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Colin Gomez
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CF-104 Starfighter – Hasegawa 1/48

August 5, 2020 · in Aviation · · 32 · 2.8K

Here is my attempt at modeling the Starfighter in 1/48th scale. This is my one and only Bare Metal Foil model - it was pretty labor intensive but worth the effort. I applied the BMF panel by panel and mostly used Matt Aluminum but also segments of Bright Chrome. Being wary of masking BMF, I did the anti-glare panel in black foil, rather than painting it. I airbrushed Tamiya smoke for the darkening around the burner can. The red is MM Acryl Guards Red and the Gray dialectric panels are slightly lightened Tamiya Sky Gray. The decals are from Leading Edge and represent a Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft normally based in CFB Cold Lake, Alberta but serving with NATO forces in Europe. I find it very difficult to photograph this model, but I think I have finally got a decent light balance with more emphasis on natural light and a little bit of LED for filler. I had originally thought the BMF had a yellow tinge from age but I now think this was a result of the wrong lighting, since it actually looks fine to the naked eye. BTW, I detailed the cockpit with an Eduard set but decided to do the canopy closed to preserve the sleek lines of the 104. I have a couple more of these Hasegawa kits in my stash plus the big Italeri model in 1/32nd. These will be done with the canopy open. Hope you like it. Please forgive the still slightly uneven results on the photography

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

15 additional images. Click to enlarge.

32 responses

  1. Very cool. I finished three RCAF CF-104s this year

    • Thanks, George. You are obviously another proud Canadian! I like the bold markings for this period on the 104. Probably the biggest roundels ever worn by an RCAF aircraft.

  2. Awesome job.

    I gave up on attempting Aluminum foil to do metal finished models for all the issues you outlined as they ended up in disaster for me. Always impressed when someone completes one though.

    • Thanks, Dan. The key for me was perseverance. I was also not afraid to peel off a panel that didn't look right and start again. Working a bit at a time allowed for that error correction. I made good use of my visor and fine tweezers.

  3. I gave up on this stuff long ago, so it's great to see someone accomplish a project, particularly one as nice as this.

    • Thanks, Tom. Sorry to hear you found the BMF frustrating. Looking back on this project, I would have done some of the complex curves and details with Rub n Buff or acrylic metalizer instead of coaxing the foil over everything. Still, it came out OK.

  4. Nice modeling work Colin. I love the F-104. Not the safest plane in the world but fast. ( when the engine did not quit on you ) My Brother started out as an airplane mechanic on them when he joined the Air Force.

    • Thanks, Bernard. That must have been nerve-wracking to be a mechanic on the 104, given all the crashes. Although accidents were almost all due to pilot error, the mechanics couldn't help being super cautious about tuning everything to perfection. I didn't know they had flame-outs so readily. My neighbor was on the fighter selection panel when we got the F/A-18. He told me that the biggest factor in RCAF CF-104 crashes was pilot overconfidence at high speed and low level. Nor a forgiving airplane, as you said.

  5. Very nice! Beautifully done.

  6. Nice work! My favorite 104 scheme.

  7. The hard work paid off on this one.
    It looks beautiful, Colin.

    • Thank you , John. It definitely takes some work to get a good result with BMF. As I said above, I may try a more "mixed media" method next time to avoid some of the trickier bending and blending.

  8. I bet it is not the last BMF you do with this fine result! If you get a day of sunshine you may want to try to take a picture outside in the sun, perhaps on some dark grey cardboard. That wil ensure no false light on your beautiful work Colin (@coling). Well done!

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Erik. Is this what you had in mind? I had a cramped space to work in and no way to clearly see what I was shooting with the ipad screen, but the pics are OK. The red is a bit more orange. One thing is how the cockpit detail comes through better. I couldn't get decent looking low angle shots. I will try my DSLR some time later.

      4 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  9. Wow Colin, that's impressive. Well done, I like it.

  10. Looks great ! I was fortunate to see one perform at 14 wing Greenwood in 1974, along with four CF 101 Voodoos. Quite a show. Both have been modeling subjects for me since.

    • Thanks, Phil. Nice that you got a chance to see both the 101 and 104 when they were in service. I only saw the 101 at the Abbotsford Air Show in BC as a kid. They were flying out of Comox on Vancouver Island. I have the Kitty Hawk F-101B in 1/48th scale in my stash, as well as more Leading Edge RCAF decals for it. I tried to rescribe the Monogram F-101 awhile back but found it too much work, so Kitty Hawk's model was a must have for me. Unlike BMF, re-scribing is not something I have a lot of patience for.

      • I didn't re-scribe my 1/48 Monogram Voodoo either, but I was happy with the results. I did remove the formation lights. 12 Wing Shearwater had one on static display for a while, and it was a good reference subject. I did a couple of the Revell Voodoos in 1/72 as well. They were my first BFM project (on the tail end) if I remember correctly. I should have taken a picture of the floor when I was finished---looked like the Roswell crash site.

        The afore mentioned airshow also had an Argus and a Tracker in the line up.

        Great stuff !

  11. Never used the BMF, but you did a fantastic job with it - especially as it appears others have shied away from its quirks! Lovely 104 - well done!

    • Thanks, Greg. BMF is good but you have to be in a meditative state to apply it with lots of time on your hands. I was motivated by my fascination with getting this colorful scheme right.

  12. Hello Colin,
    No experience with bare metal foil. But I can see and tell you, it looks fantastic.
    Good photographs and lots of WIP info. Thanks.
    Regards, Dirk

  13. Wow Colin this is amazing - did you use a special bare metal foil product or just normal kitchen foil? How did you get the different panel accents on the foil. I love the contrast of the foiled fuselage and the painted wings is that how the Canadian Air Force had the planes? I looks awesome.

    Such fantastic work, I want to get a starfighter and do an Italian scheme on it.

    • Thanks, Anthony@anthonyricco. I used Bare Metal Foil. I pre-shaded the panel lines with black, then I applied the foil in very small pieces trimmed to end cleanly at panel edges. I usually did this by burnishing down a roughly sized piece first, then running an Exacto knife along inside the panel line. The foil cuts easily with little pressure. It was a slow process over several days but quite relaxing and not as nerve-wracking as doing rivets with a wheeled tool. If a piece doesn't look perfect, you can just peel it off, smooth off the adhesive a bit and try again. I used two different shades of BMF (see article) but the shading effects sometimes just occur from applying each panel individually, sometimes varying the direction that you burnish in. If I do this again, I will use Rub n Buff on more complex curves and small pieces like gear doors instead of foil - it would look smoother.

      Funny story about this model. I took it to a model show in Hamilton, Ontario a few years back and thought it might get a prize, at least for my hours of work. At the end of the show, I patiently awaited the announced results in all the relevant categories and it didn't even get an honorable mention. My daughter was bored with the show (not a modeller herself!), so I packed up and left. Three years later, I noticed on an on-line list that it actually DID get an award that day in a special category for all metal-finished models that was announced at the very end. I don't build for contest awards but I had a good chuckle about that later. I made sure that I told my daughter that Dad's model was worth something after all.

      BTW, I really like the Italian F-104s myself. Right up there with the colorful Luftwaffe and Kreigsmarine versions. I have the big Italeri kit to do one day. I am torn, thought, between doing thae Italian or German versions and a Taiwanese 104 that shot down a PLAAF MiG-19. Hard to resist that rare combat success story for the 104, even if the colors are plainer.

      • Thanks for that in depth explanation Colin, I really hope to try it one day as it has amazing results, what did you glue it with?
        I'm glad it won something, it very much deserves it and if not for the reward, as you said at least a recognition for the huge amounts of time you put in.

        I can't wait to see what you do with the next one, looking forward to it.

  14. Glad to share, Anthony@anthonyricco. We modelers love talking about details 🙂 . The BMF has an adhesive on the back. You need a sharp X-acto blade to get each piece separated initially from the backing, then tweezers.

    As to your question about the painted wings on RCAF CF-104s, yes that was standard with the bare metal versions. Here is a beautifully preserved example mounted on a pole at the Hamilton Warplane Museum - probably with a coat of silver paint to preserve it.

    And another one of in-service aircraft.

  15. @coling Thanks for sharing - man those are really beautiful.

  16. Beautiful model @coling! A far cry from my Testors F-104A and a joy to behold! 🤗

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