This is my Hasegawa 1/32 F-104C Starfighter, #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 F-104 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: