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Bill Cross

"Double Widow-Maker" (T)F104-G

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Here is the Italeri (T)F104-G trainer kit. The build was pretty straightforward, with a clear instruction booklet and easy-to-follow sub-assemblies handled more or less logically. The only issues were fit (it's an Italeri kit), and some poorly-realized components. The wingtip and under-wing fuel tanks have bad seams, and will require some careful filling and sanding, especially as the filler caps are right on the seams, yet must be glued from the inside at the time the tank halves are assembled. The fuselage has only one tricky fit issue: two PE "rings" that set off the rear portion and the stabilizer fin that simply don't mesh well. I dropped it out and the parts went together without a hitch (you can't see the internal support frame they're supposed to recreate unless the engine is removed).

 

I resisted my usual inclination to add every bit of after-market stuff around, and only replaced three items: the exhaust nozzle (undersized and has oversimplified details), swapped for the Eduard resin one from the early, American-supplied GE J79 engine with scooped-out blade ends. The kit's Martin Baker ejection seats are undersized, again with simplified details. So I replaced them with two AMS resin versions. That saved wrangling with photo etch seat belts and other rigamarole. Finally, I added a Master Models pitot tube for the front, since part of it was bare metal on the actual aircraft.

 

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The decals were a bit of a composite: many of the stencils are from the nice Cartograf-printed sheet supplied with the kit, but a number were taken from Danny Coremans' DACO Products complete F-104G set. Its five sheets perfectly compliment his superb reference work on the German Starfighter which I used every step of the way. 

 

The decal instruction booklet has camouflage schemes, unit badges, "zappings" (temporary markings popular with Luftwaffe units), and fuselage codes for every singular regular unit. But it also has the alternate naval colors and markings, so I chose a set from an actual aircraft that flew with MFG1 (Marineflieger Geschwader 1. The unit was active from 1959-1993, flew 132,000 hours in F-104Gs, and lost eleven pilots to fatal accidents. The eagle in the unit coat of arms was borrowed from the WW2 Luftwaffe unit Kampfgeschwader 30, likely because KG30 had extensive naval engagements on several fronts.

 

My decision to build the aircraft with the canopies closed arose from my struggle attempting to wrestle a build of the single-seat version into shape. That build sports all the AM stuff I could find, and after much cutting, sanding, filling and filing (none of which has yet produced an end point), I just wanted to keep things clean and easy.

 

It's a decision I don't regret.

 

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The photo below shows some of the additional "plumbing" I added with wire, including brake lines.

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Wow that looks great Bill! I just yesterday received decals for my TF/D build, and have been doing research on needed (and NOT needed) AM.

 

This give me hope I can get away with minimal AM since I'm going wheels up w/pilots.

 

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Indeed Bill, hope you had a great birthday, and your 104 is looking cool, but just one thing of interest: why did you "paint-in" the clear parts between front and aft cockpit, if memory serves they were just clear all the way from front to back?

 

cheers,

Jack

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Good question, Fanes, about the paints. The German postwar Luftwaffe has some distinctive, particular colors (the underside, for example, is a white/aluminum combo). Hataka has three sets of Bundesluftwaffe paints, but I bought individual colors, since I only plan on building two German NATO fighters and don't need all of them.

 

The paints go on very well, and you don't even need the Hataka thinner. But they spread around quickly, and the pre-shading I did on the underside was completely lost after the first coat: it simply spread out in the drying process rather than staying put. My recommendation would be short, quick applications and to let them dry completely before re-applying until you get the right color buildup.

 

Thanks, Paul, for the birthday wishes.

 

Brian, I went whole hog on the Aires stuff for the single-seat version and it has been a nightmare of fit issues. The only mistake I made on this build was attaching the canopies without securing the levers. If you look at the rear cockpit, the lever sticks up a bit. Not a fatal flaw, but it bugs me.

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25 minutes ago, Bill Cross said:

Sheesh, those are masks I forgot to remove!! Oy, getting too old. Let me remove them and re-shoot.

 

haha, no worries Bill, i figured as much, could have gone the same way........

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