Profile Photo
Spiros Pendedekas
138 articles

Hasegawa 1/32 F-104C Starfighter

October 8, 2021 · in Aviation · · 40 · 2.7K

Hi everyone!

This is my , #60886 "Fannie", as she (more or less...) stood in Vietnam, 1965.

The story of the Starfighter is well known: created as a day fighter by Lockheed as one of the Century Series of fighter aircraft for the United States Air Force (USAF), it was developed into an all-weather multi-role aircraft in the early 1960s. An iconic single-engine, supersonic interceptor aircraft, it was extensively deployed as a fighter-bomber during the Cold War. It was produced by several other nations, seeing widespread service outside the United States.

From October 1958 and onwards, the was re-equipping the 479 TFW, after the F-100A struggled to meet the requirements of an effective air superiority fighter.

Primarily intended for a nuclear strike, the TAC wanted to use the Starfighter for conventional ground attack missions, despite its lack of range, endurance, all-weather capability, and offensive capability. As a result, only 296 out of 722 initially ordered were delivered.

But the F-104 glory days were yet to come: modifications made to the F-104G led to a large number of foreign sales, with the Starfighter metamorphosing from a mediocre air-superiority day fighter into a highly capable multi-role all-weather strike fighter.

The excellent flying weather in Southern California gave the 479th a new mission to train F-104 pilots from West Germany, Canada, the Netherlands and Italy during January 1962 – August 1963 as a result of the foreign-sale success of the G-model Starfighter.

The 479th was the only USAF wing to take the F-104C into combat when in April 1965, the 476th TFS deployed to Kung Kuan Air Base, Taiwan.

From its base in Taiwan, the squadron began a regular rotation to Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam where its mission was to fly MiG combat air patrol (MiGCAP) missions to protect USAF F-100 fighter bombers against attack by North Vietnamese fighters. The effect of F-104 deployment upon NVN and PRC MiG operations was immediate and dramatic. NVN MiGs soon learned to avoid contact with USAF strikes being covered by the F-104s.

As the MiG threat abated, the F-104s were quite successfully tasked with some weather reconnaissance and ground attack missions, but after four losses, the 436th was rotated back to Georgia AFB in November 1965.

This is the old (1975), but by no means obsolete 1/32 offering from Hasegawa.

Apart from the raised panel lines (no problem for me), the somehow simplified cockpit and MLG bays and the relatively shallow intake depth, it is a solid kit with good general shape, builds easily and the comprehensive decal sheet will beef up a lot the finished model looks.

Should you wish to read the full build review, please do so by visiting my beloved site Modelingmadness here:

Happy modeling!

Reader reactions:
12Β  Awesome

40 responses

  1. Great-looking manned missile! I love the century series jets - need to build more of them...

  2. Hey Spiros ,Fantastic build once again, of an absolute death trap of an aircraft, the Hawker Hunter was a superior aircraft but the almighty dollar speaks more loudly ,pity for all the dead pilots...
    That said the F104 looks amazing when I finaly get round to building one I hope it's half as good as this well done buddy.
    Keep safe

    • Thanks my friend @neil-foster! Indeed the Hunter was a superior aircraft, a true fighter aircraft, whereas the F-104 was ultimatey better suited for the strike/bomber role.
      A then technologically advanced plane, with its strong points, but also severe limitations,especially regarding maneuverability: tolerance was zero, it was a very unforgiving aircraft.

  3. Nice job, Spiros. Love the look...All those stencils makes it come alive!

  4. Glad you caught that the early F-104 wasn't quite the dud everyone seems to think it was.

    In fact, during Project Feather Duster - the Air Force investigation into the value of knowing Air Combat Maneuvering done two months after the April 4, 1965 defeat over the Dragon's Jaw (where they basically proved everything the Ault Report and Top Gun would demonstrate three years later, which was then ignored by TAC until the war was over) - the F-104 came out the best in ACM tests with ANG F-86Hs masquerading as MiG-17s, over the F-4 and F-105.

    There's also the 1962 William Tell victory by a 479th TFW F-104C (nuke tasked) over all the TAC fighter/fighter-bomber units.

    Between 1962-68, the F-104A and C (flown by ADC pilots who had undergone ACM training as a result of Feather Duster) was the major deterrent in South Florida for the Cuban MiG-21s.

    It's always interesting to find out (once again) that the "common wisdom" isn't always that wise.

    And, in this case, it's also a very nice model. I eagerly await arrival of my Kinetic F-104A/C.

    • Thanks my friend @tcinla!

      Indeed, not only there was really nothing wrong with the early Starfighter (apart from some teething problems with the J79 and maybe its tad short range...), but also features like its climb performance, operational ceiling, light weight and relative simplicity (among others), were very "right". Used with the correct tactics, it would excel.

      (Low level ride was second to none, by the way, much missed by the pilots who flew it...).

      Thanks (once again) for the detailed info.

      " Of course " looking forward to your Kinetic early Starfighter (oh, my! TC will build a jet! πŸ™‚ )

  5. Impressive build of this iconic bird, Spiros @fiveten
    It will be very noticeable on the shelf.
    Great background information about the 104C.
    Nice review on MM as well.

  6. Nice job on your build, it looks great! I forgot how long ago this kit has been around. These F-104 always looks fast even while not moving or have a big anchor attached behind it!

  7. Another great one Spiros, It's interesting to here positive info about the Starfighter.

  8. Very clean and smooth-looking F-104, Spiros. Flawlessly even finish and great decal work. You've really shown how the older Hasegawa kit can stand up to the current Italeri version. I definitely like the look of the Starfighter with the canopy closed. I have yet to build one myself with the cockpit fully displayed. I also can't get used to the way the darn thing hinges to port since that is always an aircraft's "best side" somehow.

  9. Such a great work! So big in this scale! Great details in cockpit!

  10. Love the 104. Your kit looks great Spiros.

  11. Nice job Spiros especially in this old kit.

  12. Looks great, Spiros (@fiveten). Nice job on the natural metal finish. I have this kit lurking somewhere, so I will need to get going on it after we move.

    • Thanks my friend @gblair!
      Might be an oldie of a kit, but in no means obsolete!
      Despite being 1/32, construction is not that complicated, as well. I risk to say that you will have a pleasant time putting this kit together.

  13. I'm not into jets Spiros but you did a looker on this!

  14. πŸ™‚ ... Greetings ... πŸ™‚ :
    Sharp looking build Spiros !

  15. Great build of the coolest-looking jet fighter. I should pull mine out of the stash and build it!

  16. I enjoyed your pictures as much as your informative text, a beautiful and impressive model!

  17. Another fantastic build my friend, you have caught the dramatic looks of the Starfighter brilliantly, definitely liked.

  18. That looks really sharp, Spiros. I think the 104 looks best in NMF.

  19. Excellent finish sir these Hasegawa kits seem to be up there with the latest offerings as far as fit and detail. Well I recall the days when they were regarded as top of the line, and still I think they are better than most.

    I always wondered why the engineers did not add a couple of feet to the wings as they did to the B-26 in WW II, it would probably have made the aircraft much more manageable. Slower, too no doubt but a fair amount of pilots would still be alive


    • Thanks my friend @markh!

      Indeed, this Hasegawa offering was a nice kit with good details, good fit, not overly complicated and with excellent decals, a joy to build! Maybe at places not as much detailed as some more modern kits, but still very acceptable.

      Yes, the aerodynamic design of the Starfighter was unforgiving, friends who piloted it used to joke telling me that they would fly it not by "normal" stick movements but by "trimming", otherwise it would stall before even spelling the word "stall"!

      Those flying qualities were both loved and hated: the Starfighter was really fast and REALLY unforgiving...

  20. Fantastic once again. I do love this USA schemes in aluminium. Excellent!

Leave a Reply