Revell 1/48 F-106 Delta Dart Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||November 2004||Manufacturer||Revell|
|Subject||F-106 Delta Dart||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||5847||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Best F-106 in any scale||Cons||Raised panel lines|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$16.75|
The Convair F-106 Delta Dart entered service in 1959 as a Mach 2+ interceptor to replace the limited Convair F-102 Delta Dagger (Mach 1+) and other limited interceptors that remained in service. Armed with four AIM-4 Falcon guided missiles, the F-106 was a true product of the missile age, serving strictly as an interceptor with no gun. One of the distinctive features of the F-106 as well as its older brother, the F-102, was that the four Falcon missiles were stored inside a ventral weapons bay and swung out on trapezes when fired. As a last-ditch defense against an onslaught of enemy bombers, the F-106 was also armed with a nuclear-tipped Genie rocket.
On a few rare occasions, the F-106 was deployed overseas for limited periods of time, but in its career, it never fired a shot in anger. Due to similar performance characteristics, the F-106 was sometimes used in dissimilar air combat training to simulate the MiG-21. The F-106 proved a worthy air-to-air opponent, but suffered some handicaps that were addressed on selected aircraft.
The first handicap was visibility. The original metal frame over the top of the pilot was a good idea for Mach 2 flight when better canopy technology hadn't been created, but that frame obscured visibility in the dogfight. Many F-106s were retro-fitted with a 'blown' canopy sans overhead frame. The second handicap was the lack of a gun. As was shown in Vietnam, the Falcon missile wasn't very effective against maneuvering targets. A maneuvering intruder into US airspace would be able to thwart being shot down by the F-106, so a smaller number of aircraft had their Genie bays turned into ammo storage for a ventral-mounted M61 Vulcan cannon. The combination of gun and canopy made the F-106 a worthy dogfighter. The only downside was that the F-106 was designed for domestic air defense, so it was never given self-sealing fuel tanks and was therefore not able to absorb any combat damage.
One noteworthy Delta Dart is on display at the Air Force museum after it had entered a flat spin on a training flight, forcing the pilot to eject. The unmanned aircraft recovered from the spin on its own and glided into a snow-covered field where it was retrieved, repaired, and finished its service before entering the museum collection.
Unlike many of its predecessors, the F-106 saw continuous active duty service for 20+ years until replaced by the F-15 Eagle. The F-106 continued service in the Air National Guard until finally retired in favor of the F-15 and F-16ADF.
This re-release of the Revell 1/48 F-106 is welcome as it remains the best F-106 kit on the market in any scale. While it shows its age in terms of raised panel lines, the parts are flash-free and still show off some impressive engineering with the details in the cockpit, wheel wells and in the weapons bay.
Molded in light gray styrene, the kit comes on four parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. This kit probably has the best detailing of any of the early Revell-Monogram kits and that detail rivals many of the state of the art kits available today.
You have several options to choose from when you assemble the kit. First, you can display the aircraft with the weapons bay open or closed. You can choose from the blown or framed canopy, and you can choose to pose that canopy open or closed. The landing gear is not positionable but you could get the gear doors closed with a little work. The speed brakes are fixed open, but these to can be closed with a little work. The flight controls are molded in place, but the elevons are molded into a natural droop position making it look natural on the ground.
Markings are provided for two aircraft:
- F-106A-135-CO, 59-0142, 456 FIS, Castle AFB CA, 1962
- F-106A-130-CO, 59-0127, 48 FIS, Langley AFB, 1972
It is nice to see this kit back on the shelves, and the new decals are a nice touch. At the MSRP of $16.75 USD, this is still one of the best buys on the market. This kit is recommended to builders of skill levels.
My sincere thanks to Revell for this review sample!