Third problem comes with airshafts, which need filling both at the top and bottom, where arches join the base. Perhaps the last trouble emerges with the warped component closing the cockpit. It needs filling both on the top [connecting to the fuselage] and on the side. Once again, making more rivets and new panel lines is needed. So much for the problematic areas of fuselage construction, and now something completely different - the detail set.
My model modification was based solely on the etched parts from Eduard. It was a perfect set – I made use of each and every single component, all of them were quite necessary and very practical – I wouldn’t have said that, if it wasn’t true. An already beautiful Hasegawa cockpit was complemented by Eduard’s etched control panel with an instrument foil [hint: paint the backside white, but try to indicate the instruments in color on the front]. Side panels couldn’t have been improved by Eduard, they are already great. Out of the plastic seat only the center portion remains, all other parts are made out of metal. It’s a delicate work, but the result is again fantastic. I only added ejection cartridges made of a plastic fiber [visible on some seats]. Etched pedals fit exactly where they belong, I only made their top fixing from paper and plastic. Now pay attention: glue in the instrumental panel before closing the fuselage, then the control stick and then shut the fuselage. I was working according to Hasegawa’s manual and I had a hard time – the panel is very hard to insert, I broke control stick, removed pushrods, and then the top foil with dials came off. After some twenty minutes I crammed the panel back in, repaired everything and breathed a sigh of relief… Before gluing the fuselage together, don’t forget to cut out an opening for the anti-vibration metal on the tail. At that place I also inserted a small plate inside the fuselage, just to make sure that the light wouldn’t “shine through”. Glue in the jet, land gear bay and close the fuselage. Also put a bit of lead on the front shaft and cement it with superglue [as for the amount, look at the photo, you can check it by putting your fingers in place of the landing gear and adding up lead until the nose falls down]. After that, everything goes smoothly, both the plastic and metal work.
When the construction had been completed, I sprayed the model with Mr. Surfacer 1000, restored the panel lines and riveting, smoothed the surface, sprayed over with silver Agama 08ME, gave an overall polish, and then began with spraying the camouflage. First I used white Humbrol 34 on the top of the wings, light blue/grey 87 on the bottom and the nose, then I masked these colors, sanded the white and grey matt color off the surface where the silver should come, and finally sprayed my Starfighter again with Agama 08Me. Fantastic surface! When the model was dry, I masked it again, mixed 08Me with Agama’s brass and Humbrol’s black, and sprayed the dark sections. Next came black, olive and sand colored accessories [all Humbrol]. I painted several panels with the chrome Model Master. Afterwards, the model received a protective layer of Sportakryl Gloss from half a liter can, which I thinned with Vallejo Airbrush Cleaner to my complete satisfaction. No, it didn’t destroy the matt silver, just the opposite. After the drying out phase came my long feared challenge. Having read several articles on “metal” Hasegawa decals and heeding the advice of producers from the Far East, I had bought the miraculous Mr. Mark Softer solution. I couldn’t have done better! In contact with the metal parts, the solution worked like holy water. Just apply under the decal, press slightly and brush over once or several times, as you deem fit, from the top. Mind you, it is not very sensitive to the decals, so the metal ones from Hasegawa will trace virtually anything. Splendid! One decal didn’t quite match the model’s nose, because of its wrong shape – actually, the colored lines are a bit distorted. It’s not apparent on the fuel tanks, but it does stand out on the nose section. Perhaps it was my mistake, but I couldn’t find it. Not a big deal though. I used Sportakryl with Vallejo again to protect the decals, and then moved on to the final stage. The lights were turned on by ethanol-based enamel paints from Agama on a chrome base from Model Master. I wanted to use Agama metalloid compound for the jet, but the delivery service hadn’t been fast enough. So I mixed Agama’s GunMetal with brass and Humbrol’s black, and with this mixture sprayed the jet [producing just the right color tone]. Attaching the wind shield, landing gear, panels, weapons pylons, radio aerials and other equipment was more or less a routine job. Weathering was done with oil paint Paynova grey thinned with the synthetic thinner from Agama, applied on the whole model and wiped off with a napkin, locally applied in the cockpit, landing gear bays, and wind shield. And the job is done!
The model is almost perfect [except for the ejector pin marks, minor inaccuracies and the problem with some decals]. I must, nevertheless, admit that I have perhaps never built a better kit. Talking about the Hasegawa’s model F-104C Starfighter USAF as nearly perfect, then the Eduard 48368 detail set deserves my highest rating. It is truly flawless, both in use and quality. Buying the sole Starfighter model is a good deal, but if you also invest in the aforementioned metal set, you won’t regret it and most likely will be thrilled with the result, just like me! What to say in conclusion? Perhaps just that besides having this exquisite model, your collection could also boast one of the most beautiful jet fighters in the world, which deserves its “all star” nomination not only due to its name…