Hasegawa 1/72 CF-104 & CF-104D 'Starfighters'

KIT #: 00632
PRICE: $2400 yen when new
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2003 release. Two complete kits


Starfighters Inc, based in Clearwater, Florida, began as a private venture founded in 1995 to restore and fly three former Canadair CF-104 Starfighters at air shows across the United States and Canada. Initially their CF-104s consisted of a two-seat CF-104D Serial#:104632 (registered as N104RB), and two single-seat CF-104s Serial#s: 104850 (registered as N104RD) and 104759 (registered as N104RN). The aircraft were originally operated with the Royal Canadian Air Force and all later served with the Royal Norwegian Air Force before being imported into the U.S. in the early 1990s. In recent years the company has cut back on air show appearances as they have transitioned to using their aircraft for government and private contract work, providing high-performance photo chase planes on flight tests, simulating enemy aircraft in military defense exercises, and modelling ballistic missiles for detection system evaluation. In summer 2011 the company acquired five additional aircraft. The estimated cost of restoration of each of the five aircraft is $1 million.


Hasegawa's second generation F-104 kits are probably the nicest in 1/72 scale. There is a nicely appointed cockpit (or cockpits in the two seat version) that have raised detail for instruments and also provide decals. There are no belts molded on the seats, but you can easily get resin versions if you wish that feature.

In order to accommodate both the single and twin seat versions without having to do complete new fuselages, the nose sections are separate and attach to the aft fuselage. In both versions, the nose gear well attaches to the underside of the cockpit. The nose gear can be installed after painting. Note that it is in the back of the nose well in the single seat version and in the front in the two seater.

Aft fuselage section contains the exhaust section and the rear main gear bulkhead. Once the main gear is attached to the well roof and the forward bulkhead attached, it can be slid into place in the rear fuselage. Only then can the fore and aft fuselage pieces be joined.

Wings are separate and the attachment point for the horizontal stab is quite small so one needs to take care. These planes did not use the wing pylons or tanks nor any missile rails. Holes in the lower wings will need to be filled. They do use the wing tanks so those need to be assembled and attached. Note that the only real option is to have the canopy sections open or closed so you need to make that decision prior to painting.

Couple of notes. One is that the two seat bag provides the E sprue that includes missile rails if you don't want to use kit decals. Another is that the same sprue includes bulged main gear doors as on the F-104G. As both these planes are CF-104s, they don't use the bulged doors. The kit also provides the correct Canadian spec ejection seats. Finally, there are three small metal antennas included as these planes used civilian radios.

Instructions are well done and use Gunze color references. There are separate build sequences for the forward fuselage sections for the single and the twin seat planes. Decals are for two of the first three planes owned by the company. The upper blue is shown being mixed, but you should be able to find something close in other brands. Decals are well done and should work just fine. Since this kit was released, Starfighters has developed an upper splinter pattern and those markings can be found on a Caracal decal sheet.


I have built a few of these kits and have enjoyed every one. They build well and look nice when one is done. In fact, even the old ESCI F-104 builds fairly well, but the Hasegawa kit is better. Here is a photo of one I did back in 2016, the last time I did a Hasegawa 104.



May 2024

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