Hasegawa 1/48 F-104C Starfighter
|KIT #:||07219 (PT19)|
|PRICE:||2400 yen when new|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
A fighter-bomber for USAF Tactical Air Command, the F-104C had improved
fire-control radar (AN/ASG-14T-2), one centerline and two pylons under each wing
(for a total of five), and the ability to carry one Mk 28 or Mk 43 nuclear
weapon on the centerline pylon. The F-104C also had in-flight refueling
capability. Seventy-seven F-104Cs were built. On 14 December 1959, an F-104C set
a world altitude record of 103,389 ft (31,513 m).
After many years of only having the Monogram and ESCI kit for an early Starfighter, Hasegawa kicked off their fairly extensive line of F-104s with both an F-104J and F-104C in 2000. This was followed by literally dozens of reboxings and included the G model and two seater.
Typically, the cockpit is nicely done and provides a decal for the main instrument panel if you don't want to paint the raised detailing. One then builds up the main and nose gear wells, installing polycaps to hold the gear. Then the exhaust and the fuselage halves are closed. The lower fuselage has two inserts to deal with and some holes to open if you want to install the missile rails (which were not always carried).
Wings and intakes along with the nose are next. Note that the intakes require either paint or a decal so you'll have to deal with that before completing the construction. Despite having separate flaps, slats, and ailerons, it appears all are to be modeled in the neutral position. Landing gear is next and the main wheels are three pieces to facilitate painting. Gear and gear doors (along with the missile rails if you chose them) are attached. This is followed by the exhaust and wing tanks. Final bits are the clear parts and the refueling probe. If doing an F-104A using aftermarket decals, simply leave off the probe as that was part of the C upgrade. Note also that the A had shorter inner tank fins, though older airframes would have been retrofit. Note that this kit does not include any underwing pylons.
Two markings options are provided, both very colorful and in unpainted metal. Both are from the 479th TFW at George AFB in the early 1960s. One is the box art plane and the other has a red fin/rudder that must be painted. The large decal sheet is nicely printed though the whites are off white. They will need fairly hot water to remove from the backing without taking an age.
While I have not built the Monogram kit, I have built the Hasegawa two seater and found it to be a pleasant building experience with no surprises. I have also built the newer Kinetic kit and found it to be a bit on the fussy side. Since this is a base boxing, it gets re-released from time to time and can also be found on the second hand market at a reasonable price.
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