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Monogram 1/48 F-102A Delta Dagger Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2007 Manufacturer Monogram
Subject F-102A Delta Dagger Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5518 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look


The post-war aircraft industry was growing by leaps and bounds as captured German technology allowed for advances in aerodynamics and propulsion. In the case of Convair, they were the beneficiaries of not only Dr Alexander Lippisch's research in delta-wing designs, he became an employee of the company and helped them through the growing pains of the XF-92. Thanks to his work, Convair became the experts on delta-wing designs in the US with the F-102, F-106 and B-58.

In the early 1950s, the USAF put out a requirement for a supersonic interceptor that featured integrated fire control and weapons. Convair won that competition with the F-102. Despite their win, the F-102 faced a number of problems including the loss of the first prototype in crash. The aircraft was plagued with technical problems including the need to change engines to the J57 (used by the F-100, F-101, and F8U) since the intended J67 was cancelled; a crash course in supersonic aerodynamics due to the poor performance of the prototypes which led to the discovery of area rule; and other challenges. The adoption of area rule required the complete redesign of the fuselage which further delayed production.

While the F-102 was delayed in production, the USAF used the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo as an interim interceptor. By the time the F-102 entered service, it would serve side-by-side with the F-101 and would even be replaced in Air National Guard units by the F-101 as the F-102B (redesignated F-106A) entered operational service. The F-102B offered the Mach 2+ performance that the A-model lacked.

As a footnote, the F-102As did not leave operational service fast enough for some enterprising F-100 crew chiefs. The F-100 Super Sabre was powered by the same J57 series engine, but its afterburner nozzle was notoriously unreliable. The F-102's nozzle was better. As the F-102s were retired, the afterburner nozzle assemblies were grafted onto the rear of Air National Guard F-100s.

Here is Monogram's beautiful 1/48 F-102A Delta Dagger kit from the original Century Series produced over two decades ago. This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. As this is two-decades-old tooling, the panel lines are raised, not scribed, but this should not be a problem for most modelers.

Take note that there are actually two versions of this kit on the market. One is the early series F-102A with the Case X wing that is recognized by flat wingtips and rectangular elevons (this kit) and the other is the later series F-102A with the Case XX wing that has downward curved outboard wing leading edges and changed the shape of the elevons.

Assembly of this kit starts with the afterburner chamber and nozzle. This is installed into the right fuselage half, then the fuselage halves are joined. Like the Monogram F-101, the cockpit tub is assembled next and installed through the bottom of the fuselage assembly.

While this kit doesn't technically replicate the intake ducts, you do have an engine face at the appropriate location in the fuselage with a bulkhead to block off daylight when peering down those intakes.

As with all the other members of the Monogram Century Series, this kit has very nice detailing in the cockpit, weapons bay, wheel wells, landing gear, etc.

Kit options include:

  • Optional pilot and ground crew figures
  • Boarding ladder
  • Positionable canopy
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Positionable weapons bay doors
  • Extended or retracted trapeze missile launchers
  • Six AIM-4 Falcons (GAR-1/GAR-2)

External stores include:

  • Two external fuel tanks

As with other members of the Monogram Century Series, this kit is an easy build and is very detailed straight out of the box, even by today's standards.

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • F-102A-70-CO, 56-1210, 102 FIS, NY ANG, 1973
  • F-102A-40-CA, 54-1405, 496 FIS, Hahn AB, 1961

This is still the only F-102A in 1/48th scale though it has been released by Revell, Monogram, Pro Modeler, Hasegawa, and Revell-Monogram with different kit numbers and decal options. Despite the kit's age, you're not compromising detail or fun with this project.