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ChippyWho

A Lion In Autumn

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Here is my entry in the StarFish Group Build. I bought this kit back in 2009, having seen it featured on the cover of Scale Aviation Modeller International earlier that year. As usual, I squirreled it away for ages before realising that I had way too many kits that I’d probably never build, and trying to sell it through the forums.

Fortunately, no-one was interested so here goes!

The markings depict an aircraft of 4º Stormo Caccia, with the motto UNUS SED LEO on the wingtip tanks. I am not sure what this means as my competence in Latin is purely notional -the advantages of an English Public School education :rofl:/>. The best I can get via Google is ‘BUT ONE LION’…doesn’t make much sense. I’m guessing it is more like ‘ONE, BUT (A) LION’ –i.e. single, but dangerous? If any scholars can help out here, I’d appreciate it!

Besides the kit, we have an AIRES interior, Eduard coloured harnesses and mask set, Fine Molds pitot and a few goodies from the excellent DACO upgrade set.

P8220038.jpg

Might need Mr Coremans on speed-dial for this one...

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Edited by ChippyWho

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Yea, you are right: UNUS SED LEO means "just one, but a Lion!" it refers to the fact 20°gruppo was the one and only OCU in Italian Air Force when it was established, each fighter and bomber pilot had to pass trought it courses.

For your project mind you will need 2 sets of DACO boxes since you will need 2 Italian Martin Backer seats (the German ones have a different headrest) and those in the box are wrong. If you need photo reference feel free to ask me. Cheers

Paolo

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Hi Paolo! Many thanks for the clarification; it all makes sense now!

Yes, I'm right there with you on the seats -a word about these...

The AIRES MB GQ-7 seats are the wrong variety for AMI aircraft –they are meant for Luftwaffe ones. This aircraft should have the type with the sloping sides to the headbox; the kit ones are roughly the right shape but far too small. Compared with the accurate DACO one on the right:

P8310035.jpg

For those contemplating an Italian Job for their F-104, another option is NOT the GQ-7 from True Details, who appear to believe that this (their actual product):

P8310040.jpg

…looks like this (as it appears on their sales info and instruction sheet):

scan0002.jpg

Duuhhh! We’ll get around the problem by grafting Daco’s correct headboxes onto the AIRES seats. Still not 100%, but the best I can do…it’s all a vile plot by Coremans to sell more of his update bits!!! They are very much the business though, and will do wonders for the Pointy Thing in Euro-service –more on this valuable addition later! (Fortunately, having a Spanish single-seater in the pipe also, I got two sets of the A-Sprue!)

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Edited by ChippyWho

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I love this one, I have the kit as well and the colors needed to mix for that awesome Blue! Not too crazy about needing 2 Daco correction sets for the seats though!

V/r

Ron

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I love this one, I have the kit as well and the colors needed to mix for that awesome Blue! Not too crazy about needing 2 Daco correction sets for the seats though!

V/r

Ron

Oh yeah, the color...!

The distinctive blue of the overall paint scheme might be a challenge to get right. The instructions call for a 50/50 mix of two Gunze colors, but it looks like straight #45 (Light Blue) to me. We’ll see! I wasn’t sure I liked this colour at first, but looking at photos of the real aircraft, I’m sort of getting used to it…it’s the kind of bright “POISON -don’t eat me!” shade worn by certain frogs and lizards that bounce around rain forests. That suits the 2-seat Starfighter quite well; it has a vaguely lizard-like profile.

BrightLizard1.jpg

Regarding the Daco bits, I made a misleading statement there (now corrected) -what I actually have is two A-Sprues; these (as well as the D-Sprues with specific missiles, AFTs, etc.) can be ordered individually direct from Daco Products only, if you don't need the enormously comprehensive full set.

These upgrade packages have been enthusiastically discussed since their inception some time ago, and their appearance last year. However, although this is meant to be a build thread and not an in-box review, it is worth looking at their added value.

I would regard the A-sprue (actually in two parts!) at least as an essential for anyone building a European Service Starfighter via the Hasegawa route. Among other goodies, it contains corrected wings, rudder and 'stabilo' (the flying horizontal tail) and properly bulged main gear-bay doors. Hasegawa have addressed the last item in their kit, but like the seat head boxes, they bear little resemblance to reality.

There is also a correct exhaust flame-holder for the German and Italian J-79 version, and (YIPPEE!!) a thorough set of internal canopy framing/de-mister ducting that is an obvious feature of this aircraft and royal pain to scratch-build.

Since the only other European F-104 I want to attempt is an early Spanish one with the C-2 seat, I can spare both the Daco Italian seat parts for the 2-seater.

During the build, I'll try to post some comparative photos of the kit and upgrade parts for reference.

Now for some actual work! Stay tooned...

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Edited by ChippyWho

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At LAST, I managed to get to grips with the old Cento Quattro -the progress is absolutely risible when you consider that phantom has completed a magnificent 1/32 Canadian aircraft in the time it took me to get the box open...

Well, it's a start: seats, AIRES with headbox transplant from Daco and a few other additions (canopy breaker 'horns' and so-on) with reference to photos online -The Ejection Site, etc. Cast-in oxygen tubes razored away (they were a bit anorexic) to be replaced by annealed guitar string. First coat o' paint.

TF-104GSeats1.jpg

Eduard bits up next.

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Edited by ChippyWho

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:cheers:

Getting started is the hard part! It's all down hill from here!

V/r

Ron

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Some time in the 'studio' at last.

Seats done except for firing handles:

PA140044.jpg

(And this is why I didn't pursue a career in photography.)

Now in the process of de-blocking the resin 'pit tub and other bits; it all seems to fit really well inside the fuselage, thank goodness. One of AIRES' better moments! Not one of mine, though -managed to snap one of the sidewalls while removing from test-fitting; an easy repair however.

KBO!

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Edited by ChippyWho

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WOW

those are some seriously sweet seats!! great work

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truly nice seats but if you want to make them 100% correct you need to paint some haerness in electric blue and the side in green instead of light gray

2s1knqq.jpg

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One could be fooled into thinking those are 1/18 scale seats, good job!

V/r

Ron

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truly nice seats but if you want to make them 100% correct you need to paint some haerness in electric blue and the side in green instead of light gray

Wow, awesome photos Paolo -many thanks!

I'm not sure I have the finesse to change much of the seats now, but will see what I can do.

I had seen the photo of the underside, though, and it made me think about building this one in-flight so as not to lose the integrity of the lion's head image...it is a good kit for this purpose, not too large or heavy to mount on a rod or something. Then for some reason I decided to do the usual parked thing (due to previous traumas with ill-fitting crew figures!). To be honest, I do kinda regret that now... :blink:

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Edited by ChippyWho

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Still progressing at my comfortably glacial speed...an age thing, probably. Also I get quite bewildered some days now, to the extent that on one occasion I wandered into the Star Wars GB by mistake. I have to say, they were very nice and sat me down with a cup of cocoa while exhaustive telephone calls were made to establish my identity, residence, next of kin, etc.

In rare moments of lucidity, I get fed up of messing with seats, cockpit and so-on; for a change of scene I took a look at the back end of the TF-104G. This is what I found:

PA210039.jpg

The exhaust pipe is quite adequate; there are a couple of ejector pin holes to fill (white) but the subtle internal 'ribbing' is well done.

PA210038.jpg

This is the burner can; the interior is not very good so I added some definition with some scribing devices -we'll need to add the forward ring of petals inside too. It should look more like this.

PA210043.jpg

Here we have the kit flame-holder (top), and the two-part Daco replacement which has a lot more going for it. Surprisingly though, the Daco parts had quite a lot of flash to clean up, which is awkward given the shape of the parts, but it will be well worth the effort.

I know I'll need a penlight to see any of this when it's all buttoned up, but I do like working with tidy parts -maybe a bit obsessive, but it's still good modelling practice!

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Edited by ChippyWho

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Bit of an update: the weather here has been unusually warm in late October, which shortens the winter nicely. Also, it's been too nice to stay indoors and I don't do much modelling 'al fresco', but now November is here...I definitely need some new, cold-proof T-shirts -ideally pink on black ones!

Back to the canvas, peering thru the gloom of an attic studio lit by a single candle, floor strewn with Absinthe bottles and half-smoked Gitanes, hands trembling in fingerless woollen gloves, I give you:

PA2100382.jpg

The burner can, lightly detailed with strips of spare etched brass fret (left over from my last meal a week ago).

PB030039.jpg

The exhaust assembled and painted -it's all a bit more subtle than the camera flash allows, but that's show biz.

PB030045.jpg

Cockpit and associated p/e bits. I think it's supposed to be a sort of (Dark?) Gull Grey; in the end I had to DIY the colour from various Xtracrylic shades. I think it's OK. Some wear marking was applied to the pedals and floor by burnishing in powdered graphite with a short (2mm -ish) bristle paintbrush. All clear satin varnished and ready for detail painting!

PB030048.jpg

Cockpit sides. I used the old trick of painting these black at first, then applying the grey with the airbrush at a shallow raking angle from above, to emphasise the depth of detail. I have to add some of my own details to these and paint up the features.

PB030052.jpg

This is the main gear bay; I painted it in Tamiya AS-12 as a primer for Alclad Dark Aluminium, but as the real thing is in aluminium lacquer rather than bare metal, I may leave it as is with some detail work and outlining.

Thanks for looking!

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Edited by ChippyWho

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I suggest you to leave the main gear bay as it is, it was always closed on parked aircraft and I had to ask crew to open to shot this photo

2s0o57c.jpg

also, if you want to leave it opened you will need to scratchbuild a couple of braces for the bigger doors (absent in the box).

The inside of the engine, behind the nozzle, must be painted in dark metallic green (Flat).

You made an excellent job so far.

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Paolo! Shoot, I forgot to give you a credit for the colour verification -my apologies!

Also, big thanks for another superb photo; that will be very useful indeed. I'll probably leave the forward doors closed or very slightly open, as that is how they appear on most of the photos I have. There will be a little bit of additional detail in the rear section, nothing phenomenal but just so as not to leave it all 'flat' around the gear legs. I have an AIRES set with the separate actuators and so-on, but have earmarked that for my Spanish F-104 which will have a lot of things on show.

I'm very interested in your description of the exhaust. Dark metallic green would look really cool! All the photos I can find seem to depict a soft-ish medium grey, although (like mine) that is probably a victim of the flash. When everything is assembled though, I think it will all be various shades of black!

I really value your insights here; many thanks for stopping by.

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Edited by ChippyWho

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Sacre vert; there's moss growing in there -it looks like the inside of my shower!

Dear oh dear, I'll have to green mine up a bit, I suppose. Wonder if there's some dregs in any of those Absinthe bottles...

Thanks yet again, Paolo -this project is fast becoming a two-hander! :thumbsup:

Edited by ChippyWho

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I seem to have been beavering away at this thing for a week, with almost nothing to show for it all! That's not unusual in my modelverse, for sure...but I must be losing my touch. I LOVE working with little bits of 'carpet food', and painting them is always part of the joy -but not this time. Everything looks like it was made from salvaged timber, and painted with a bucket of sludge applied with a mop. After two or three attempts, I managed to get the etched instrument panels looking passable (I'll post some photos once I've made them up into a film sandwich with the acetate bits). The cockpit tub is a nightmare, and I don't know why! The casting is fine, all well defined, maybe its the awkward angles involved for some parts, what with it all being one piece, but my pain(t)brush seems to have a will of its own. Oh well, at least one of us has.

The exhaust has been given a streak-wash with Tamiya clear green and Revell clear flat acrylic in an effort to replicate the effects in Paolo's excellent photo. I think that will be OK...

The best bit of the week is probably the main gear bay. This is the painted finish again, for comparison:

PB030052.jpg

I tried out the MIG Ammo wash for silver/NMF airframes: this consists of three 35ml bottles of thin colours, Deep Brown, Deep Grey and Blue-Black. First to go was the Blue-Black:

PB070043.jpg

It is much easier (for me, anyway) than messing around thinning oils and whatnot. The pigment also seems very fine and less 'gritty' than I can manage with oil paints, and you have to keep stirring/shaking the stuff to keep it workable, but it brushes on beautifully and cleans up with white spirit after 15 minutes or so. I left it overnight, but it still comes off easily -this may mean that further clear finishing coats will dislodge it, so I'll avoid them. Being so refined, it should be simple to build up to the desired level of effect, so I'll introduce some more applications and colours next.

Thanks for looking in!

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Edited by ChippyWho

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PB080041.jpg

That's as far as I want to go with this: a little Deep Brown around the 'moving' bits, and some Deep Grey (which also has quite a brown tint) at the top of the rear bulkhead.

The MIG Ammo product is intended as a panel-line wash rather than a weathering pigment, but for this purpose it has worked out OK. I'm pretty impressed with it, and look forward to trying it on a NMF airframe.

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Edited by ChippyWho

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Front Instrument Panel assembled. The back one is so similar I didn't bother snapping that too -it is barely possible to get a decent likeness anyway, since Divine Wife flatly refuses to spend £400 or so on a 'proper' camera for me! I don't believe she understands how this relationship is supposed to work... :P

F-104FIP.jpg

The detail painting of the cockpit is almost done; serious big-stuff assembly can't be far off!

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Edited by ChippyWho

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A few dodgy pics of the almost-done cockpit -as you can see, I went a bit Bushido removing the casting block from the Starboard side!

PB150045.jpg

PB150048.jpg

PB150055.jpg

The front instrument panel/coaming cannot be installed until the cockpit is fixed in the fuselage, so I stuck it on a blob of BluTack for the photo, that's why it is at a weird angle. I forgot to take any of the seats with the slightly amended colours -next time!

Thanks for stopping by.

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