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John Healy
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1/48 Lockheed F-104A

October 8, 2019 · in Aviation · · 28 · 3K

This is the F-104C backdated to a Tennessee Air National Guard “A” model from the early 1960s. This is one of those planes I've always wanted to model but couldn't get proper decals. IPMS USA came to the rescue this past August by issuing a Tennessee themed decal sheet to celebrate the Chattanooga US nationals. I also got an opportunity to try out AK Extreme Metal paints. Initially, I was unsure of the polished metal shade and sprayed the whole plane in Floquil Bright Silver. I then did various panels and the exhaust using the AK. It turned out pretty nice. I also played around with the AK polished metal over a gloss black on some paint mule kits while I had the airbrush out. I have to say it performs well but needs time to dry. I'll be using AK for all my NMF planes from here on out. I also added an Aries resin Lockheed C2 seat and resin wingtip Sidewinder rails. The Hasegawa kit is designed to only be built with the tip tanks. You need to trim about 2.5mm from each tip to fit the Eduard rails. The Sidewinders are from a Hasegawa weapons set. I used the IPMS decals and some items from a Caracal Models sheet. It's a nice model of a pretty unique subject. Thanks for looking.

Reader reactions:
16  Awesome

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

28 responses

  1. It turned out very nice, looks great! I think that the 104 looks better with the missiles on the wing tips, rather then the fuel tanks.

  2. Outstanding work, sir...stunning finish. I love it! 🙂

  3. That is a great looking 104. Well done!

  4. Looks very nice (though I couldn't get the pics to load full-screen...). I have to say I think a 104 looks a tad anemic without those tip tanks to beef it up some! But there is a certain allure to a missile carrying missiles!

  5. Nice work John ,I've always wanted to build an F104 but never got round to it yet...
    As a Brit from over the pond I'm curious what a national guard is, why would a state within your country have it's own little airforce ?

    • Thanks Neil. It’s the first American 104 I’ve ever done. When I was a kid I built West German and Dutch Starfighters that stared down a couple Soviet and Czech Migs across the shelf?. American states have a limited amount of sovereignty within the federal union and National Guard units are essentially state militias under command of the governor. Each unit can be federalized by the President in an emergency to supplement the regular armed forces. In modern times these units are part of the total force concept and form a significant part of USAF strength. This particular unit, the 151st Fighter Squadron was deployed to Germany during the Berlin crisis in 1961-62. F-104s from Arizona and South Carolina also deployed during this operation. Here’s an Alabama Air Guard F-16 and an Illinois Air Guard KC-135 with an RAF A400 that I photographed last month when I saw the Red Arrows at the St. Louis air show.

      2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

    • Hey Neil. @neil-foster Our National Guard is a State-operated, national system of Reserve military. Kind of like the Territorial Army, if I understand correctly. As you know, we have the President, Senators (2 per state) and Congressional members. ( Congressional members are determined by the amount of people populating a given district. Right now, I believe there are 538 Congressmen & Women.) The State's militia (the National Guard) is controlled by the Governor of the state. The Governor can call out the National Guard in event of a weather emergency, for instance. When New Orleans gets hit so badly by hurricanes, he can call out the National Guard for help when manpower is needed. That's just one way the Guard can be activated. There are a few jobs the Military needs in event of a war that aren't actually used "daily" by the Army. (Or Navy, or Air Force.) For instance, during Desert Storm, our tanks were transported on the large HEMMIT (pardon any mis-spelled acronyms) tractor/trailers. Those drivers & their vehicles (all 55 of them, at the time) were actually from the National Guard, although I don't know specifically where they were from. The first Infantry units sent to Viet Nam were actually National guard. Not EVERY state has all three types of units, either. Only a few states have a Naval unit nor does every state have the Air force, though many, or even most do have an Air National Guard unit. Why ... ? to supplement the USAF in time of need.

      I hope this helps!

  6. Absolutely gorgeous, John!

    Add me to the list of Missiles vs. Fuel Tanks debate as a missile fan. On the side, I've seen F-104s of the modern German Air Force (circa 1983-1987) on a couple REFORGER exercises used as ground attack. They (plus A7s) were used to attack our tanks! It sure was interesting seeing F-104s up close and personal.

  7. I really like it John. I think Microscale had TENN ANG markings available in 72nd scale but this is the first time i'd seen a 48th scale model done up with them.

    I too like the early -A Model Starfighters. There was a quote from a pilot who said, "Never volunteer to fly the A-Model of anything" and i wonder if he was thinking of the F-104. Still, the 83rd at Hamilton AFB used em before trading them in for Voodoos, and the Navy operated three of em for flight testing of the AIM-9 at China Lake. IIRC, Jordan and Pakistan got As but what they did with them i don't know.

  8. Splendid Model, very eye catching contrast between the NMF and those white wings. What’s not to like from the golden age of Jet Planes?

  9. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    Stunning overall work Jim, a pure joy too see.
    Thank you for sharing these images which clearly show good photography.

  10. Hello John,
    The F-104 period was the start of my enthusiasm for military aviation.
    Has not changed. Great model with attractive decals.
    Regards, Dirk

  11. Ah the missile with a man in it. Nicely done John, I've seen the Germans fly them fast and low as they attacked our positions in Germany in the 70's. Also saw one fly at the Dayton air show back in the 80's, wonder what ever happened to it as it was civilian owned. They are impressive to see in the air. Good job on this one, I like it.

  12. awesome work john

  13. Great job on the paint. I'm thinking about trying some AK paints. I'm also about to start a Hasegawa CF-104 to be done as the Black and White Checkerboard

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