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TF-104G/F-104G Starfighter Kit

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

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2020 Manufacturer Kinetic
Subject TF-104G/F-104G Starfighter Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48089 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice kit and decals Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $39.99

First Look

TF-104G/F-104G Starfighter Kit
TF-104G/F-104G Starfighter Kit
TF-104G/F-104G Starfighter Kit
TF-104G/F-104G Starfighter Kit
TF-104G/F-104G Starfighter Kit
TF-104G/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).

About a year ago, Kinetic Models first released their 1/48 F-104G kit in their Gold Series and here is their latest, the TF-104G/F-104G 2 in 1. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one small fret of photo-etched details. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Choice of single-seat and two-seat variants
  • Nicely detailed Martin-Baker ejection seat(s) with photo-etched pilot restraints
  • Nicely detailed cockpit(s)
  • Positionable canopy(s)
  • 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, 26+52, JaboG 33
  • TF-104G, 27+77, JaboG 33
  • F-104G, 23+40, JaboG 31
  • F-104G, 24+74, JaboG 31
  • F-104G, 35+33, JaboG 31
  • F-104G, 21+99, JaboG 31
  • TF-104G, 27+72, JaboG 33

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!
  • You'll need to go to the aftermarket for other armaments carried by German Starfighters beyond the AIM-9B
  • Though the instructions only mention the Martin Baker seats for this variant, the kit also includes the Lockheed C2 seats and photo-etched restraints are included as well. You can build the F-104G or TF-104G flown by any user around the world with the contents of this kit.
  • Because the ejection seat is provided on the tree that contains the AIM-9Bs and the external tanks, this kit has two of these trees to provide two seats for the TF-104G, so you'll have some spares for your parts box.

Kinetic has really come a long way since their first release and this kit is easily the best Starfighter kit in any scale. The retail price remains the same as last year's single-seat release, $33 USD (plus shipping) if purchased from Lucky Model.

My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!

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
TAM
TES
XTRA
White
0050
71.001
C001
H001
N001
A528
C528
LC001
MMP001
004
LP02
X02
1745
 
Red
0049
71.269
C003
H003
N003
A276
C276
LC006
MMP003
002
LP07
X07
1705
 
Yellow
0048
71.078
C004
H004
N004
A290
C290
UA042
MMP007
386
LP08
X08
1707
 
Silver
0195
71.062
C008
H008
N008
A003
C003
LC074
MMM006
128
LP11
X11
 
X038
Flat Black
0046
71.057
C033
H012
N012
A041
C041
LC002
 
020
LP03
XF01
1749
 
Steel
0191
71.065
C028
H018
N018
 
 
MMM002
030
X10
1780
X502
Neutral Gray
0239
71.051
H053
A054
C054
UA071
MMP103
039
AS07
XF53
1725
X133
XA1133
Interior Green
0220
71.137
C027
H058
N058
A211
C211
UA004
MMP059
131
 
1715
X117
XA1117
Tire Black
0033
71.315
C137
H077
N077
 
UA733
MMP040
 
LP65
XF85
 
 
Burnt Iron
0187
71.073
C061
H076
N076
A106
C106
 
MMM01
147
LP54
XF84
 
X508
Sandy Dark Yellow
0222
71.278
C119
H079
N079
A014
C014
UA137
MMP119
068
XF78
2088
X209
XA1209
Olive Green
0084
71.093
C054
H080
N080
A152
C152
UA303
MMP034
078
XF58
 
 
Dark Gray 2
0235
71.308
C032
H083
N083
 
 
 
 
XF75
 
 
Clear Red
 
70.934
C047
H090
N090
 
 
 
266
LP72
X27
 
 
Clear Green
 
 
C138
H094
N094
 
 
 
268
X25
 
 
Gunship Gray
0204
71.097
C305
H305
A031
C031
UA022
MMP084
040
AS27
1723
 
Gray
0203
71.312
C308
H308
A037
C037
UA026
MMP073
038
AS26
XF2:1+
XF25:2
1728
X136
XA1136
Gray
0205
71.277
C317
H317
A044
C044
UA033
MMP064
100
 
1740
X131
Dark Green
0206
71.324
C330
H330
A143
C143
 
 
 
AS30
XF81
2060
X001
Light Aircraft Gray
0212
71.119
C332
H332
A217
C217
 
 
374
 
 
X015
XA1015
Khaki Brown
0071
71.136
H404
 
UA209
MMP141
 
XF49
2100