F-104 Starfighter
Update Set





S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description: Item No: 1637, F-104 Starfighter Update Set (for Hasegawa)
Scale: 1/48 Scale
Contents and Media: Resin and photo-etched metal detail set
Price: $20.46 from Squadron.com
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Access ladder, nicely detailed electronics bay and radar
Disadvantages: No painting instructions
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Kursad Albayraktar

Verlinden's 1/48 scale F-104 Starfighter Update Set is available online from Squadron.com




Hasegawa's relatively recent release of most single-seat F-104 variants in the 1/48 scale was met with enthusiasm by many fans of this widely used type. As expected from Hasegawa, these kits are superbly engineered and detailed, and they render all older Starfighter kits obsolete; at least in the opinion of this
humble reviewer.

Modelers were not the only group to eagerly wait for the Hasegawa F-104 kit; for we have seen many
aftermarket companies launch products to detail the already beautiful kit further. Verlinden is a relative
newcomer to the 1/48 F-104 aftermarket parts scene, and their new F-104 Update Set is the subject of this

The set contains 13 resin parts and a photo-etched fret. The resin parts are:

  • Lockheed C2 ejection seat

  • Replacement cover for the electronics bay aft of the cockpit.

  • Interior detail for the electronics bay

  • Sidewalls, front instrument panel, instrument panel coaming and cockpit tub

  • Radar mount, and the antenna assembly.



The photo etched parts consist of:

  • F-104 access ladder

  • Radar antenna and supporting structures

  • Interior rib detail for the radome

  • Protective covers for the wing leading edges

  • Anti-FOD intake covers

  • Gasket for canopy and electronics bay covers



The resin parts are well detailed; and my example did not contain any faulty or broken parts. Verlinden
uses a gray resin that is fairly strong and easy to work with; unlike the brittle tan resin used by many
aftermarket companies. Some detailing is a little on the soft side; like the straps and other details on the
C-2 seat.

In true Verlinden fashion, the instructions neither specify any colors, nor contain any painting information. Instead, Verlinden refers you to their Lock-On F-104G book, which is a very good reference for Starfighter modelers. The photos in the Verlinden book cover all the parts in this update set, eliminating guesswork or the need for further research for using this set. That said, I believe it's about time Verlinden abandoned this practice and provide at least rudimentary painting information in their sets.

The cockpit tub has a relatively shallow and flat floor, whereas the real Starfighter cockpit does not have a
floor. While other aftermarket companies instruct the modeler to sand the bottom of the cockpit tub in order to replicate this effect(with the exception of Cutting Edge; who chose to include a very realistic curved floor on their F-104 cockpit sets); the instructions in the Verlinden set do not mention anything about this property of the cockpit floor. The C-2 seat is OK, but not anything to "write home about", especially when compared to the Cutting Edge and Aires offerings. Even though it was used by several important operators of the F-104, no MB Q.7 seat is included in the set.

The electronics bay is very nicely detailed, and the bay cover seems to be drop-in replacement for the Hasegawa kit part. With some additional detailing with wires and cables, this part should add a lot of realism to the Hasegawa kit, since this electronics bay was usually left open for cooling and maintenance.

The radar assembly is also a nice touch. The Verlinden set provides a radar antenna that seems to be accurate for the F-104G. The flat photo-etched antenna needs to be curved before assembly, and the set does not contain the small element in front of the antenna, requiring you to build this part using styrene rod. Photo-etched internal rib detail is included for the radome.

A very nice touch in the Verlinden set is the inclusion of a mounting ladder. To my knowledge, nobody
else produces a photo-etched ladder for the Starfighter in the 1/48 scale; DACO's offerings being out of
production.(Note to DACO: How about a re-release?) The ladder will look very nice when finished, and
should add a lot to the finished model.

Finally, the Verlinden set includes anti-FOD intake covers and protective covers for the razor-thin wing
leading edges of the Starfighter. These are often seen installed on Starfighters on the ground, and these
simple but nicely detailed parts look the part.




Although the name of the set is implies that it is a generic detail set for all types of the F-104, I did not compare the kit contents with photos of Starfighter variants other than the F-104G. The set seems to be
very accurate for the F-104G, modelers who intend to use it on other variants are recommended to check
their references.

I was not impressed with the cockpit and ejection seat in the Verlinden update set. In my opinion the
Cutting Edge and Aires F-104 cockpits are superior to the Verlinden offering in terms of detail and

However the strong point of the Verlinden set is the open electronics bay and the exposed radar
antenna, as well as the ladder. If you could only choose one detail set for your Hasegawa F-104, this set
would be it.

Recommended to all modelers who wish to detail their 1/48 Hasegawa F-104 kits.


Review Text and Images Copyright 2002 by Kursad Albayraktar
Page Created 25 June, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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