Monogram 1/48 Convair F-102A Delta Dagger

Kit Number: 5827

Price: $20

Decals: One aircraft, S/N 56-1080, ADC gray overall

Accuracy: The kit depicts the Case X wing, which is incorrect for the decals provided, otherwise, very good

Overall: An excellent addition to the Century Series

Review by: Lee Kolosna

The Convair F-102 Delta Dagger logged a number of firsts upon its introduction to the US Air Force inventory in the mid-1950s. It was the first aircraft designed and produced with an all-missile weapons load. It was the first operational all-weather interceptor that could sustain supersonic speed in level flight. It was also the world's first operational delta wing aircraft and lastly, it was the first use of the famous "area rule" of aerodynamics. This gave it the classic Coke bottle fuselage shape and allowed it to slip through the shock wave build-up at Mach 1 with ease. Monogram's decision in 1990 to model this aircraft was a welcome addition to those interested in depicting the Air Force's Century Series: F-100 through F106, although one could argue that the F-110 (later F-4 Phantom II) and F-111 should belong. The missing F-103, 107, 108, and 109 all were either never produced or never made it beyond prototype stages.

The kit is molded in light gray plastic with raised panel lines. My kit, which I bought when it first came out, (only six years in inventory: kit collectors take note) had no problems with warpage and the clear plastic pieces are adequately transparent and thin. Options are given for an open speed brake and a open weapons bay with six AIM-4 Falcon missiles (three of the A/E type and three of the C/D version). The cockpit provided is rather basic. I jazzed up Convair's ejection seat with some photo etched details and seat belts from True Details sets. I painted the cockpit interior Testors Dark Gull Gray FS36231, the instrument panel and coaming flat black, and picked out the instruments with a white color pencil. Even with a raised canopy, it is pretty hard to see anything in the cramped cockpit, so spending most of the time on getting a good-looking ejection seat is the best investment.

Construction moves along with the two fuselage pieces joined together, then mated to the upper and lower wing subassembly. I used gap-filling CA glue to fill the seams, which need to be attended to. Work areas include the joint between the top and bottom pieces for the wings, the fuselage-to-wing junction, and the air intake area. The weapons bay contains all the hardware for mounting the Falcon missiles, although correct placement is ambiguous. There are several ejector pin marks on a number of surfaces that have to be cleaned up. I've never been a fan of models with all sorts of open hatches and panels as they don't depict a common occurrence in real life, so I avoided the ejector-pin work and elected to build my model with the weapons bay closed. Monogram provides a one-piece molding of the weapons bay doors for this purpose, but it doesn't fit very well. I had to use small strips of plastic sheet and CA glue to fill the gaps between the doors and lower fuselage, then rescribed a realistic line. I'm not sure that I saved any effort over leaving the bay open and painting and gluing in the missiles. I also glued the speed brake shut, although I have seen quite a few pictures of the brakes in the open position while the aircraft were parked in Air National Guard hangers.

I painted the wheel wells Testors Interior Green FS34151. Both the F-102 and the F-106 could have green, aluminum, or ADC gray wheel wells. Some modelers have even observed a transparent blue. This keeps the Color Police on their toes, I suppose. After priming the model with Krylon Sandable primer and smoothing it out with 0000 steel wool, I was ready for the Air Defense Command Gray, FS16473. Being a lowly military aircraft modeler, I have a natural aversion to gloss paints. Chickening out, I used Testors acrylic enamel, as my experience with gloss acrylic paints has been much better than with the solvent-based ones. It worked pretty well, with very little orange peel. Remember to keep the paint thin and watch for drips. I used Parafilm M for the first time to mask the tricky metallic sections of the intake and exhaust panels. I used Testors Metalizers exclusively: non-buffing Aluminum for the intakes, buffing Burnt Metal for the exhaust, and non-buffing Steel for the landing gear struts. I was really impressed with Parafilm M, and I will be using it again in applications like this. It was easy to make it conform to the line I wanted, and there was no seepage of paint underneath the mask. I am now a fan of this stuff.

To make the exhaust panels look more realistic, I rubbed in dark gray and black pastel chalks with a Q-tip to highlight the effect of great heat on the center panel. An overcoat of Future floor polish sealed everything up prior to applying the decals. I didn't like the kit decal scheme (almost too gaudy), so I chose one from Super Scale sheet 48-388 for a F-102A based in Japan with the 4th FIS in 1962. Note that this aircraft had the Case X wing (produced on roughly the first 550 F-102s made), and did not have the annoying infrared sensor on the nose. The kit decals are typical of Monogram in the late '80s: thick and glossy, but basically okay. I used the national insignia and warning stencils, with Super Scale buzz number, tail markings, and US Air Force lettering. All went down on the glossy finish perfectly. A final coat of Future reinforced the gloss of these highly-polished and clean air planes. The only weathering I did do was apply a wash of black acrylic to the wheel hubs, struts, and wells to simulate the grime that accumulates there and to bring out detail. The wash was also used to fill in the gaps betwen the control surfaces.

The landing gear are complex and delicate. I used CA glue to attach them, the external fuel tanks, and the canopy in an open position. I enjoy Monogram kits, as they provide a very solid product for the money. This F-102 looks good, and it makes me want to continue on with my quest for having a complete set of 1/48 Century Series fighters. I recommend this kit to anyone of moderate modeling skills. Monogram has since released this model as an offering of their ProModeler series, with some improvements. The wing is now molded as a Case XX version, flattened wheels are included, and new, better decals are provided. The corresponding increase in price still makes this model a pretty good deal, in my opinion.


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