Ben 1/100 F-104G Starfighter

KIT #: A28
PRICE: 300 yen
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1987 boxing


The F-104G was the main production version of the Starfighter with 1,122 aircraft produced as multi-role fighter-bombers. Manufactured by Lockheed, and under license by Canadair and a consortium of European companies which included Messerschmitt/MBB, Dornier, Fiat, Fokker, and SABCA. The type featured strengthened fuselage and wing structure, increased internal fuel capacity, an enlarged vertical fin, strengthened landing gear with larger tires, and revised flaps for improved combat maneuvering. Upgraded avionics included a new Autonetics NASARR F15A-41B radar with air-to-air and ground mapping modes, the Litton LN-3 Inertial Navigation System (the first on a production fighter), and an infrared sight.

The selection of the F-104G as NATO's main fighter bomber was rocked by scandal when it was discovered that Lockheed (not for the first and not for the last time) had bribed political and military leaders to win the contract. So 'hot' an aircraft was the 104 that WWII ace Eric Hartmann was forced to retire from the Bundeswaffe after his strong and vocal opposition to the aircraft, which had a very poor initial safety record with the German Air Force. It eventually went on to have a good safety record. The last military Starfighters were retired from the Italian Air Force in 2004. Some are still being operated by civilians.


Surprisingly, the F-104 has been boxed in this scale by a rather large number of companies including Heller, Starfix, Faller, Revell, Takara, UPC and Tamiya in addition to Ben. In the past Ben has reboxed Tamiya kits and it may be that this is from that source, though it also could be Takara. I am sure someone knows for sure, but I do not. Regardless, the kit is actually quite nice.

There is engraved panel line detail and the shape seems to be about right. There is no cockpit, though a pilot in a seat shape is provided, which is about standard for the time period. The wing is a single piece as it is on most Starfighter kits of any scale and in this case the two wings are molded with the lower fuselage/main gear wells. There is a separate nose gear well that incorporates the gear doors. Main doors ae separate. The main gear are in right and left sides with separate wheels while the nose gear incorporates the nose wheel. Main gear doors are provided. The gear can be modeled for in flight display, though there is no stand provided.

Engine intake sides are separate and the intakes are shallow, but this is not an issue with the 104 as the opening is quite small. A separate burner can and one-piece tailplane are provided. Wing tip tanks are in upper and lower halves and for weapons you get rocket pods molded in with the wing pylons as well as fuselage pylons and a pair of Sidewinder shapes. On the ventral strake, the tail hook is molded in place.

Instructions are well done and in several languages. There are markings for two planes. One is a German plane with MFG 2 in dark grey over silver and the other with 323 Squadron, Dutch Air Force in dark green/grey over sky grey. The decals are a bit thick but are nicely printed. How effective they are nearly 30 years later is unknown, but I don't think you will have any aftermarket options in this regard. The paint chart uses Tamiya paint which only enhances my suspicions that this is the Tamiya kit reboxed.


1/100 scale is actually quite popular and one where the modeler can really find quite a few kits. I won this one in a raffle, but have seen them for sale at various venues. If you don't have the space of anything large, or just want something a tad different, this would be an excellent choice.


September 2016


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