scale models

Lockheed F-104G Starfighter

335 Squadron “Tiger”, 116 Wing, Araxos, Hellenic Air-Force, 1965

As the Lysander project was approaching the last steps, I began to scroll through the listings of my favourite modeling shop, Passion132, looking for my next victim project. I was intrigued by the paint scheme of Eduard’s limited edition F-104J (a reboxing of the Hasegawa kit with the usual Eduard extras) but by the time I decided to buy it, it was out of stock. So, I begun to look for alternative F-104 kits and came across the AMMO kit.

This AMMO special edition kit is in fact too a reboxing. It is actually the Kinetic F-104G kit with different paint schemes options. What made it interesting to me was that one of the 6 options is of a Greek F-104G.

The Kinetic kit is excellent, with good panel details and a lot of extras:

  • airbrakes that can be build in the opened or closed position
  • flaps, ailerons and slats that can be built in the lowered position
  • avionics bay behind the canopy
  • radar mechanism
  • photoetched seatbelts (and other details)
  • both types of ejection seats (C-2 for early and Martin Baker for late aircraft)
  • weighted wheel tyres

On top of that, I decided to build the kit with a couple more open panels. I used two sets by CMK, the engine hydraulics access bay and the electronics bay. Finally, I also used Eduard’s painting masks for the canopy.

For reference I used an excellent book on the subject, Lock On No. 1 – Lockheed’s C/N F-104 G/J Starfighter by Verlinden Publications.

The construction was pretty straightforward, except two unfortunate mishaps.

The first mishap was that somehow I managed to lose the front landing gear! After I turned the house upside down without finding it, I resorted to scratch-build a new one, using pieces of plastic and a paperclip. The result was not perfect but it was good enough!

As I mentioned above, I chose to build this as a Greek Starfighter, FG-314 (22314) of 335 Squadron (“Tiger”), 116 Wing, stationed in Araxos Airbase. When Greece took delivery of the first F-104Gs in the late 60’s they were in a metal finish with white (top) / grey (bottom) wings. Later, in the 70’s they adopted the “South-East Asia” NATO camouflage of green & brown top / grey bottom. This is the scheme that the kit suggests.

Personally, I think the silver/white early scheme is more beautiful, and this is what I chose to do. Thankfully most of the decals are the same for both paint schemes. The only difference in building the kit was that I used the C-2 seat instead of the Martin-Baker.

So, for the main color, I used Mission Models MMC-001 Chrome (on top of black primer so that the chrome can really shine). I mixed it with black and or Mission Models MMM-003 Aluminium on selected panels and the tail, consulting photos of the real subject.

After the painting, came time for the second mishap! I used a gloss varnish in a spray can to “seal” the paint before applying the decals. This was not a good idea as somehow the varnish reacted with the chrome paint ruining it in some places.

In order to recover the model I had to strip the paint entirely and start again from the beginning. Happily, AK Interactive’s Paint Stripper was excellent for this. So, in fact, this kit was painted twice! The second time I used Mission Models’ own gloss varnish and was able to finish without further trouble.

Below, some photos from the construction phase:

Products Used

CMK “F-104G/J Electronic Box (for Kinetic)”1/48CMK4400
CMK “F-104G/J Engine (for Kinetic)”1/48CMK4401
Eduard “F-104G TFace”1/48EX665