Just received my 2 Kinetic F-104G kits from Luckymodel. First impressions are good and I would definitely say it's an improvement over the Hasegawa Starfighter.
River counter alert! If you don't like subject matter experts giving some valid observations you can stop reading right here.
The following is just a short list of my observations in comparing it to the Hasegawa kit and also the DACO update set.
Over all shape. This is where the Kinetic offering really beats out Hasegawa. The Kinetic fuselage length is correct as opposed to the Hasegawa which is a scale 7.2" too short. The horizontal Stabilizer is bang on the money whereas the Hase is short on span and the DACO is a bit too long in span. The vertical stabilizer is also correct and this is where the Hase was good too. Couldn't get an idea if the wingspan is correct as I'll check this during the build.
Panel lines and rivets. You'll be pleased with the toned down rivets on this kit even though I feel they could have done away with more of them on the aft fuselage. Anyway it's a way more realistic representation than the Hasegawa kit. The panel lines themselves appear crisp and consistent and should take a wash well. There are a couple asymmetric panel issues and placement problems. The most noticeable to me is the lack of the external power door on the r/h lower fuselage below the trailing edge flap. There are also a few extra panels where there should be none at all. The bleed air heat exchanger exhaust is positioned incorrectly and the louvers are not well defined. This is where the Hasegawa one is better.
Landing gear. The nose gear and well looks to be pretty nice and I feel it's better than the Hasegawa one. The main gear has a shape issue to my eye. The Hasegawa kit has the correct main gear shape but is missing the jacking and tie down points. The Kinetic gear has the jacking and tie down points. The Kinetic gear also has the correct "G" version liquid spring whereas the Hasegawa one only has the A/B/C/D/F/CF/J/DJ liquid spring. I like how Kinetic has the aft door struts molded to the gear. The Hasegawa kit was a pain to get these struts properly installed. I'm not a fan of the kit wheels. Too squashed and flat and this is where I feel the Hasegawa kit wheels are better. There is also an error with the instructions regarding the forward main gear doors. Step 21 shows an option view of having the doors closed or partially open. With the gear down, these doors were always partially open due to the geometry of the landing gear mechanisms. You'll never see one on it's gear with these doors fully closed. EDIT... I thought the nose wheel looked a bit small and decided to measure it. It comes out to a scale 1.2" (16.8" vs 18" diameter tire) too small in diameter. Both Hasegawa and DACO nose wheels are correct diameter. The main tires are the correct diameter but the wheel hubs are too small. Hasegawa has these right.
Cockpit and canopy. The Kinetic pit is generally better than the Hasegawa pit. The instrument panel and side consoles are nicely done. The only shortfall I see is that the control stick grip and throttle are way too big. The ejection seats are okay. There are the 2 versions of the MB seat and the C2 seat looks good as well although it does have a seam up through the back pan that will need filling. There is also a PE fret for the seat belts and a few other details on the kit. Aftermarket seats would really make the cockpit pop. The canopy is both a hit and miss for me. I love the fact that Kinetic included the canopy demist tubes but the mounting of these tubes to the canopy is via recesses in the canopy that are visible from the outside. This is especially evident on the aft frame and will look kind of crappy when completed. The clear moldings aren't up to the the Kinetic Gold standard and are of about the same or less quality than the Hasegawa kit. EDIT... Just noticed that Kinetic missed the forward inverted V support for the clear cover on the electronics compartment hatch. This is included in the Hasegawa kit.
External tanks, stores and pylons. This kit is equipped for air-to-air only. No mud moving, photo taking or artificial suns. Looks like 2 AIM-9B missiles along with the catamaran/Aero 3B launcher and 2 versions of wingtip launchers. They all look okay and are much better than the ones you don't get in the Hasegawa boxing's. The external tanks look good and are rivet free although they are a bit too pointy and the fins are lacking the distinctive flat angular cross-sections. The tip tank eyebrow vanes are quite thick compared to the Hasegawa tanks and look to be at too flat of an angle. The tanks scale out ever so slightly long and smaller in diameter but so do the Hasegawa tanks. The DACO underwing tanks also scale out slightly long but have the correct diameter and better detailing. The wing pylons look good but are only set up for the external tanks with no provisions for stores shackles. One thing missing is the center-line pylon which Hasegawa included in their boxing's. This one strikes me as odd as there is this nicely done recess on the lower fuselage to fit the pylon but it gets covered up with a PE plate.
Miscellaneous parts, decals. CF-104 ARWR (Airborne Radar Warning Receiver) antennas. This was a system based on the US AN/APR25/26 RHAW which had 2 antennas mounted on the aft fuselage and one under the radome. The parts included in the kit, B72/B73/B26 and D1/D2 for the upcoming CF-104 boxing are completely wrong. It's hard to describe how wrong they are but if you're going to build a CF-104 from this kit that is equipped with the ARWR antennas, the DACO update set is your only bet. The PE fret contains cockpit parts as well as the link ejector, wing tip plates, pylon cover plate and AOA vanes. All of them look good except for the AOA vanes which aren't the correct shape and look too big. The Decals are a weak point of this kit but the Hasegawa boxing's never had extensive decals either. The kit decals have a few prominent stencils but you'll need an aftermarket set to get the other 95%.
I'm sure I've missed a few other points but in the end, even with its shortcomings, I'd say that this kit is better than the Hasegawa kit. My opinion could change once I start building it solely based on parts fit.