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F-104G Starfighter Kit

Kinetic 1/48 F-104G Starfighter Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2019 Manufacturer Kinetic
Subject F-104G Starfighter Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48083 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice kit and decals Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $39.99

First Look

F-104G Starfighter Kit
F-104G Starfighter Kit
F-104G Starfighter Kit
F-104G 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. 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. Like the USAF F-104C, the F-104G was limited in its intercept capabilities because while it had a good radar, it lacked radar-guided missiles that could affect an intercept in all weather conditions (the AIM-9 Sidewinder is ineffective in clouds).

Kinetic Models has come a long way since its first release in 2007, and one of those indicators is with the surface of the model itself. That first release was an F-86F-30, which is normally bare metal, but the surface of the kit's plastic was textured (typical of new company early releases and limited production kits) which made the application of a bare metal finish somewhat challenging. Here we are eight years later and we have another candidate for bare metal, and this kit has the surface for that paint. This is Kinetic's new-tool 1/48 F-104G Starfighter (they've also released an F-104J for the Japanese market) and in addition to its smooth skin, it also shows off more advanced molding and engineering than that first offering. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one small fret of photo-etched details. The features of this kit make this F-104G representative of the aircraft later in its operational service. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nicely detailed Martin-Baker ejection seat with photo-etched pilot restraints
  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Positionable canopy
  • Positionable radome
  • Detailed radar set for display with open radome
  • Detailed afterburner section and J79 nozzle
  • Detailed landing gear and wheel wells
  • Positionable avionics bay door w/detailed avionics bay
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable stabilator
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable leading edge flaps
  • Positionable trailing edge flaps
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Positionable main landing gear doors

External stores options include:

  • 2 x AIM-9B Sidewinder
  • Dual rail Aero-3B missile rack for under fuselage
  • 2 x wingtip tanks
  • 2 x underwing tanks

The kit includes one sheet of decals which provide the following options:

  • F-104G, 22+39, 7117, JaboG 34, Memmingen AB, 1984-87, Scheme 2
  • F-104G, 22+91, 7174, JaboG 34, Memmingen AB, 1984-97, Scheme 2
  • F-104G, 21+64, 7033, JaboG 34, Memmingen AB, 1984-87, Scheme 1
  • F-104G, 25+23, 8298, JaboG 34, Memmingen AB, 1984-87, Scheme 1
  • F-104G, 26+60, MFG 2, Eggebek AB, 1985

The decals provide a nice set of airframe stencils which are printed by Cartograf.

A few notes worth considering:

  • The instructions provide color information using Mig equivalents (again) though a cross-reference table is provided
  • The color profiles are printed in black and white, and especially scheme #2, three of the four colors all look black, so good luck sorting out colors unless you have other references. Please print color profiles in color!
  • The instructions note that you should not use the photo-etched wingtip parts if you're installing wingtip missile rails or tanks. There are no instructions for installing wingtip missile rails in this release
  • You'll need to go to the aftermarket for other armaments carried by German Starfighters beyond the AIM-9B

Kinetic has really come a long way since its first release and this kit is easily the best Starfighter kit in this scale. The only real alternatives are the Hasegawa kit which has also been released in Eduard boxing, and the Monogram kit. While the Monogram kit is nice, it is dated, and while the Hasegawa kit looks like a Starfighter, take a look at the correction kit produced by Daco which contains a ton of plastic on its own to get the Hasegawa kit up to par. I'm looking forward to putting this kit through its paces and perhaps go with a bare metal scheme. While the three schemes in the box are all camouflaged, the Luftwaffe did operate bare metal F-104Gs in the United States with U.S.A.F. markings and one of these starred in the movie 'The Right Stuff' as Yeager was depicted flying the NF-104 using the F-104G as a surrogate.

Here is a list of paints Kinetic identifies for the colors of this kit and the equivalent colors from other brands:

 
AMMO
AV
GSI
HAT
LC
MIS
MRP
REV
TAM
TES
XTRA
White
0050
71.001
C001
H001
N001
A528
C528
LC001
MMP001
004
A014
32104
36104
LP02
X02
1745
X141
Red
0049
71.269
C003
H003
N003
A276
C276
LC006
MMP003
002
32131
36131
LP07
X07
1705
 
Yellow
0048
71.078
C004
H004
N004
A290
C290
UA042
MMP007
386
32112
36112
LP08
X08
1707
 
Silver
0195
70.790
C008
H008
N008
A003
C003
LC074
MMM006
003
32190
36190
LP11
X11
 
X038
Flat Black
0046
71.057
C033
H012
N012
A041
C041
LC002
 
017
 
LP03
XF01
1749
 
Steel
0191
71.065
C028
H018
N018
 
 
MMM002
030
32191
36191
LP40
X10
1780
X502
Neutral Gray
 
71.122
C013
H053
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
X133
XA1133
Interior Green
0220
71.137
C027
H058
N058
A211
C211
UA004
MMP059
131
32360
 
1715
X117
XA1117
Tire Black
0033
71.315
C137
H077
N077
 
UA733
MMP040
 
 
LP65
XF85
 
 
Burnt Iron
0187
71.072
C061
H076
N076
 
 
MMM001
147
 
LP54
XF84
 
X508
Sandy Dark Yellow
0222
70.901
C119
H079
N079
A014
C014
UA137
MMP119
A056
32382
36382
XF78
2088
X209
XA1209
Olive Green
 
 
C054
H080
N080
 
 
 
 
 
XF58
 
 
Dark Gray 2
 
 
C032
H083
N083
 
 
 
 
 
XF75
 
 
Clear Red
 
70.934
C047
H090
N090
 
 
MMP167
 
 
LP72
X27
 
 
Clear Green
 
70.936
C138
H094
N094
 
 
MMP169
 
 
X25
 
 
Gunship Gray
0204
71.097
C305
H305
A031
C031
UA022
MMP084
040
A066
32174
36174
AS27
1723
 
Gray
0203
71.312
C308
H308
A037
C037
UA026
MMP073
038
A065
32143
36143
AS26
1728
X136
XA1136
Gray
0205
71.277
C317
H317
A044
C044
UA033
MMP064
100
32378
36378
 
1740
X131
Dark Green
0206
 
C330
H330
A143
C143
 
 
 
 
AS30
XF81
2060
 
Light Aircraft Gray
 
 
C332
H332
A217
C217
 
 
374
 
 
 
X015
XA1015
Signalbraun
 
70.846
H404
A297
C297
UA209
MMP141
 
 
XF49
2100
X801
XA1801

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!