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1/72 Esci/AMT USAF F-104 Drone

The 1/72 Esci F-104 kits were re-boxed by AMT. The kits are pretty nice with extra fine recessed panel lines and the option to build the short tail A or C version or the more common long tail version used by most countries except the US and a few others. The decals are very good as well. I don’t think these kits are being made anymore so getting one will mean looking online etc. Originally they were about half the price of the Hasegawa 104 kits and didn’t have the overscale rivet detail found on the Hasegawa 104s.

The flouro orange colour is an attention getter. The trick is to be easy on the paint application or the panel lines will disappear. Painting flouro orange required a base coat of white. I used Tamiya white primer decanted from the rattle can and sprayed through my Paasche H airbrush. The orange is Humbrol flat flouro orange thinned with laquer thinner. The natural metal areas are Humbrol metalcote, also thinned with laquer thinner. Spraying with flouro paint can be tricky as it is semi translucent and thicker than normal Humbrol enanmel. Making repairs isn’t as easy as regular paint as you need to strip off the entire section, mask and re-prime and respray to get an even coat. You can’t just spray over top and expect to get an even coat.

I used an acrylic “sludge” wash to accent the panel lines where any were left after painting, LOL. I didn’t use a clear top coat on this model.

Photos were taken with a tripod mounted Canon SL1 DSR on aperture priority at the smallest aperture F22 and a shutter speed of 1.5 seconds (100 IS0) using reading lamps for lighting. The backdrop is a piece of $1 bristle board curved at the back to create a “seamless” backdrop effect.

3 additional images. Click to enlarge.


21 responses to 1/72 Esci/AMT USAF F-104 Drone

  1. Nice job. That’s a great kit.

  2. Very nice Don, great build and photography. I also built the Esci kit in the same QF-104 scheme; maybe not as sophisticated as the Hasegawa kit but still perfectly presentable.

  3. Fancy colourful bird, I like it !

  4. Great job, love the color scheme! I did one of these kits myself awhile back, it is a good kit.

  5. hello Don,
    Excellent finished model in very difficult color scheme.
    Also thanks for your explanation.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

  6. Nicely done Don, looks good, well presented.

  7. Nice job Don. Try using a bit of tracing paper or similar to diffuse the light more. You’ll find the edges of the underside shadow are softer.

  8. Really awesome, thanks for sharing!

  9. Excellent build Don, and love to hear that a fellow modeler mentions his airbrush and how well he applies what can be a difficult scheme. I also use a Paasche “H” since the late 70’s. The Esci F-104 like their F-100 is a little gem of a kit. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chuck I am on my second Paasche H airbrush. After several tip replacements over the years, I wasn’t getting the performance that I was used to. For such a simple airbrush, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it. My new one has been working great. I bought my first one also in the 70s…I guess 40 plus years of use is pretty good! I also have a couple fancy Iwatas that I have been too chicken to use so far.

  10. Great-looking 104, and a real stand-out scheme! Well done.

  11. Very well done – very crisp paint job

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