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


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39 minutes ago, AlbertD said:

But the rivets are not a different color. They are made from aluminum just like the skin. All you really see is a small ring on the surface.


Excellent reference for multi-material, modern riveting techniques.




As Chuck and I agreed on the phone, we can’t believe we’re debating rivets on a model. In the end it really doesn’t matter - he needs to decide how much or how little “realism” to apply. The right answer is wrong, and the wrong answer is wrong. Good luck Chuck ;)

Edited by FunkyZeit
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On 12/4/2020 at 2:42 PM, chuck540z3 said:


All true and this has been debated for years, but the one thing that is real is that you can see them, so how do you replicate rivets on a plastic model if they are flush?  If they are recessed and not too deep, they can really look the part.  Here's an example, obviously all recessed.  I don't see how else you can do this, but maybe these HGW decal rivets will look as good or better?








great to see you onto another masterwork Chuck :) interesting debate & experiments with rivets..


such a difficult thing to get right - while if you directly scaled the dimensions & colours they would most likely disappear entirely in 1/32 we all know the model would look toylike somehow without them..


looking at your P38 in that pic, I would have thought that is what you are after - it looks real.. it might be a trick of the light, the reflective angle etc but the eye is convinced they are in scale


as always, modelling is a compromise between replication & art, our brains need to fill in the gaps and be conned into perceiving realitry in miniature, thats where extra 'over-enhancement' is forgiven otherwise the mind has no triggers to do this..


You can tell, as you are there, but all I suggest is make sure the HGW rivets can be seen and the con is complete :)


whatever you do, it will be the best we have seen, of that I am sure



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Chuck, I think the decal approach over the Gloss Black before Alclad lacquers looks stunning. It really seems to fit the overall sleek “feel” of the Starfighter. I have read many of the responses from the folks above, and I would most certainly be happy with that look for that time period.....


Having shot literally hundreds of thousands of aircraft rivets in my career so far, in dozens of airframes from A 1948 Luscombe Silvaire to an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (last Thursday as a matter-of-fact), I find the effect quite convincing.


As some folks here already know, aircraft generally use aluminum alloy rivets in aluminum structures, they are rarely the same color upon install due to the differing alloys used. Most rivets have their own corrosion proof coating, like cadmium or anodization, which  is applied during their manufacture. (I installed some Titanium rivets recently that had a purple coating, into a Titanium heat shield that was bare- I also installed some AD rivets into a 7075 aluminum bulkhead that were gold in color compared to the bright aluminum!) Rivets generally appear to be the same color when a surface has been polished, or painted; Where the corrosion coating on their heads has been polished off, or painted over, of course.


My point? It is IMPOSSIBLE to replicate every rivet accurately in a scale model, no matter how hard we try. Everything is an interpretation of what’s there in real life. So, go for the effect that is most pleasing to you; It is art, after all, and the artist’s vision to replicate what he sees, usually wins the day. You are a master craftsman, Chuck, and I am constantly blown away by how great your work is. I say go for it!


THOR, who would rather be working on plastic model aircraft than real ones today!



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What about some very small stainless tube that's sharp on one end and then give it twist on the plastic

to make a round circle that could be the flush rivet! I'll stick with the C-130 Hercules...from the troop 

doors back it's got monster rivets all over the tail! Some in other places from the nose back too! 



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Thanks for the feedback guys.  I really appreciate it!


I have a 0.40 mm "Rosie the Riveter" wheel tool coming my way, that I will try as well before I commit to anything.  Unfortunately, it is coming from Illinois via USPS, where my last order was held up in the Chicago area for 4 weeks doing nothing before it finally made it to the Canadian border, where it took 2 more weeks to get to my door.  I paid a bit extra for Priority International this time, so we'll see what happens.  I ordered it on November 30th and today it still sits doing nothing in Illinois.


Also on November 30th, I ordered the DACO book as shown below.  When I built my F-4E and A-10C, I had Jake Melampy's excellent reference books on these aircraft to help me make them more accurate, and this book looks like it's just as good.  I received this book to my door in 4 days and it came all the way from GREECE via DHL!  This book is very hard to find, so if you want one too, here is where I bought mine:


Discount Hobby Zone




It has clear photos of every square inch of this aircraft- and yes I know, the CF-104's were slightly different.




It also has several schematic drawings to help me with the main panel lines.  This is what all the recessed detail will look like, whether I use HGW rivets or not.





So while I wait for Rosie, I'm going to work on fitting the Black Box resin cockpit into this model.  Right now I am very optimistic that it can be done without too much trouble.




Edited by chuck540z3
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I vote for the HGW rivets. To me they appear realistically subtle. If a more prominent look is desired, then I'm sure that any weathering treatment you apply atop the Alclad finish, be it a wash or pigments, will cause the rivets to stand out more.


Perhaps you've seen it already, but here's an HGW produced video on applying their rivets...click here


Looking forward to this build!




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Looks like you are on the right track, Chuck! Your base coat scratch-effect has me wondering if it might be possible to achieve a uniform grain effect on the skin panels - maybe with something like a fiberglass scratch brush?  Might be another way to differentiate various panels on a NMF. Agree with you and Mark on the DACO books, and Danny's German F-104G decals are spectacular. Wish he had done a CF-104 sheet too.


Cheers,  Rockie


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  • chuck540z3 changed the title to Italeri CF-104 Starfighter "Kicked up a Notch": KLP Publishing eBook now Available!

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