Complete: 1/72 F-104

Steve Jan 16 2017, 5:06PM

The finished product: A 1/72 F-104 painted in West German colors.

This is my first model in 4 years and my second model in 20 years. I really wanted to buy and build a new HE-111 model but I couldn't justify it if I already had some other models laying around. Also, I figure this would be a good practice run before I start building a collection of 1/72 WWII aircraft.

My 2-year old got excited every time she saw the model under construction so I bought 1/72 West German numbering decals and numbered the aircraft with her birthday. A fun excuse to try after-market decals.

AMT/ERTL brand F-104 Model

Ive had this model in my closet for 20 years. Time to put it together.

I have a pretty nice work-space and tooling from the last time I built a model 4 years ago. The paint needed to be mixed, but over all everything came out of hibernation well.


Joining the fuselage.

Most of the gaps occurred on the bottom of the plane.

Filling gaps with Tamiya Putty thinned with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement.

I will never use this technique again. The amount of sanding I had to do to remove the excess putty meant I ended up sanding out other things and it took hours. In the future I'll use a large gauge needle to precisely inject a different brand of water soluble putty to exactly where it goes then use water/qtips to remove excess.

Hours and hours of sanding.

Tail has some gaps to fill as well.

Putty putty putty.

Got the gaps filled and sanded as best as I could.

Airbrushed the first coat of paint....not too bad. Exposed some more putty work that needs to be done.

So all the puttying and sanding meant I had faded away some panel lines. I was missing some things I needed to re-scribe the panel I decided to not address the issue. This is why I did not weather the plane or add panel highlighting-- I didn't want to reveal that some panel lines had been sanded away.

Masking for some blue stripes that I will paint rather than use decals.

I decided to paint some of the stripes rather than use long unwieldy decals.

I do too much masking...rather be safe though.

The lines came out pretty good. The canopy is painted blue because the cockpit parts were lost over the last 20 years.

An F-104 in a local museum had a blue sunshade inside the canopy. I used that as inspiration to simply paint the inside of the canopy blue.

Mask canopy with tape and liquid mask.

Working on tri-color wings.

Oh crap. I totally neglected to mask a painted part when I sprayed black!

Attached gear (after fixing the painting error on the wing).

Practiced doing decals on spare parts.

Decals applied!

The decals went really well. I'm surprised the decals were usable after being so old.


The model took about... 16 or 20 hours. Since I built it I can clearly see all the flaws. Regardless, this model will eventually be hung in my daughter's room so she can enjoy an airplane to look at.

Comments 0