Revell 1/72 F-104G Starfighter
|PRICE:||@$15-16.00 street price|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, supersonic interceptor aircraft which was extensively deployed as a fighter-bomber during the Cold War. Initially created as a day fighter by Lockheed for the United States Air Force (USAF) as one of the Century Series of fighter aircraft, it was developed into an all-weather multirole aircraft in the early 1960s and produced by several other nations, seeing widespread service outside the United States. After a rocky start with NATO nations in terms of crashes, the F-104 went on to become a fairly successful fighter. An upgraded version was built by Italy as the F-104S.
This is not, of course, the first F-104 kit produced in this scale. After being done by several companies, including Hasegawa, the Japanese company did a new tooling in 1989 that became the industry standard for the type. Revell released their version in this scale in 1995 and while it is very nice, many modelers still think the Hasegawa variant is the best.
Revell's kit is typical of the type in that the front and rear fuselages are separate. This allows for a two seat version to be done, and Revell did release one. The kit does have a separate rear fin so that the early F-104A/C can be done and indeed, Revell does/did kit this early version.
The kit does provide two seat styles; the Lockheed and a Martin Baker seat. Both markings options use the Lockheed version. Typical of kits of this sort, the nose gear well fits under the cockpit. The instructions give you the option of opening various holes in the forward fuselage. One set is for the fuselage mounted missile pylons, but the instructions never show them being installed. The other is for a rather odd forward fuselage strake that I've never seen on an F-104 before, but is shown on the box art. I've been informed it is the pylon for a nuclear weapon. No such weapon is included.
After attaching the intakes to the forward fuselage, construction turns to the rear with the extended rudder piece and exhaust being assembled. This then fits onto the assembled rear fuselage sections. Note that this section has the blanking plate for the intakes. Speed brakes can be posed open or closed as you wish. Then it is on to building the main landing gear well assembly. This completed section is then slid into the fuselage before the front and rear sections are joined and the gear doors put on. The last bits are the installation of the wings, canopy and pylons as well as the building of the four fuel tanks; two on the wing tips and two on the pylons.
Instructions are nicely done and provide the usual Revell of Germany paint references and any mixing ratios required. The two markings options are for an aircraft of the Belgian Air Force in the usual SEA camouflage used at the time. The other is a Dutch plane in a Luftwaffe scheme that was used for a time before they went to overall grey. The fairly large decal sheet is nicely done and provides instrument decals along with the usual ton of stencil markings.
This looks to be a nice kit, though not having built it I really cannot comment on its ease of construction. The Hasegaw kit still looks nicer to my eyes, but this one is more easily available and is probably less expensive by a few dollars.
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