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F-104J Starfighter




S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: PT18
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 117 light grey styrene parts (3 not used); 19 clear parts (10 not used); and 4 polythene caps (one not used).
Price: 2400
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: State of the art surface texture; comprehensive details; positionable control surfaces and speed brake; poly-cap undercarriage attachment; three piece canopy; ten marking options; great value.
Disadvantages: Japanese versions only; some ejector pin marks; misleading instructions for optional clear formation lights; poor packing of main parts in a single bag.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Brett Green




The Lockheed F-104J is the Japanese version of the Starfighter. The Japanese Starfighter was substantially similar to the early F-104G. In fact, the first F-104Js were simply re-assembled F-104Gs.

Hasegawa's first F-104 in 1/48 scale comprises 117 light grey styrene parts (3 not used); 19 clear parts (10 not used); and 4 poly caps (one not used). All 13 grey sprues are squeezed into a single plastic bag, risking scratching and scuffing in transit. 

Surface texture is gorgeous, with crisp, fine panel lines, raised covers and fairings and hundreds of tiny, recessed holes representing the Starfighter's characteristic flush rivets.

Ejector pin marks are mostly confined to the invisible inside surface of kit parts with a few exceptions. Due to the limitations of the injection moulding process, the one-piece flaps, ailerons and slats all suffer from shallow pin marks.

Detail is outstanding. The wheel wells, speed-brake bay and jet exhaust are all chock-full of structural detail and plumbing. There will be very little need for additional detail in these areas. The cockpit benefits from this high standard too, with a 14 piece pilot's seat incorporating a (slightly undernourished) harness and very nice fabric texture.

The fuselage breakdown hints at further variants. The two-part nose cone is separate, and an insert behind the canopy suggests that two-seater Starfighters are on the way. A three-piece canopy is provided, permitting all that lovely cockpit detail to be displayed.

The wing assembly is designed so that movable surfaces can be positioned. The slats, flaps and ailerons are all single parts. This is not only handy for personalising your Starfighter, but also ensures sharp leading and trailing edges on the razor-like flying surfaces. Slats and flaps have rounded joining surfaces to simplify positioning, while the ailerons (and rudder) are connected via pins. The pins will have to be removed if these parts are to be repositioned.

The undercarriage is another highlight. The main wheels are supplied with a separate tyre and two-piece wheel hub. Undercarriage legs are secured using poly caps. Both of these features will make painting and final assembly of this model much simpler.

The large, colourful decal sheet supplies markings for ten JASDF Starfighters in the same basic scheme of silver fuselage, with grey and white wings.



Instructions are typical Hasegawa fare with construction called out over 18 steps using extensive diagrams and sporadic descriptions.

There is only one misleading instruction that I have found so far. If you want to install the optional clear parts for the fuselage and fuel tank formation lights (as called out in Steps 11 and 18), you will have to drill out the holes and install the clear parts FROM THE INSIDE of the parts in twelve positions BEFORE THE FUSELAGE AND TANKS ARE ASSEMBLED. In other words, drill these holes and install the parts before Step 5, Fuselage Assembly.





It should come as no surprise that Hasegawa's new 1/48 scale F-104J is a beautiful kit. Its pedigree is long and distinguished. By coincidence, I bought the re-released Hasegawa 1/48 scale F-4J Phantom II kit at the same time as the F-104. The Phantom dates back to the late 1980s, but still holds up well by today's standards in terms of surface texture, detail and accuracy. Over a decade later, this Starfighter continues and refines that tradition.

Hasegawa's F-104J is another example of the potential for plastic in the new Millenium, and represents an absolute bargain at 2400 yen.

Highly Recommended


Review and Image Copyright 2000 by Brett Green
Page Created 20 June, 2000
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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