only criticism of the book would be that it would be better to maybe have less more detailed builds of the main 1:48 kits as a couple are quite spares in modelling details. 




The next section consists of a number of walk around photos printed on a cream background that shows the airframes in close-up detail, all of which is grist for the mill for us modellers, and includes some nice photos of the landing gear, airframe and sensors all in suitable sizes.




The final sections are the Kitography, which I’ve always felt is a tiny bit redundant as things change so quickly in our hobby, as we now have helpful sites like Scalemates that are updated constantly.  It’s only three pages though, so nothing to fret about if that’s not your thing. lastly the Gallery section could be considered padding given the large number of photos available on-line now. 





It’s a good reference for the Starfighter as a whole, and is a handy one-stop source of information for anyone wanting to improve their knowledge of the type.  There is a lot of information within and a lot of excellent photos in full colour, which one of the bonuses of a book about a modern fast jet over a WWII type.  Well worth a read, and it will be good source of reference down the line. As a modelling book I feel that more time devoted to modelling might help the  perceived customer base more than the more numerous but less detailed builds included. Still overall recomended.




Review sample courtesy of


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Fair review Julien. These publications are always a decent introduction and pretty comprehensive for the price. 

I was surprised to see so many builds though and yet not one build review of any of the 1/32 scale kits- arguably a significant omission or not?  Not sure myself but it did make me wonder

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22 hours ago, JohnT said:

I was surprised to see so many builds though and yet not one build review of any of the 1/32 scale kits- arguably a significant omission or not?  Not sure myself but it did make me wonder

If the book had a 1/32 build included, I would be a great deal more inclined to buy it. Having said that, I own the DACO Publications book and that will never be superseded as a modeller's photographic reference (so I might be a bit biased, here).


Modellers Data Files are generally well worth buying. I hope that this volume is a major success for the company. 



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Yes the builds are too many of similar kits and seem to favour 1:48, they could do with being a bit more inclusive; as well as cutting the numbers with a bit more depth to the builds.,

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  • 1 year later...

Nice book, even though Starfighters of German JaBoG fighter bomber units, like on the cover, never flew with Sidewinders.





Edited by Hook
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  • 6 months later...

What I noted from the more recent MDF's is that the kit/build sections are along the "those are all old kits and not worth considering" lines that Detail & Scale introduced in the mid 90s. While I appreciate that the more recent 1/48 kits are likely vastly superior to e.g. the Monogram (and even more so to anything before it), there may be some modellers with sizable stashes (how can I come to that idea?) who may be interested in seeing at least a short review of the older kits.

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