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Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": KLP Publishing eBook now Available!


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December 1/20


My new project, more or less.  Look at those scratched upper fuselages.  This should be fun to try and replicate.





With the Tempest put to bed in my increasingly crowded display cabinet, it’s time to start another project and as always, I like to “Kick it up a Notch” with aftermarket items and enhanced panel line and rivet detail.  After 2 props in a row, it time to get back to jets and a fighter that I’ve always wanted to build one day is the Canadian CF-104 Starfighter, which is the Canadair version of the original Lockheed F-104G built under license.   Apparently, Canadair built 200 of them for Canada and 140 F-104G’s for Lockheed, most of which were exported to Europe.   I talk like I know what I’m doing and I know all about Starfighters.  Trust me, I don’t, and like every other aircraft I build when I start them, I know almost nothing about F-104’s, other than I like them.  It always feels intimidating at the beginning of a new build, because I don’t want to screw up my model due to lack of knowledge about the aircraft, so I consulted others in the LSP Discussion Forum recently and found out a few things.  I was already to hit the “Payment Button” at Sprue Bros on a number of items, but then changed and deleted a few with the following tips from others (thanks guys!).  In kind of random order, here are some of them:


·        -  The Italeri kit is way better than the Hasegawa kit, but I already assumed that.

·        -  The Italeri #2502 kit has the older 1960’s era RCAF decals like the pic above, while the #2514 kit has the late 70’s Canadian Armed Forces decals. 

·        -  The Aires and CMK resin cockpits are too wide and do not fit the kit hardly at all.  Delete that idea.

·        -  The main landing gear doors are closed when the jet is parked (like F-15’s), so getting the Aires gear bay set is mostly a waste of time.  Delete that idea as well.

·        -  CF-104’s have a combination of “Early” and “Late” wheels.  Interesting.

·        -  The gun was deleted until very late jets, so there should be a cover fairing over this opening instead.

·       -   IR seeker blister at the base of the windscreen should be deleted.  Thankfully the kit instructions call for that already.


So here’s the obligatory first pic of most of the stuff I’ll be using to build this model.  Everything from Sprue Bros. to Canada in 9 days, mostly because I paid extra for Air Mail shipping.  I tried regular mail on my last US order and it took 6 weeks due to the pandemic, so lesson learned.






 Consisting of:


- ITA2514 1:32 Italeri F-104G F-104S Starfighter Upgraded RF Version. 

- ARS2208 1:32 Aires F-104G F-104S Starfighter Electronics & Ammunition Bay Set

- MASAM32037 1:32 Master Model F-104 Starfighter Pitot Tube

- RESRS320009 1:32 ResKit CF-104 Starfighter Wheels Set

- RESRSU320020U 1:32 ResKit F-104 Starfighter (A/C/D/J/G) Exhaust Nozzle Set

- EDU32427 1:32 Eduard PE - TF-104G Starfighter Exterior Detail Set


I also have:


- BELCHER BITS BD-8, Canadian CF-104’s (1979) 1/32 (OOP), donated by Rockie Yarwood.  Thanks Rockie!


And have ordered:


- DACO F-104G Starfighter Reference Book, DCB005.  Hard to find, so I have one coming all the way from Greece!



And this is what I already have:


BLACK BOX F-104G Starfighter Resin Cockpit


I got this cockpit from Scott Wilson, who helped me so much on my F-4E build, along with a BLACK BOX F-5E resin cockpit, both of which are made for Hasegawa kits.  Scott sort of gave up on modeling when he moved to the Big Island of Hawaii several years ago to live, so he gave much of his stash to me.  He then got his pilot’s license and is now flying air ambulances for a living.  A few years ago, my wife and I met Scott and his wife in Hawaii for the day, and they took us on a tour all over the island.  Very cool and very kind of Scott.  He’s a great guy and he still remembers every panel line and every rivet on the Phantom, which he worked on for many years in the US Air Force.


I have no idea if this pit will eventually fit this Italeri model, but I’ve done a little dry fitting already and I think I have a chance, so I’ll give it a try.  I shoe-horned the F-5E pit into my Kitty Hawk build and it turned out quite good, so maybe I’ll get lucky twice.  I’ve never had a resin cockpit fit any of my models without a lot of work anyway, so this is nothing new.


Something new for me is from ResKit, who are recently making a name for themselves with very high-quality resin products.   They make an awesome F-15 nozzle that is the best I’ve ever seen and here is their J-79 engine set for this model.






A close-up.  Just look at those fine features!






Thankfully, they make the correct tire and wheel combo for CF-104’s as well.  No worries about which version is correct with this set.






The Aires Avionics and Ammunition box behind the cockpit.  Since the CF-104 didn’t have a gun in 1979, I will be leaving the gun box door closed.






And a pic of the kit decals behind and the Belcher Bits decals that Rockie gave me on top.  More or less the same ones, so I’ll use the best of both- and I will always have that very important back-up decal for screw-ups, which always seem to happen. 






Note:  Older 60’s era CF-104’s have the more detailed red maple leaf roundel and “RCAF” instead of “Armed Forces” like the first pic above at the top of this thread.  This configuration can be found in the #2502 kit instead if you prefer that scheme, but the later 70’s scheme found in the #2514 kit looks something like this.  I like both schemes, but I only have 2 sets of decals for this one, which gets the nod.






And the Black Box resin cockpit.  As mentioned, I’ll try to get the sucker to fit and if not, I have lots of nice detail parts to add to the kit cockpit.  The C-2 seat should add a lot of detail all on its own.






A close-up.  Look at those finely detailed seat belts.






Unlike my last Tempest build, I’m not following any instructions in order, because the first order of business is to improve the surface detail, which this kit is infamous for.  Not many panel lines, not many rivets and molding flaws everywhere:









Considering it should look more like this, I have a lot of work to do.  Note the fairing over the gun opening.






We have one of these CF-104’s here in Calgary, but due to Covid, the hanger museum is shut down indefinitely.  Dang!  I was going to take hundreds of pics of every detail of this jet before I started this build, but I hear the DACO book is pretty good- and there are many on-line sources of reference photos.  When the book arrives later this week, I plan on adding a lot of new detail to the 2 fuselage halves, while cleaning up the existing detail.  When I’m happy with that, I will then try and get that resin cockpit and Aires avionics bay inside.  This will likely take a few weeks, so stay tuned- and stay safe!





Edited by chuck540z3
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Thanks guys, looking forward to the journey!


8 hours ago, Finn said:

Some, well a bit more than some, CF-104 pics can be seen here:




Also what time frame are you planning to go with? The gun started being installed around 1974. 




Thanks Jari and very good question.  I heard the kit decals were circa 1979 and there was therefore no gun, but your info above disputes that and you should know.  What I need is a subject, preferably with the gun, and stick to it.  If no gun, then stick to that.  As we all know, our politicians changed the RCAF to the CAF, then to the Armed Forces and then back to the RCAF, so my only real constraints are to stick with the decals I have, which are shown above.  I kind of like the "CAF" on the side, so show me one of those birds with a gun and I think I have my subject!  :P




Edited by chuck540z3
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Hi Chuck


Great one  that I will be following closely as I have started the Italeri kit to eventually do an Italian F-104S.


BTW I have just completed the Hasegawa kit as an F-104G and it is not as bad as made out to be. In many areas it is superior to the Italeri kit if you are prepared to re scribe it.



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Oh yes oh yes :) Hi Chuck! :) Very nice edneavour. Btw it will be a very important topic for me too, cause I have the same kit and I plan to start it after the Nighthawk, which will not be soon. Nevertheless, I prepped quite a bit of research on the Starfighter in the meantime. I'd like to make a conversion from the same No.2514 kit into an American C-version jet. So I also got the special metal foil adhesive from Microscale and I plan to cover the entire plane with kitchen aluminum foil - a couple of foil types maybe, plus a standard aluminum tape (already with adhesive layer on one side) from a hardware store. It would be my first ever approach to replicate such a surface with real metal foil. A friend of mine tried hardly to discourage me because ''the best'' way is by using Alclad II metalizers. The thing is, I already did several tests on Buster (F-22 in 1/72 :) ) and I gotta say, I liked pretty much the result. It is a very tedious and delicate adventure to deboss all the panel lines and rivets into the aluminum foil... but I think it's worth it. I would like to hear your opinion about that - what are your intentions about the making of the true metal surface?, or it's too early already. :) 

I'm very happy to see a build of this gorgeous plane and exactly by you! Have fun and happy building! I'll follow with interest. 

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