by: Andy Brazier [ ]
HistoryThe F-104S Starfighter is the version used by the Italian Air Force and entered service in 1970.
Powered by the larger J79-GE-19 engine it produces 8,120kg of thrust with afterburner.
Modified with nine hard point stations on its wings and fuselage, the F-104S greatly enhanced its weapon carrying capacity over earlier versions. Although still used primarily as a Interceptor, it could also be used in a limited ground attack role.
The markings for this aircraft are for 22 Gruppo, 51 Stormo and is in the 50th anniversary colours. The black cat chasing the three mice is the badge of the 51 Stormo, applied on a grand scale to this Starfighter, although it is only applied to one side of the aircraft. The starboard side has the standard AMI dark green/dark grey disruptive camouflage scheme, with neutral grey undersides. The scarecrow badge of the 22 Gruppo is on the starboard intake.
The KitUpon opening the standard lidded box you will find two clear bags holding the kit. One bag holds the clear parts and decals, with the other bag holding 11 plastic injected sprues. The kit has 125 light grey plastic parts, 19 clear parts, 4 poly caps and 1 resin piece.
No flash is evident on any of the pieces. Sink marks appear to be in places they won't be seen, apart from the underside of the wing flaps. These could be quite difficult to remove as their are some fine recessed rivet details around the marks.
The kit has some very fine recessed rivet details all over the kit and recessed panel lines The rivet detail may be lost under several coats of paint as running my finger across them, you can't even feel them. So thin applications of paint will probably be required, unless you feel like re-scribing about 2 million rivets lol.
Detail in the wheel bays is pretty good with the detail moulded on to the main parts. The cockpit is also fairly well detailed with the consoles having raised details and the option of using decals for the instrument panels. The ejection seat does look particulier nice once built.
The one resin piece is the fairing for the gun port and will require a little clean up to remove the pouring block.
Instructions and decalsThe B W instructions are fairly simple to follow and are printed on the standard concertina folded paper. The build is broken down into 17 steps and interior colours are given along the way for Mr Color and GSI Creos Aqueous Hobby Color.
A 2 page external painting and decal diagram takes up the back pages. The diagram has been reduced 65% from 1/48th scale. With port, starboard, top and the underneath shown it looks fairly easy to figure out what paint colour goes where on this scheme (I think the masking will be the tricky bit).
The decals are well defined and in register. The "cat" decal is broken into 4 pieces so it shouldn't be to troublesome to apply.