I begin with a gloss coat. I use AK Interactive’s Intermediate Gauzy, thinned 1:1 with water. There’s a tendency for gloss or flat coats to change the tone of metal paints but I’m glad to say that it works well with metal paints.
Markings will be from the TwoBobs ‘F-104J Komatsu Starfighters’ sheet. As usual with Twobobs, the quality is very good and the decals are thin yet strong. They reacted well with Mark Softer and the carrier film is so thin you can’t really see it unless you really look closely and only at some angles.
At this point, I realized I missed out on painting a part on the spine. The instructions call for a yellowish shade.
I carefully masked off the area and made sure no masking tape touched any of the surrounding decals.
The yellow is a mix of yellow and a brownish white color. I ended up having to remove the red decal closest to the yellow area. Luckily the TwoBobs sheet comes with enough stencils for 2 F-104Js so I have a replacement.
Unfortunately, the instructions weren’t too clear about the exact placement of the wing Hinomaru and the stencils around it. This is purely guesstimate on my part.
The intructions also didn’t indicate which Hinomaru to place on each side of the fuselage: they have different white stencil markings in them.
There were a few ports that needed to be drilled out with clear parts inserted. Turns out I had to drill them from the inside during construction so it was something I needed to address during finishing. Turns out though, all these spots were covered by decals so all the nice clear ports would have been covered up.
The F-104J is thankfully not stencil-heavy like the JASDF’s F-4 Phantom. What markings there are definitely showcases how striking they are though.
Weathering and finishing is next.