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1/32 Scale F-104 Starfighter with real aluminum skin – Completed!

Hello all you sheltered in place modelers! Well I have finally completed the 1/32 scale F-104 with all aluminum skin! This is something I always wanted to do, and now I can finally say I have done it!
(If I never see thin aluminum again in my life, I will be ok with it!)
I spent probably 200 hours on this kit, most of it cutting, sanding, fitting and riveting little aluminum panels. The fit on this Italeri kit was very good, detail was very lackluster, so I had to add a lot.
The mode sits at nearly 20″ long so it is quite impressive!
I don’t know if I will ever do another all metal skin aircraft again, but I can say I will never use metallic paint again for bare metal areas, it can’t compete with the real thing.
Thanks for checking it out.

23 additional images. Click to enlarge.


15 responses to 1/32 Scale F-104 Starfighter with real aluminum skin – Completed!

  1. To echo Robert, this really is amazing! Stunning.

  2. Amazing was the word I too was going to use! Wow.

  3. It is amazing. It is REAL! It screams out all this effort and commitment to excellence you put into it. It’s a masterpiece, I can smell the polished aluminium…
    Thank you Rick for sharing with us.
    All the best, my friend.

  4. Thanks so much for the highest compliments!!! Makes it all worth while 🙂

  5. Very impressive build.

  6. Fantastic. If I had known you were displaying I would have sent you to Agent JayZ on YouTube. He works at S&S Turbines in Canada and they do a lot of LM1500 turbines for industrial applications, but it is close kin to the J79 which they also work on “for a customer”. (I’m thinking either Starfighter Aerospace with the 104s or Collings Foundation’ F-4. Maybe both. Can’t think of anyone else flying stuff powerd by a J79.) Anything you’ve ever wanted to know about a J79 (or gas turbines in general) is on his channel with lots of reference close ups! Here’s a sample of an engine run for one going in a plane. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SH5953iQ6w

  7. I’ve checked him out before. Very very cool stuff! Those engines are amazing!!

  8. Rick, This is gorgeous, very realistic finish. Well done !

  9. That’s one of the nicest looking metal skinning jobs I have seen, Rick. Your perseverance paid off. I have seen a real CF-104 up close in our National Aeronautical Collection in Ottawa. There is nothing that looks more like real metal than real metal. Great job on a daunting task.

    May ask how the photography went? I have had a heck of a time photographing my 1/48th CF-104. I can’t seem to get the light balance right so the model doesn’t look anything like it really does in person.

    • Thank you so much Colin! Doing real metal is crazy time consuming and I don’t use bare metal foil, this was actual aluminum.
      I just used my phone for photos while really doesn’t do this model justice! Once we are out of the apocalypse I’ll have it shot by a friend who shoots professionally, intact he is going to be shooting all of my models for an upcoming book.
      Thanks so much for the message!!

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