And here we go, Hasegawa's 1/48 F-104J Starfighter, in service with the JASDF.
The F-104J was a pure interceptor version of the US built F-104 Starfighter, created at the request of Japan. Capable of carrying up to 4 AAMs plus its onboard 20mm rotary cannon, with a top speed of 2,459 km/h, the F-104J was an excellent interceptor, a popular aircraft in the JASDF, earning the nickname "Eiko" meaning "Glory".
Well, this kit took a little longer than expected, but it was definitely worth the time! Hasegawa are well known for their F-104 kits and this one was no exception. Building despite seeming complex at first was very well though out, and only small amounts of filler were required. As I do nowadays, I used PPP (perfect plastic putty) as a filler, where it performed excellently.
I painted the aircraft (unsurprisingly) using Vallejo Model Air paints and my trusty airbrush, starting with the cockpit. I have been trying to improve in this are and I am actually fairly happy with the result achieved. It may not be the best cockpit ever but it is pretty good by my standards. Decals were placed into the cockpit over the existing molded controls and instruments, and with the aid of decal solution fitted down reasonably well over the top. Following this the cockpit was fitted into the aircraft.
I bought some Eduard masking sets in preparation, so the next step was so dip the cockpit in Pledge floor gloss to give it that nice shine, then mask it up and fit it to the aircraft. Fit here was not the best at all, but I made it work with the aid of a little filler.
Next I moved onto painting the aircraft itself, which first had a base of Vallejo black surface primer, as I would be working with metallic paints to try and create a nice NMF. In the end I used many paints from Vallejo's "Cold War Silver Darts" paint set, combined with the Eduard masks and a LOT of masking tape, to paint panels different metallic shades. This was a lot of work but definitely worth it as I am extremely pleased with the result of that.
I painted the wings and wing tanks seperately due to their different colours to the aircraft body, using white primer for the wings and red for the wing tanks, as seen on the aircraft in the photo I was basing this model off. Once the seperate parts were finished and dry I assembled them, fitting the tanks to the wings, and then the wings onto the aircraft; I followed this up with a clear coat of Pledge in preparation for the decals.
There were a LOT of decals with a huge amount of stencils, although fortunately Hasegawa had the foresight to include several smaller stencils together on larger pieces of film which made putting them on significantly easier, although it still took several hours of work, by the end of it by fingers were very sticky, covered in a mix of decal glue and solution, but despite them not being perfect, I managed to get all of them on. I left them overnight to dry, and this morning I sprayed on a final coat of Pledge to seal in the decals. The final step following this was to remove the canopy masks to reveal the neat canopy.
I painted the aircraft and applied the markings of Aircraft 672 in service with 201st Squadron, 2nd Air Wing, of the JASDF, and I think I managed to get it pretty close to the photos of aircraft from this unit that I have seen.
All in all this was a rather complicated aircraft to build and paint, but it turned out very well in the end, and I am very happy with the result, and I would definitely recommend Hasegawa's F-104 kits to anyone after an F-104, as well as the Eduard masks which were a big help.
As a final I would also like to once again say that I find the Vallejo paints to be excellent, very easy to airbrush and very fast drying.
My next model is likely to be Hobbyboss' 1/48 SAAB J-29F Tunnan, but before I start that i'd like to get my new shelves up so I have somewhere to put it. ^-^
Kōkū Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force 1954-now)
Air Proving Wing 76-8694
|Timeline:||Started on February 9, 2019, Finished on February 14, 2019|
|Time spent:||5 days|