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Starfighter Kit

Italeri 1/72 F-104A/C Starfighter Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2014 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject F-104A/C Starfighter Scale 1/72
Kit Number 1359 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicest F-104 kit in any scale to date Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $28.00

First Look

Starfighter Kit
Starfighter Kit
Starfighter Kit

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.

Last year, Italeri released the F-104 in 1/32 scale with their F-104G/S kit which we looked at here and quick-built here. This year, Italeri is releasing the F-104A/C in both 1/32 and 1/72 scale, here is the smaller Starfighter for your inspection.

Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented three parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Simple cockpit
  • Closed-only canopy
  • Positionable landing gear
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Positionable stabilator
  • Choice of AIM-9 Sidewinders and launch rails
  • Choice of fuselage or wingtip-mounted Sidewinders
  • 2 x Wingtip Fuel Tanks
  • 2 x Underwing Fuel Tanks
  • 1 x Centerline store

The kit includes markings for three aircraft:

  1. F-104C-5-LO, 56-0834, 436 TFS/479 TFW, George AFB, 1959
  2. F-104C-5-LO, 57-0925, 435 TFS, Udorn RTAFB, 1967, 'Smoke II'
  3. F-104A, 9 Sqn, Jordanian AF, 1970

This is a simple kit that has some nice configuration options to add a fast mover to your scale flightline.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!