Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hasegawa's Classic 1/72 F-104J

The 1/72 scale Lockheed F-104J is the first model kit by Hasegawa I ever built. I bought it at Peterson's on a shopping trip with my friend Phil. I remember painting a few details on it such as the white wing tops and black anti-glare panel, but that was about it. It remained in my collection up until we moved from J-5.
Building this kit again was fun, but I was surprised at the low quality of the parts. The F-104J must have been one of Hasegawa's early airplane kits because the parts do not fit well, and the plastic is molded in a hard, brittle, silver-gray. There was a fair amount of flash on some parts. At some point in the early 70s Hasegawa must have had a quality improvement initiative, because other kits such as the A-4E Skyhawk (post forthcoming) are like night and day compared to this one.
For this rebuild I chose the Japan Air Self Defense Force version "666", same as my original. Instead of leaving the fuselage bare plastic though, I sprayed it with Testors primer gray, which seemed to match the Federal Standard shade of gray recommended on the instruction sheet. For the shiny aluminum part around the tail pipe, and the canopy framework I used metal foil with Micro Metal Foil Adhesive. I chose to omit the under wing fuel tanks and Sidewinder missiles in order to keep the Starfighter's sleek appearance. I don't think Hasegawa ever released an airplane model kit with a display stand, so wheels down is always the "option" unless one wishes to hang their kit from the ceiling.
This is an okay kit, not my favorite, but it was fun to revisit. I'm looking forward to rebuilding Hasegawa's better kits such as the A-4E, Mig-25, and Thunderbirds T-38.

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