F-106A Delta Dart

Published on
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/48
MSRP
$74.95
Product / Stock #
02891
Company: Trumpeter - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Stevens International - Website: Visit Site
Bos Art

Introduction

The F-106 was a direct development of the F-102 first conceived of in 1951. This supersonic all weather interceptor had a number of advanced features for its time including fully enclosed weapons bay and a delta wing platform. The F-106 further developed the concept with a more powerful Pratt and Whiney J75 engine and the unique area rule or coke bottle fuselage that enabled the F-106 to reach twice the speed of sound. The F-106 was equipped with the first guided missiles used by the USAF. The Aim 4E was semi radar guided and the Aim 4G was a heat seeker. The aircraft could also carry nuclear weapons. The F-106 never saw combat but did intercept countless Soviet bombers over the course of its career. They served over 20 years with the USAF and 16 years with various ANG units. Notable is the fact that the F-106 finished its run with the lowest single engine aircraft accident rate of any USAF aircraft. Also of interest is the F-106 on display in the USAF museum. This particular aircraft has the distinction of landing itself after the pilot ejected during an uncontrolled spin. The aircraft leveled out and later landed in the field. It was repaired and served several more years before it was retired to the museum.

The Kit

Boxed in stiff cardboard, the box top has a nice rendering of a New Jersey ANG F-106 keeping a Russian Tu-95 company. The box is big because the aircraft in this scale is big. The finished model measures out about 16 inches long when done. There are 190 parts molded in grey plastic. The clear parts include a nice canopy and windscreen all wrapped to avoid damage. There’s small photo etch set with seat belts, rearview mirrors and some other details frankly to small for my eyes or hands. The instructions are an eight-page booklet. Decals are provided for the Florida or New Jersey ANG. A full color two-sided sheet is included for paint colors and decal placement. The quality of the castings is what we’ve come to expect from Trumpeter. There are very delicate panel lines and some terrific detail molded in the gear doors and speed brakes. The weapons bay is fully loaded and doors are provided to display them open or closed. A nice model is easily attainable right from the box. I used two aftermarket items for this build. First is the scale aircraft conversions (SAC) metal landing gear and the second was Caracal Models decals for F-106 part one. Those items are written up in separate reviews.

The Build

The instructions start with the ejection seat and the cockpit. I left the seat out till the end. There are PE belts and they made the seat look busy enough for this scale I guess. I painted the cockpit as recommended and used the decals provided for the instruments and side panels. The nose gear bay is a multi part affair that traps the nose gear legs so don’t think you can leave it till the end. Before closing the fuselage halves, the weapon bay and engine duct is installed. My first gripe is parts C22 and C23. The exhaust nozzle is cast into these halves leaving a seam to fix on the nozzle end. It wouldn’t have been hard to cast that as a single piece. In step six the fuselage halves are joined. I had a few issues here. The biggest was C11 and C12 that fill in a section of the instrument panel shroud prevent the halves from fully joining. I shaved them down till I got a good fit. There are some tiny PE screens that go behind the intake splitters. I didn’t even try to install them. Next up the main gear bay is assembled and inserted in the bottom wing half. The wings are then installed and all the separate control surfaces are installed. The ailerons and flaps are pose able. The tail unit is assembled next and has a separate rudder and airbrakes you can have open or closed. The landing gear is straight forward as is the canopy and both are can also be open or closed. The area that I found most difficult was the weapons bay. In particular, installing the missiles and bay doors. The missiles were launched from units that would swing the missile down to clear the aircraft before launching. The kit parts don’t positively locate these assemblies and I felt like I needed two more hands during the process. The more I installed the more was in the way to break during the next step. I spent a lot of frustrating time fixing parts that I broke lose. I’m still not satisfied with my front missile set that appear to point downward more then they should. In retrospect, I would seriously consider assembling the weapons bay and missile mounts before painting and installing them in the fuselage halves. That would allow the use of slow setting plastic cement and solid joints to handle the follow-up steps.. The open bay doors are a challenge too. The hinge detail is excellent but gluing them while aligning the retraction / extension struts was another frustrating exercise. The landing gear parts were outstanding and fit like a glove as did the gear doors and clear parts.

Painting and Decaling

Air Defense Command (ADC) Grey FS 16473 is the color these aircraft were finished in. I’m not aware of any company that makes a ready to use mix of this color. The kit instructions would have you use Aircraft Grey from the Mr. Hobby line. I wasn’t pleased with that for two reasons. First I can’t find Mr. Color paints where I live and the color sample shown is way too dark for ADC grey. ADC grey is a glossy paint as indicated by the FS number. I mixed my own using Light Ghost Grey and a touch of semi gloss white with a little blue. I was doing this from memory as I have seen an F-106 in Pima AZ and that’s the shade I remembered. I had to gloss coat the model with Alclad Aqua gloss to prep it for decals because the paint dried with no sheen at all. The kit decals are Ok. They are printed in register but the colors look a bit off, especially the red in the New Jersey version. Also the Florida tail flash is done in blue which conflicts with photos I saw on line that shows it in black. As I said up front I didn’t use the kit decals except for the instrument panels and the weapon stencils. I did however try one of the larger kit decals to see how it worked. Other then an uneven surface finish on the decal itself, it came off the sheet easily and settled into the detail on a sample part with curves and recessed lines. Bottom line the kit decals will work if you use them.

Conclusion

Having never built the old Monogram kit of this aircraft I can’t make that comparison. This kit had a lot of impressive features. There are long joint lines on the main parts and they all fit beautifully. I didn’t use putty anywhere on this build. The high points detail-wise are the weapons bay, landing gear boxes and speed brake door interiors. I enjoyed the build up till the missile installation and weapon bay doors. The kit is recommended for 14 years and up and I would concur based on my struggle with parts of this kit. I think a different plan of attack with those step could save some of the frustration I experienced. Overall this is an impressive model. There’s not much you could add to detail this kit. The decals are the low point but the after market folks are already taking care of that. What stuck me most as I built this kit was the timeless grace of this design. It looks just as futuristic today as it did when it was born in the late 1950s. I score this one 9 out of 10. Thanks to Stevens International for providing the sample and to IPMS for letting me build it along with some other goodies.

Comments

Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.