Hasegawa 1/32 F-104G/S World Starfighter Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||November 2006||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||F-104G/S World Starfighter||Scale||1/32|
|Kit Number||08061||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, great external details||Cons||Sparse cockpit detail, no parts to represent an F-104S|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$44.95|
Less than five years after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, Clarence 'Kelly' Johnson was looking at the first combat experience between jet fighters over the skies of Korea and understood the need for an aircraft that could reach high altitude and affect a high-speed intercept to achieve and maintain air superiority. His revolutionary Model 83 was designed to meet that need and was submitted to the USAF as an unsolicited proposal.
The Air Force agreed with the need, but decided to seek other ideas from industry. Designs were submitted by Republic and North American, but a cautious Air Force staff opted for the Lockheed design. The F-104 was born.
Two XF-104s were delivered less than two years later, but the first production F-104As would not enter service until early 1958.
The F-104 was the first operational aircraft to fly above Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound). Its small airframe enclosed a powerful afterburning J79 engine which could take the F-104 from the ground to 80,000 feet in less than five minutes.
The F-104G and its two-seat trainer variant, TF-104G, was produced as a multi-role fighter for operations in Belgium, Germany, Holland, and Italy, with each of these countries producing a combined total of over 1000 airframes. Many of these would find their way into other Air Forces including Greece.
The Hasegawa 1/32 Starfighter has been released many times over the years and in different variations. This latest offering has been on the market for a while, but in view of the variety of detail sets being made available for this kit, it was time for another look. The 1/32 F-104 kit is one of Hasegawa's older molds, featuring finely molded raised details. Despite the age of the molds, there is virtually no flash present on the kit. Until the arrival of Hasegawa's 1/48 F-104 series, this kit was the best F-104 available in any scale. While this is still the best Starfighter in 1/32 scale, the distinction of best in any scale goes now to their 1/48 scale kit. Hopefully they'll scale up their 1/48 offering into 1/32 as well.
This kit release, Kit ST11, depicts the F-104G/S World Starfighter, with the boxart of a beautiful F-104S of the Italian Air Force. Unfortunately, the kit itself is only an F-104G. There are no parts present to create an F-104S. What are missing include: the AIM-7 Sparrows, launchers and pylons; the additional aft fuselage stabilizer fins; the revised radar; the revised ejection seat; the fairing over the deleted M61 Vulcan cannon, etc. If you were looking to build a 1/32 scale F-104S straight out of the box, this is not the kit for you.
However, this kit will build into a very nice F-104G straight out of the box. To update this kit, Hasegawa has included a pair of resin bulged maingear doors and a pair of wide resin wheels that made the maingear doors bulge in the first place. The kit features a complete J79 engine, a pair of early AIM-9 Sidewinders that can be mounted on the wingtips or under the fuselage mounts. A pair of external tanks are included, but only for wingtip mounting. There are no underwing pylons provided.
The kit cockpit features the early ejection seat which is okay for some F-104Gs, but many were updated with a Martin-Baker seat. This updated seat is available from True Details. A very detailed resin cockpit replacement was produced by Black Box and may still be available with a little searching.
The decal options are for three examples:
- F-104 (they did fly the F-104G), 5-37, 23 Grupo/5 Stormo, Italian AF
- F-104G, 4301, 7 Sqn/3 TFW, Taiwanese AF
- F-104G, C8-04, 104 Sqn, Spanish AF
Despite the fact that this kit is not an F-104S, it is a nice F-104G that offers lots of detail potential straight out of the box. With the help of many of the available aftermarket accessories from Black Box, Eduard, True Details, and more, not to mention the wide range of decals that have been released for this kit, you can really have some fun with this project!