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Norm! 1/48 Kinetic F-104G Marineflieger Norm 76


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I'm pleased to present my most recent build, Kinetic's 1/48 F-104G, their initial tool from 2019, representing aircraft 26+60 from Marinefliegergeschwader 2 towards the end of its service life, in the two-tone Norm 76 camouflage scheme. The Starfighter is displayed on a pre-made Zoukei-Mura base and features Eduard's resin Kormoran 1s.

 

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Like many of you, I imagine, when I sit down at the workbench, I just want to melt some plastic together, push some paint through an airbrush, and use some Japanese chemicals whose workings I don't entirely understand. But sometimes, my thoughts turn to that one kit in the stash. You know the one: filled with aftermarket goodies, with a full weathering approach and paint scheme already lovingly planned out, just waiting for the right moment, when you think your skills and confidence level can handle it. This is that kit for me. I wanted to just go for it.

 

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The build was mostly painless, though not without its quirks and hitches, most of which are my fault. Kinetic's engineering has really improved since my last kit of theirs, the 2013 tool Alpha Jet, which fought me severely a few years back. My main issue was with the wiggle room I had with the wing dihedral. I would have preferred a tighter fit with the wing tab inserts to avoid any uncertainty. I think I got the dihedral close to correct and, more importantly, set the same angle for both wings!

 

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I still find that if something can be posed open on a Kinetic kit, it's going to be work to show it closed. That said, I opted for closed airbrakes on this build, and it wasn't too bad; the interior brake detail just needed to be sanded down a bit, and I needed to build shelves from sheet styrene to keep them from falling into the openings.

 

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I kind of wish I had sealed up the electronics bay behind the cockpit, though. There's not enough detail on the included parts to really justify having it open without adding significant detail work. Too, the fuselage behind that bay is open to the hollow center of the model; I believe it's open on the real aircraft, leading to yet another bay, but I blanked it out with sheet styrene.

 

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I used a fair bit of aftermarket on this build: Eduard T-Face canopy masks; Eduard LooK instrument panel; Quinta 3D cockpit decals (for the close-enough F-104J, sourced before the invasion); Master Model metal pitot; Wolfpack resin Martin Baker Mk 7 ejection seat; and the aforementioned Eduard Kormoran 1s with launch pylons.

 

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The cockpit accessories were pretty much superfluous, since there's almost no visibility into the front office. The Eduard panel is fine; the Quinta 3D decals are a bit lackluster. I am, however, rather pleased with the Wolfpack ejection seat. My detail painting suffers from the harsh truth of the macro lens, but from RVD (respectful viewing distance) it looks the part. I used very thin strips of Tamiya tape, cut on an Infini cutting mat, to "paint" the yellow ejection handle stripes.

 

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I have a love-hate relationship with the Kormorans, I must confess. I hadn't worked with resin at all before this build, and though with the right tools (and proper safety precautions) I was able to wrestle them into shape, they're not actually both the same shape at this point. One is ever so slightly longer than the other, as they were rear-mounted on their casting blocks and I learned my resin sawing techniques on the fly.

 

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They look properly intimidating on the aircraft, but there's a catch. The Eduard Kormorans are, I believe, designed for the Hasegawa F-104; in fitting them to the Kinetic wing, I modified the existing hard point wing holes, with the result that the missiles sit too close to the main wheels, something I didn't anticipate while dry fitting everything. No way a crew chief lets my version of the Starfighter take off with the Kormorans' fins tearing into the tires. . .

 

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Paints were a mix of lacquers for overall coverage and acrylics for detail work. A black primer base of Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black went down first, and I used a black basing technique to attempt to create surface variation and the impression of wear. My source photos of 26+60 and its stablemates all show significant fading and scuffing of the paintwork, particularly the Basalt Grey (RAL 7012) top half.

 

I used AK Real Colors Basalt Grey (RC212) for the upper color, and it thinned down very nicely for the mottle coat. I purposely tried to let more of the black primer show through in the blend coat to get that faded look from the source photos. The nose cone received a blend of Real Colors ADC Grey (RC211) mixed equally with Insignia White to represent heavy fading.

 

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The White Aluminum (RAL 9006) underside was painted with Hataka Orange Line White Aluminum (C190), and I used the same restrained mottle/blend approach as with the top color. One note about the Hataka version of RAL 9006, though -- I was under the impression that RAL 9006 was a color name rather than an actual metallic tone. The Hataka paint has metallic flakes, not so many as a "real" metallic lacquer but enough to be noticeable. The final dull coat with Winsor and Newton Galeria Matt knocked the shine down to a more or less acceptable level.

 

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For the high visibility RAL 2005 orange on the wing tip tanks, I used Real Colors Luminous Orange (RC207) with a hint of their Insignia White (RC222) for fading, laid down over my new favorite primer, Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Pink. It's not just for anime figurines anymore! The pink primer covered the existing black primer quite readily, and the thin coat of orange I laid down on top of the pink really popped. I'm completely sold on using pink primer for yellows, reds, and oranges at this point. They'll be vivid, but I figure it's easier to tone down a too-bright red or orange than it is to pump up the visual volume of a dull and dark shade.

 

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I decided against an overall panel line wash for this build. I've certainly employed the technique before, but my source photos don't show significant panel line definition. I picked out a few significant panel lines using a thinned Paynes Grey oil wash. I used a slightly thinned Warm Grey oil paint to attempt additional fading and wear on the upper half of the aircraft. The effect turned out more like a filter than the Rinaldi "oil paint rendering" technique I was going for, but the end result is sufficiently run down for my purposes.

 

The in-box decals come courtesy of Cartograf, and they behaved as one expects them to, given their provenance. Not too many stencils were provided, but there's still sufficient busy-ness about the aircraft to break up any surface monotony. I laid down an Alclad Aqua Gloss coat before placing the decals, and employed copious amounts of Micro Sol and Set, but I still got a bit of silvering on some of the smaller stencils, and I fully attribute that to my own error rather than the decals. The larger decals went down without much fuss, and artful photography and angles eliminate most of the unfortunate silvering issues for the smaller decals.

 

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If you've made it this far, thanks for reading and for taking a look! I'm pleased overall with the outcome. I feel like I stretched my skills a bit and I have to consider this one of my best efforts since I picked the hobby back up four years ago. Definitely room for improvement, but from an appropriate distance, it certainly looks the part of an imposing Baltic Sea enforcer, ready to complicate the day of a Warsaw Pact frigate, and it has nice shelf presence. To anyone associated with the Marineflieger, I apologize for the inaccuracies but hope you can see it as the earnest tribute I intend.

 

Chris Baer

Edited by Chris Baer
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