by: Andy Brazier [ ]
Evolved from German wartime research, the F-102A and TF-102A were the first pure delta wing aircraft to enter service.
Initial problems, including an unwillingness to go supersonic, delayed its introduction and forced a complete redesign.
Its frontline career was brief, but three times as many "Deuces" were built than its successor, and it saw service with far more units, including two foreign customers.
The original wing fitted to the F-102A was known as the Case X (Case 10) wing. It was fitted to aircraft up to 56-1316, and could be distinguished by the squared off tip to the wing, which was also slightly unswept. The Case XX (Case 20) wing was tested in May 1957 and had been introduced into production by the end of the year. The new wing, with its downturned, pointed tips and leading edge camber, increased the F-102A’s ceiling, and improved manoeuvrability, glide angle and low speed stability. Top speed was also increased by Mach 0.06. However, despite these benefits, the Case XX wing was not retrofitted to earlier machines.
In the box
The kit comes in a top opening box with the six light grey sprues, one clear sprue, a set of decals and the instruction booklet all packed in tight, which makes a nice change from opening a box and wondering why there is so much empty space with a few sprues congregating in a corner somewhere lol.
Apart from sprue D, of which there is two of, each sprue is packed in its own cellophane bag, with the clear sprue double wrapped, so damages to parts is going to be near enough nonexistent.
Onto the plastic itself and there are a few pin marks but these are very shallow and seem to be confined to parts of the kit which won’t be seen, there is no flash present but the larger parts do have flow marks in the plastic.
Meng’s F-102A Case XX follows on from their earlier release with the Case X wing, and the only difference between the two, which is due to how the kit is engineered, is the different wingtips on a new sprue F.
Exterior detail is exquisite with very fine recessed panel lines and rivet detail.
Interior detail starting with the cockpit has a recessed instrument panel, which has the option for use with a supplied decal. The ejection seat is made up of three parts, but you will have to add your own harnesses. The cockpit tub has raised switches for the side consoles.
The undercarriage bays are nicely detailed with internal ribbing and hydraulic lines as raised details, and the gear doors are well detailed with recessed and raised areas. The undercarriage legs themselves are pretty good, but do look very delicate. The wheels have nice detail moulded onto them.
The weapons bay can be modelled either open or closed.
The detail for the open weapons bay is the best part of the kit, as the sides and even the edges of the bays have detail moulded onto them. The six missiles can be modelled in either their launch positions on extended pylons or tucked inside the weapons bay on folded pylons.
Two external fuel tanks make up the rest of the ordnance.
The rear clamshell speed brakes can also be modelled open or closed. Internal detail is also moulded onto the inside of these parts.
The exhaust is a five part affair with a nearly full length tube, with internal structuring. A two piece nozzle with some nice detail completes the aircraft.
The clear parts are distortion free and the rear canopy can be modelled open with an added actuator.
Instructions and decals
The instruction booklet is made up into 15 pages, with the build sequence over six pages and in eleven steps. Interior colours are given along the way, with the build in the black/grey line drawings we all know.
The build is pretty easy to follow, with the various options highlighted along the way.
The last page of the booklet has the paint colour guide for the Vallejo range of paints.
Four pages cover the decaling, and painting of the three marking options available.
Markings available are
A - 509th FIS, Udorn RTAFB, Thailand.
B – 196th FIS, California, 1968
C – 179th FIS, Minnesota, late 1960’s..
Options B and C of the aircraft are in the all over grey scheme, with option A in the South East Asia scheme.
The decals are printed by Cartograph, are in register and have little excess carrier film.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.