Hasegawa 1/72 TF-102A Conversion

KIT #: ?
DECALS: Probably two options
REVIEWER: Martin Pohl
NOTES: Xtraparts TF-102 conversion


 The F-102 was developed from the XF-92A delta wing research aircraft of the late 1940s. The prototype YF-102 made its first flight on 24 October 1953, but was lost to an accident nine days later. The second aircraft flew on 11 January 1954, confirming a dismal performance. Transonic drag was much higher than expected, and the aircraft was limited to Mach 0.98. To solve the problem and save the F-102, Convair embarked on a major redesign, incorporating the recently discovered area rule, while at the same time simplifying production and maintenance. The redesign entailed lengthening the fuselage by 11 ft (3.35 m) and "pinched" at the mid section (dubbed the "Coke Bottle configuration"), with two large fairings on either side of the engine nozzle, with revised intakes and a new, narrower canopy. A more powerful model of J57 was fitted, and the aircraft structure was lightened. The first revised aircraft, designated YF-102A flew on 20 December 1954, 118 days after the redesign started, exceeding Mach 1 the next day. The revised design demonstrated a speed of Mach 1.22 and a ceiling of 53,000 ft (16,154 m).

 The production F-102A had the Hughes MG-3 fire control system, later upgraded in service to the MG-10. It had a three-segment internal weapons bay under the fuselage for air-to-air missiles. Initial armament was three pairs of GAR-1/2/3/4 (Later re-designated as AIM-4) Falcon missiles, which included both infrared and semi-active radar homing variants. The doors of the two forward bays each had tubes for 12 FFAR rockets (for a total of 24) with initially 2 in (5.1 cm) being fitted and later 2.75 in (70 mm) replacing them. The F-102 was later upgraded to allow the carriage of up to two GAR-11/AIM-26 Nuclear Falcon missiles in the center bay. The larger size of this weapon required redesigned center bay doors with no rocket tubes. Plans were considered to fit the MB-1 Genie nuclear rocket to the design, but although a Genie was test fired from a YF-102A in May 1956, it was never adopted.

To train F-102A pilots, the TF-102A trainer was developed, with 111 eventually manufactured. The aircraft was fitted with a side-by-side cockpit to facilitate ease of pilot training. This required a redesign of the cockpit and nose incorporating a set of vortex generators on the top of the cockpit to prevent flow separation under certain circumstances, and repositioning of the intake ducts. Despite the many changes, the aircraft was combat-capable, although this variant was predictably slower, only reaching subsonic speeds in level flight. 


I used the very old Hasegawa kit – I guess it is the first issue of the F-102 of Hase in the very old boxing. I dont't think I have to go in detail on this one. (For those who'd like to see what the kit looks like, visit this preview. Ed) As conversion kits a I had the all VAC formed by Airmodell and the Xtra Parts conversion set. I decided to use the Xtra Parts set, cause the Airmodell one just comes in two front halfs and the canopy, so all cockpit interior has to be done by scratch then. The Xtra Parts set comes with two injection molded front halfs, two white metal ejector seats, two white metal intakes and VAC formed cockpit details and front landing gear housing plus decals with the numbers “0-41267”. 


This was my first conversion, so where to start, the complete build lasted for more than one year with a lot of sitting aside, cause of “I can't see this anymore” of the builder. So the here following is the story of my try and error, so most if not all of the following are just problems above keyboard :).

At first step I thought it could be build like a typical plane; prepare the parts, put together the cockpit interior and paint it, glue the complete cockpit to one fuselage half and  so on – but this was not possible. The pit interior was too narrow to fit in the front halves of the Xtra Parts set. So I - well you can say - glued it into one half and then glued the second half to it to complete the front. This then meant painting the pit inside the fuselage. The canyons on both sides between the pit and the fuselage I then filled with dental wax, cause this easier to get in shape, when inside.

The VAC formed instrument panel is really nice; there a lot of sinks for most of the instruments. I've closed them all, cause to paint those instruments when the panel is already inside the cockpit is impossible, at least for me. So I've done a decal for the instruments. This I made from a scanned image. 

“The first cut is the deepest” I've learned from Rod Steward or Sheryl Crow and in my case at the wrong place. I cut the Hasegawa fuselages about 6mm too wide to the rear. So that meant to do a second cut and then fill everything. After all that filling and sanding the existence of things like panel lines are only theoretical. But then came the weapon bay – oh dear – There were gaps, no , canyons again, everywhere. To shorten this; I've learned a lot about dental wax and its opportunities and the guy who sold me the wax learned that he can sell wax to scale modelers too.

The rest of the construction went OK if one keeps in mind that I was working with a 20 or even 30 year old Hasegawa kit – a lot of filling and sanding.

When looking at detail pictures of a TF-102 one can see so called vortex generators attached to the canopy, cause without those vortex generators the canopy started shaking at higher speeds. Needles to say, those you have to do yourself. So I cut 0.8mm wide stripes of thin aluminum, then cut about 2.8 long pieces of that and bend those. The first set I glued into place after I have masked the canopy. Because of all the handling during the painting and weathering process I lost all but one. Guess what; yes I've also learned a lot of cutting and bending aluminum.

So, to end this wining, the main problem here was not the Hasegawa kit or the Xtra Parts conversion set, it was a failure in preparation and planning on my side.

For all doing this too I'd recommend the following:

The white metal intakes are in one piece which give no room for deepness. It probably would be a good idea to use those for forming new intakes in two pieces.

Cut the cockpit interior a little wider then seen on the VAC formed part (about 2mm on each side), then you don't have the problems to fill all the gaps.

The instruction of the Xtra Parts are a little misleading for the main cut. If you look better to the references (than me) you can see the weapon bay is carried by a TF-102  too. This saves a lot of filling and sanding.


When I was searching the net for information and pictures for the TF-102 I came across a picture showing the TF-102 “Bubbles” assigned to the 32nd FIS at Soesterburg AB, Netherlands in 1963. One of the main advantages here is, it carry the old style wing, so there is no need to convert the wing too.

I didn't have the typical gray all those F-102 and TF-102 were carrying, so I mixed it myself. Nor did I have all the decals needed, even the decals coming with the Hasegawa kit were useless, cause the disintegrated when got wet. So all decals are self made too.  

The fin is painted too, cause this I find easier then doing it with a decal. 

Well in the end the US insignia placed near the cockpit a slightly out of place, but at that point I didn't want to redo that again – I can live with it. 

All the pictures (in the end it were three) showed  Bubbles very weathered and flaked off color in the middle section of the fuselage. So I decided to test the so called salt method. So after 3 base coats to level everything a coat of silver was sprayed here. Then the salt was applied – well this won't be my method doing this, you get you bird wet an then apply the salt and repeat that for 30 times unit enough salt decided to stay there. OK after this ZEN therapy of applying salt to an 1/72 airframe, the main color is sprayed. Then the typical gloss cote for the decals and now it's time for the truth; get rid of the salt, take the plane into water and rub the salt away – well I got rid of the salt and the decals too – so, notice to myself: before washing the salt of, get a second sealing coat on top of the decals.



This is my first conversion and I had to struggle with everything, all parts and at most with myself. So the main thing I can say; if I'm able to get a plane out of that which one could look at, then everybody can do it – that's for sure.

So, does anyone need this conversion, I don't know. It's a lot of work for something sitting in the shelf in the end, but that's what scale modeling is all about, right? If you want to do a TF-102 and can find the Xtra Parts set, take it, cause with the Airmodell. it is for sure more work. I haven't seen that much TF-102 in 1/72 but those I've seen were all made with the Xtra Parts set. 



Convair F-102 Delta Dagger by Wayne Mutza, Schiffer Military History Book and the internet.

Martin Pohl

April 2010

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