I decided it’s time to add a 1/48 modern pilot to join my 1/48 WWII pilot that’s used for size comparisons for my completed kits. There is a surprising lack of offerings for standing modern pilots in 1/48 scale but I finally got my hands of a pair of them, courtesy of Plus Model. Even better, it’s a mixed gender pair. Inside the blister are 2 figures, a duffel bag and a small sheet of decals. An illustration serves as a color guide with no paint codes provided.
I decided to go with the female pilot as it’s more interesting and I prefer the pose. The sculpt looks good overall though I think the face lacks femininity. The pour tabs are small and easily removed.
Once the tabs are cut off and the cut marks sanded down, I scrubbed the figure with soap before pinning onto the cork base. First color on is black as a base.
Then I sprayed white at a 45 degree down angle to hit the spots where the Sun up in the sky will hit on a typical day. This will serve as a base for my highlights and shadows. I then painted with paints cut with a bit of glaze medium to reduce the opacity so the work done previously still shows through. For an added splash of color, I gave the figure a red undershirt. I also went with a tan flight suit to break up the monotony of everything being olive drab.
After the first wash, the figure still looks flat. So I went in to add highlights on the edges and ridges of the figure. I then spent some time tweaking the highlights and shadows by repainting, washing then repainting again.
I then added the shoulder patches from the included decal sheet.
After a final flat coat, I’m done. I think I still have a ways to go with painting faces but I can live with this result.
For what I intend to use it for, I think it looks good.
Painting the bare metal finish is next. I’ve had good results from the Vallejo Metal Color line which are acrylics, a more exotic choice than the usual lacquers like Alclad.
I begin by masking off the colored areas with masking tape and paper.
First on is Metal Color Aluminium.
The paint goes on easily when slightly thinned.
I then removed all the masking tape to check the work. Unfortunately I didn’t do a good job masking off the antiglare panel.
So after more masking, I repainted the dark green color. There were also minor spots that needed fixing which I settled at this point.
The fuel tanks were straightforward.
Based on photos I’ve seen, there are variations of color at the aft end of the fuselage so I’ll be trying to replicate it. I don’t have a reference photo of this exact F-104J I’m building so this is an artistic license call.
More masking. But I was concerned that the tape might lift the metallic paint so I made sure to stick the tape to my pants first before applying on the kit. The next color I used was Metal Color Duralanium for the left and right panels.
Once that has cured, I then masked these off and painted the middle panel Metal Color Dull Aluminium. I’m quite happy with the results. I think the middle panel should be darker but I’ll live with it!
I then attached the wings to check the work. The old school vibe is strong in this one…
Decals and finishing are next!
Painting begins with a black base with Tamiya XF-1 Black.
The F-104J I’m modeling is a unit from the 202nd Hikotai, 5th Kokuden out of Nyutabaru Air Base in 1979. It sported a custom scheme over its all metal finish when it flew as an aggressor. So out come Tamiya XF-2 Flat White for the marble coat.
As usual, I’m not not precise about it.
First up the blue. The TwoBobs instructions call for FS 15102. I used Mig AMMO Dark Gray Blue for this.
I thinned it with thinner and added a few drops of flow improver and glaze medium to reduce the opacity. So even after a few layers of paint, the marble coat still shows.
There’s a white band inside the blue so I started masking.
I went with a base of black then Model Air Insignia White. Looks like I thinned it too much though and it didn’t spray right.
So I buffed down the blobs and re-sprayed with Tamiya XF-2 Flat White instead.
The white band also wraps around the bottom.
The nose is also not in bare metal so this also gets a marble coat.
There are also 2 colors for the nose. Instructions say FS 36251. I used Vallejo Model Air Aggressor Grey.
Once cured, I masked out the antiglare panel.
AK Interactive Dark Green for FS 34079.
The wings went through the same treatment as the fuselage so I start with a base of black.
Then a marble coat of white.
The top side is white so it’s Tamiya XF-2 Flat White over Model Air Insignia White. The bottom of the wings are FS 36375 gray and I used Model Air Pale Grey Blue.
Once these have cured properly it’s time for more masking and then tackling the metal finish.
Hasegawa is known for reboxing their old kits with new decals and slapping on a ‘limited edition’ label on them. Just look at how many times they have released their 2nd F-14 mold. Lately though, they have done something new with their existing kits: modify them into what-if UAVs. There has been 3 so far:
The cynic in me says that this is just another way Hasegawa is milking their molds instead of releasing new ones. The A-10 for instance, is from 1982. Also these are totally imaginary designs. However, they look surprisingly striking especially the Mi-24. Hasegawa even went to the trouble of molding resin inserts to replace the cockpits. This reinforces the limited nature of the kits though.
Photos from Hobby Search
Once properly painted, washed and weathered, the out of the box cockpit looks good.
Fit in general is good. The instructions don’t call for it but I added some fishing weights in the nose just in case.
The tip of the tail broke off during construction.
This was fixed with plastic plates.
As usual, some prepping is required for the intakes. The tip of the inlet cones were painted black then masked off as per the instructions. The rest was painted steel.
The intakes fit well and as expected, not much of the inside can be seen since they are so narrow.
So the details are great and the ailerons, flaps and rudder are kitted separately. However, there are injection pin marks all over them. Oof… ball dropped Hasegawa!
They are very close to the rivets too. Sigh…
Work begins using acrylic putty which can be wiped off with water.
Yep. There are many ejector pin marks including some on the main landing gear.
After a few rounds I’m ready to move on.
The wings were assembled and I decided to have the flaps slightly lowered. I’ve seen them both up and down on the tarmac but figured lowered looks more interesting.
The wingtip tanks are also over-engineered with each made up of 9 parts. The L4 and L5 fins didn’t fit properly but worse were the round disks part U5. These needed to fit before the 2 halves came together so I cemented them to 1 of the halves first. What’s not mentioned in the instructions is that these disks have an orientation for them to fit flushed.
I botched some of them so I simply sanded everything down smooth. The markings I’ll be using comes with decals for these disks so no problem with the lack of details.
I decided to close the speed brakes. These fit well though the gap on 1 side is bigger than expected. These were quickly filled with acrylic putty.
The stabilator is in 1 piece and there’s a hole on the bottom that I can’t find a use for. This was filled and sanded down. There’s also a big ejector pin mark here which was filled.
And of course, I dropped the kit and of course it landed nose down.
I fixed the best I could with sanding sticks. Looks OK but we’ll see.
I punched out a small round disk of G-Option Aurora Film for the HUD projector and chipped, washed and highlighted the cockpit.
The 3 part canopy was given a dip of Future, then masked off. Curiously, there’s no open canopy option so I cemented them in place.
Since they can pretty much snapfit into place, I’m leaving the main wings off until final assembly. In any case, once the minor gaps are addressed, it’s time for painting!
- WIP : Tamiya 1/72 F-16CM Fighting Falcon Pt.2 – Construction
- WIP : Tamiya 1/72 F-16CM Fighting Falcon Pt.1 – Construction
- Completed : Hasegawa 1/48 Lockheed/Mitsubishi F-104J Starfighter
- WIP : Hasegawa 1/48 F-104J Starfighter Pt. 6 – Finishing
- WIP : Hasegawa 1/48 F-104J Starfighter Pt. 5 – Finishing