Revell’s 1:72 scale F-104G kit consists of 75 injection molded parts on two sprues and 11 clear parts on one sprue (the count of 60 parts on the box top appears to be a little off). The full color instruction booklet guides assembly over 30 steps. Decals provide markings for two European F-104Gs:
- F-104G Starfighter FX-40, 350 Squadron, Beauvechain AB, Belgian Air Force, 1981
- F-104G Starfighter D-8319, 322/323 Squadron, Leeuwarden AB, Royal Netherlands Air Force, 1980
Strengths: Revell of Germany (and now, it’s just Revell) released the first version of this kit based on this tooling in 1995. I remember when it was still a hot new item when it came through the hobby shop I was working in. For a small 1:72 scale kit, it’s indeed nicely detailed. The kit features what appear to be spot-on shapes and proportions, very nice recessed panel lines, and a good level of detail in this scale (though see below).
The parts breakdown is straightforward and it will be a relatively simple, hassle-free build. The cockpit, wheel wells, landing gear, intakes, and afterburner nozzle interior are nicely done. The instrument panel has raised relief but decals are intended to represent all the instrument panel dial details. I am usually hesitant to use decals for any instrument panel, but here, I think the decals work since they are finely printed and have a lot of detail. You get a pair of early generation AIM-9s (I’d argue these are AIM-9Bs but the Sidewinders are not used in this version of the kit), wingtip fuel tanks, and under wing drop tanks. Construction options are pretty limited, but the speed brakes can be positioned open or closed. While the panel for the cannon access bay is a separate part, there’s nothing included in the kit to go in there.
The choice in paint schemes are very cool, and Revell is clearly marketing this issue to their European customers. These are two classic schemes from the BAF (love those orange wingtip tanks!) and what was effectively a splinter scheme flown on the Royal Netherlands AF F-104s. The decals were printed by Cartograf and are exceptional, from their vibrant colors, great print quality, and highly restrained carrier film. The decal sheet might be physically small, but don’t let that fool you. There’s a ton of seriously great stencil detail that will add a lot to the final look of the completed model.
Weaknesses: It’s too bad the windscreen and canopy are a single part and that the canopy cannot be positioned open with some cutting. The clear parts were not bagged separately and therefore placed with the sprues; and the canopy in my review copy of the kit was lightly but extensively scratched. Look out for a pair of pesky ejection pin markings on the roof of the nose gear well. And while the overall wheel well and speed brake well detail is okay for 1:72 scale, it’s also a bit basic and could benefit from some extra detailing. The Martin-Baker ejection seat features some very unrealistic shoulder harnesses and it is missing lap belts entirely. The face curtain ejection handles are also shaped a bit oddly. I recommend spending a few bucks for a cast resin aftermarket seat and you will have a major improvement over the kit parts. I would also say that the surface details of the airplane are a bit simplified, as there is minimal rivet detail and other rivet details that are missing.