F-104G Cockpit

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Company: Italeri - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: MRC - Website: Visit Site
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This Kit

This is not a new kit and was previously reviewed by Mark Andrews in February 2020 and followed up with an after-market seat belt set review by Chris Smith. I strongly recommend you read both of these reviews and I hope I have avoided repeating those reviewers’ contents.

After it’s initial issue by ESCI, way back in 1983, this kit is clearly showing its age especially in terms of the industry’s newer molding technology. While I rate the fit of most parts is passible and the overall accuracy of the kit as good, you should be prepared for a 1983 ESCI kit effort (reboxed in 2001 and now 2020). I also have one of the earlier kits and cannot find any differences in the 37 years between these two kits.

The Build

The kit is a reasonably easy build and the colors recommended are largely accurate, though I recommend researching the internet for photos taken in actual aircraft. I was lucky enough to take a number of shots of these beautiful aircraft at the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr in Berlin-Gatow airport. This museum is outstanding and strongly recommended for all aviation enthusiasts.

As you can see from several of the attached images, there are numerous colors not accurately called out in the Italeri instructions, while the general panel details (shapes and sizes) are largely accurate.

There is a lot of flash (you can see the differences in the time and molding techniques which have become common place today) and sanding and filing is required. This was especially problematic around the face shield handles requiring very careful filing.

There numerous reference number/positioning errors, including a color ‘N’ called out (drawing #12) which isn’t even shown on the ‘suggested colors’ list.

Drawings depicted do not match up with instruction reference drawings themselves. Examples include reference drawing #8 (lower half) which shows the ejection seat frame higher than handles and this same error is shown in drawing #12. If you attempt to match the helmet decals, you will quickly find the decals are much too big to approximate what’s shown in drawing #13.

I also recommend you review and look over the Italeri website’s photographs, which in almost every respect provide different detail colors (seat cushions, parachute container, sun shield, knobs and screen colors). A look at the box cover photograph and compare to the colors as called out in the kit’s instructions will quickly illustrate many of these differences.


I used almost exclusively the Mission Models acrylic paints which allowed me to match most of the instruction sheet recommended colors very closed. I have attached several images of F-104G cockpits to provide additional color references. I used a combination of dry-brushing and picking our knobs and dials with contrasting colors of paint to accentuate their locations and raised heights.


There is a small sheet of decals which include the numerous dial and screen details, as well as the model base and helmet decals. As I quickly learned the pilots helmet decals are very large and I could only use a few of them and had to change their locations and orientation when compared with the instruction sheet (detail drawing #13) and a F-104 pilot’s helmet in my collection.

While not really a decal, there is also a sheet of straps and harnesses for the ejection seat. I found these to be very difficult to use and not very realistic looking when fitted to the model. I cut them with a small scissors and still found them to be one of the most challenging products I’ve ever tried to manipulate; I also used a single edge razor blade and small stainless-steel guide, which provided a much cleaner edge. However, I would urge you to look to look to some alternative after-market products (i.e; Eduard or HGW). The kit’s ‘fabric seat belts’ certainly do not reflect the state-of-the-art real fabric materials currently available.

Final Assembly

The kit is easy to assemble and when painted provides a nice display model although its overall accuracy is suspect. With additional details (as shown in several of the attached photos) I believe a more accurate model could emerge from this kit.

Overall Evaluation

I recommend this kit, with the aforementioned caveats. I only know of one other kit in this scale (the Italeri F-16 Cockpit which also does not appear to be readily available except at sky high collector’s prices).

My thanks to Italeri, MRC Academy and IPMS-USA for the opportunity to review this kit.


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