Hasegawa 1/48 TF-104G Starfighter
KIT #: 07240
PRICE: 2520 yen
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2006 release. Basic boxing

1,122 aircraft of the main version, the F-104G, were 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.

Thanks to the rather high accident rate, mostly due to pilots not used to the high performance characteristics of the plane, 220 combat-capable trainer version of F-104G; the TF-104G, were produced. The aircraft had no cannon or centerline pylon, reduced internal fuel thanks to the need to add the second cockpit. One aircraft used by Lockheed as a demonstrator with the civil registration number
N104L, was flown by Jackie Cochran to set three women’s world speed records in 1964. This aircraft later served in the Netherlands. A pair of two-seat TF-104Gs and a single-seat F-104G joined the Dryden inventory in June 1975.

One of the first boxings of the F-104 in this scale by Hasegawa was the TF-104DJ, which I built back in 2006. Not surprisingly, this kit contains many of the same pieces as did that one, but differs by adding bits specific to the G model. There are also pieces which are only used on the single seaters, so you do have a few pieces that will not be used.

You get two seven piece ejection seats of the proper type for the NATO birds. The tub has raised console detail and there are decals to fit over these and the two instrument panels. There are also a pair of control sticks. Rudder pedals are basically not there, but most won't be concerned about that. There are replacement cockpits in resin for those who want all the detail.

There are some holes to open  before cloding the fuselage halves and some trimming that will need to be done. THe four piece main gear well, four piece exhaust and the cockpit are trapped between the fuselage halves. On the underside of the nose section is a lower fuselage/gear well piece and a section to fit behind it. Intakes are fairly shallow and typical of most Hasegawa jets.

Wings are a separate upper and lower half for each side with separate slats, flaps and ailerons. If you wish to use wing pylons, holes will need to be opened. Normally all these control surfaces are in the neutral position, though you may find the flaps slightly lowered. I should take this time to mention that there is superb rivet detail on the wings, however, Starfighter wings were smooth as a baby's butt so you may well want to apply some surfacer to take care of all that. Same goes for the horizontal stab.

Speed brakes may be posed open or closed as one wishes. The landing gear is nicely done with a decent amount of detail, including brake lines on the main gear. The large main gear doors should be glued almost closed and these are properly bulged. Tip tanks have nine pieces per side, many of the parts being filler caps. The clear bits are nicely done and while shown in the closed position, can be modeled with the canopies open if you wish.

Instructions are well done with the usual Gunze paint references. Two aircraft are included. One is the box art plane with JBG 31 in the splinter camouflage of what is listed as neutral grey and RLM 71 over light ghost grey. These are not totally accurate. There are RAL paints out there so I'd do some research on the proper shades for this one. The other is an overall FS 36375 plane with 4 Stormo of the Italian Air Force. This was the training unit for AMI Starfighters and had most if not all the two seaters in service. Decals are nicely done and should present no issues. Aftermarket markings are also available if you so choose.



This will make into a very nice model once you are done. It isn't a weekend build, but the efforts you put into it will reward you with a nice model. Here is a photo of the TF-104DJ I did over ten years ago for some inspiration.



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