Platz/F-toys 1/144 F-104G Starfighter 'NASA & USAF'

KIT #: FC-1
PRICE: 1760 yen from HLJ
DECALS: Three plus options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Two complete kits


1,122 F-104G aircraft, the main version produced, were multi-role fighter-bombers. Manufactured by Lockheed, and under license by Canadair and a consortium of European companies which included Messerschmitt/MBB, Dornier, Fiat, Fokker and SABCA. The type featured strengthened fuselage and wing structure, increased internal fuel capacity, an enlarged vertical fin, strengthened landing gear with larger tires and revised flaps for improved combat maneuvering. Upgraded avionics included a new Autonetics NASARR F15A-41B radar with air-to-air and ground mapping modes, the Litton LN-3 Inertial Navigation System (the first on a production fighter) and an infrared sight.

The very similar F-104N was produced for NASA. Three aircraft were made, one being lost in a collision with the XB-70, taking the life of astronaut Joe Walker.


Platz has a positive reputation for producing kits in various scales, includiung 1/144 scale. They often pair up with f-Toys for these diminutive kits. The result are some nicely done kits that are perhaps not on the same level as those from Sweet, but are still nice.

Typical of these types of kits, the engraved detailing is very much overdone, but is often overlooked. There is a pilot figure to fit into an interior which is overly simplified and really needs to have the pilot on board as tehre is no real seat or instrument panel. One of the fuselage halves includes the fin and it traps the cockpit between them. All of the attachment posts are quite large and some of the parts need to have large ejector towers removed before installation.

Intakes have little depth and fit into large mounting holes. Same for the exhaust. The wing and a portion of the lower fuselage are all one piece. The kit does have the option of being built in flight, though no stand is supplied. This is provided for by a separate gear up piece for both the nose and main gear. For gear down, the nose gear and wheel are a single piece as are the right and left main gear/wheel pieces. The lower fuselage insert for these includes the smaller gear door. The main doors are normally nearly closed.

There is a lower rear fuselage insert for the G. This kit is also boxed as an F-104S and that different lower fuselage with the additional ventral fins is included but not used. The nose piece is made of clear plastic for some reason and this is all topped by a one-piece canopy. The wing tanks are a single piece on each side and are butt joined.

Instructions are a folded sheet of paper with four construction steps. Color information during the build is limited to the cockpit and pilot figure. Markings are provided for three planes. First are the early F-104Ns in their unpainted metal with white wings and orange/yellow trim. You have decals for all three of these planes. The second F-104N option is for the later markings scheme of white over light blue with the dark blue fuselage band. Serials for 811 and 812 are provided. Finally, the Bicentennial plan of the 69th TFTS in overall unpainted metal is provided for the third option. The decal sheet is superbly done and comes with all the various bands and stripes in decal form.


1/144 model fans and those who are into NASA aircraft should seriously consider this one. The low parts count should mean a fairly quick build, though painting any of the schemes will require some skills. It would have been great had these come with stands as the F-104 looks just superb in flight, but making one should not be that difficult.


January 2017

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