Trumpeter 1/48 F-106B Delta Dart

KIT #: 02892
PRICE: 7840 yen on sale at www.hlj.com
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES:

 

HISTORY

The F-106 served in the continental US, Alaska, and Iceland, as well as for brief periods in Germany and South Korea. The F-106 was the second highest sequentially numbered P/F- aircraft to enter service under the old number sequence (the F-111 was highest), before the system was reset under the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system. In service, the F-106's official name, "Delta Dart," was rarely used, and the aircraft was universally known simply as "The Six."

Although contemplated for use in the Vietnam War the F-106 never saw combat, nor was it exported to foreign users. Following the resolution of initial teething problems in particular an ejection seat that killed the first 12 pilots to eject from the aircraft  its exceptional performance made it very popular with its pilots. After the cancellation of their own Avro Arrow, the Canadian government briefly considered purchasing the F-106C/D.

In an effort to standardize aircraft types, the USAF was directed to conduct Operation Highspeed, a flyoff competition between the USAF F-106A and the U.S. Navy F4H-1 (F-4B) Phantom, which was not only as capable as the F-106 as a missile-armed interceptor, but could also carry as large a bomb load as the Republic F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber. The Phantom was the winner, but would first be tasked to escort and later replace the F-105 fighter-bomber in the late 1960s before replacing older interceptors in Air Defense Command in the 1970s.

The F-106 was progressively updated in service, with improved avionics, a modified wing featuring a noticeable conical camber, an infrared search and track system, streamlined supersonic wing tanks which provided virtually no degradation to overall aircraft performance, better instrumentation, and features like an inflight refuelling receptacle and an arrestor hook for landing emergencies.

Air-to-air combat testing suggested "The Six" was a reasonable match for the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II in a dogfight, with superior high-altitude turn performance and overall maneuverability (aided by the aircraft's lower wing loading). However, the Phantom had better radar operated by an additional crewman and could carry a load of up to four radar-guided Sparrow and four infrared Sidewinder missiles, while the Falcon missiles proved a disappointment for dogfighting over Vietnam. The F-4 had a higher thrust/weight ratio, superior climb performance, and better high speed/low-altitude maneuverability, and could be used as a fighter-bomber. Air combat experience over Vietnam showed the need for increased pilot visibility and the utility of a built-in gun, which had been added to the "E" variant of USAF Phantoms.

In 1972, some F-106As were upgraded in Project Six Shooter that involved fitting the F-106 with a new bubble canopy, a canopy without the metal bracing along the top. This greatly improved pilot visibility. Also added was an optical gunsight, and provision for a single M61 Vulcan 20 mm cannon. The M61 Vulcan had 650 rounds of ammunition in the center weapons bay and it replaced the AIM-26 Super Falcon or Genie.

The F-15A started replacing the F-106 in 1981, with "The Sixes" typically passed on to Air National Guard units. The F-106 remained in service in various USAF and ANG units until 1988. Later viable airframes were converted to QF-106s, the last being expended in 1997.  

THE KIT

 This is the first injection molded two seat F-106 ever kitted. Previously, builders would have to rely on various conversions, often quite expensive, for the older Monogram kit to be able to have a model of this variant. Thanks to Trumpeter, that is not a requirement.

Based on their recently released F-106A, the B version includes new fuselage halves, cockpit and cockpit fittings. The rest of the airframe is the same as in the single seat aircraft. Starting in the cockpit are two nicely done six piece ejection seats with photo etch harness. In fact, most of the p.e. included in the kit is destined for the interior. I'm not sure why Trumpeter thought it important, but each of the two control sticks is two pieces. Personally, I think they could have done just fine with a single piece. The tub is a single piece with raised detail. Trumpeter provides decals for the side consoles as well as the instrument panels. Additional separate tub items are the throttle quadrants.

The nose landing gear bay is six pieces with a three piece nose gear leg and separate one piece wheels. While Trumpeter would like to have you install the gear bay with the nose gear, I'd do some test fitting to see if it could be added later. A full tailpipe starting at the last compressor stage is provided for the rear and you get a full weapons bay. Later you can decide whether to build it with the bay doors closed or with the weapons visible.

As with all jets that have side intakes, these are separate pieces. While there is no engine inlet detail past these pieces, the exhaust does blank things off. The lower wing is a single piece and into it fits a three piece wheel well. Right and left upper wings are separate and the kit provides separate elevons and flaps. There are optional hinges so these can be shown lowered or raised. Also separate is the two piece fin which has a separate rudder. Air brakes are also separate and can be posed open. The instructions suggest painting the inside of these white, but I think they were probably chromate green.

Since the large canopy can be posed open, you get all the various internal bracings. The canopy actuating piston also raises up the anti-glare shield for the rear seater and this option is provided. The kit has a separate nose cone. No weight information is provided and I don't think any is needed as this aircraft has a long wheelbase.

The main gear assemblies are suitably complex and include the braces for the main gear doors. The inner doors also have actuating arms. Note that on every F-106A I have seen, the central area on the inner doors has been unpainted metal as apparently the main wheels rub on this spot. You are offered a separate RAT but this was quite infrequently seen extended.

As mentioned, you can either put a fully closed door on the weapons bay or you can populate it. There is a single Genie for the rear of the bay and if you decide to also install the Falcons, apparently these can only be modeled extended. For the open bay option you are provided the multi-section doors along with the various hinges and the trapezes for eash of the Falcons.

Instructions are well done with Gunze paint references. F-106s were predominately overall ADC Grey with gloss black radomes and anti-glare panel. Two options are provided. One for the 119 FIS, New Jersey ANG and another for the 159 FIS, Florida ANG. Just about every F-106 unit had a two seater so if you have markings for any Delta Dart unit, all you will really need to do is change the serial number and add the additional ejection seat warning triangle. The decals are nicely printed, though to my eyes the red and blue are a bit too light.

I have provided photos of both planes from my slide collection. Note a couple of things. In the 119 FIS plane, the inside of the speed brake is definitely not white, but dark chromate green. Note also that this plane has a red cover over the nose to protect the temperamental electronics from the heat of the sun. You can see on the 159 FIS plane that the black anti-glare panel curved forward. This is not shown in the painting guide.  This is not always there so it is best to find a photo of the exact aircraft to verify this feature. Note also that the 159 FIS plane does not have the red forward section of the intake splitter plate shown in the painting guide.The differences in the two shades of ADC Grey are very much due to lighting.

CONCLUSIONS

 I for one and quite pleased to see this being kitted. It has been decades since I last built a 1/48 F-106 and I very much look forward to building this one.  

REFERENCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convair_F-106_Delta_Dart

August 2015

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