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F-94C Starfire

by Phil Brandt

 

F-94C Starfire

 


Hobbycraft's 1/48 scale F-94A Starfire may be ordered online from Squadron.com

 

Background

 

Although the sleek F-94C Starfire was the definitive version of Lockheed's all-weather fighter series of the middle Fifties, no high quality quarter scale kits existed six years ago when Bondo embarked on this industrial strength sojourn.

Today I'd pass on the 'practice bleeding' and simply hand over a check to Collect-Aire. The Starfire is one of Lou's better releases.

For the benefit of those who would rather not part with the serious bucks, Revell has reissued its 1/56 box scale kit of the Fifties, complete with raised insignia outlines and one-inch rivets. Lindberg's "1/48" version has the early, blunt -C model radome and is equally crude by today's injected standards. Hobbycraft, to its credit, took on the F-94A and B, two decent, engraved kits which, however, exhibit the relative lack of detail that modeler's have come to expect of that firm's releases.

 

 

But, the Hobbycraft -B model, when combined with portions of the Revell F-94C, photo etching from Reheat and Airwaves, and moderate--you may think heavy--scratchbuilding, can be converted to an accurate representation of the beautiful -C model.

 

 

Kitbashing a Decent F-94C


Fuselage

The most difficult portion of the conversion was the mating of the front (windscreen forward) portion of the Revell fuselage to the windscreen aft portion of the Hobbycraft -B model. The quite different Revell -C intakes were grafted and faired with putty onto the roots of the Hobbycraft intakes after the forward intake fairings inherited from the P-80 were removed. Splitter plates were fabricated from thin sheet. The Revell -C tail transition fairing, that is, the complex sheet metal area on top of the afterburner section, into which the drag chute housing, stabilizers and vertical fin mount, was grafted onto the HC empennage.

Since the -C model used the larger, more powerful J-48 engine, it was necessary to enlarge the diameter of the Hobbycraft afterburner section from the aft wing fairing to the exhaust outlet. This was done by gluing many .040" thick Evergreen strips lengthwise along the fuselage all the way back to the aftterburner outlet, followed by rough fairing of the strips forward to blend gently with the original fuselage cross section. Then, multiple thin layers of 3M Blue Acrylic were applied and ample drying time allowed for shrinkage between layers before wet sanding.

Now that the fuselage is fatter, you'll need a larger afterburner can to match. Check the spares box for an appropriate Century Series or equivalent can; I used one from the Monogram F-8. The -C's aft fuselage spine was scratchbuilt with half-round plastic tubing and kitbashed with the canopy transition piece from the Revell kit. Since the Revell forward fuselage is on the small side, it was built up with thin sheet on the flat portions just forward of the intakes, and the radome, rocket door and nosegear area were thickened and accurized with lacquer putty layers. The small airscoop on top of the fuselage, just behind the radome, was scratchbuilt.



Wings

The Hobbycraft wings work well - the F-94C used new, thinner wings, but I made a command decision to use the -B wings, under the "close-enough-for-government-work" theory--with some judicious bending of the bottom portion to provide the industrial strength dihedral of the real thing.

 

 

Use the Hobbycraft maingear and nosegear wells as is, but modify the shape of the maingear door cutouts to match the new -C gear doors. The ventral speedbrakes were cut out and detailed with photoetch from the Airwaves F-94A/B sheet. Speedbrake wellswere formed by cementing thin plastic sheet on the inside of the wing, over the openings; the well depth may not be scale, but will not be easily noticed.

The wing-mounted rocket pods were kitbashed with Hasegawa 1/48 weapons kit rocket pods. The fun part is fairing the pods into the wings--I cut slots--and again applied layers of lacquer putty, roughing in and wet sanding.

The -B wing tanks must be lengthened approximately 1/4". The tanks were detailed with photoetch filler caps from the Reheat F-94A/B detail sheet.



Tail

The stabilizers and vertical fin were cut from .060" plastic sheet. The leading and trailing edges were roughed out and then progressively shaped via sanding.



Landing Gear

Since the -C main landing gear struts differ significantly from the -B, I kitbashed the Hobbycraft disc brake hubs w/axles with P-51 main gear struts from the old Hawk (now Testors) kit. A small slotwas Dremmeled in each hub to receive the end of the P-51 strut--note that the scissor links face aft--minus the P-51 axle. The upper portion of the strut is trimmed to the appropriate length and thinned to mate in the gear hole of the Hobbycraft well. Retraction links were created from plastic rod. The HC nose gear mounts "as is" into its well. The -C model outer and inner main landing gear doors are unique to the type and were scratchbuilt from plastic sheet. I laminated interior panels to all gear doors--the inner gear doors were posed down to increase the "busy" factor--for added detail, and I scratchbuilt hydraulic inner door cylinders from plastic rod. The -B main wheels were used, but the nose wheel must be smaller and much thinner than the Hobbycraft version. Again, you'll have to go to the spares box ; I stumbled on two old Japanese UPC F-104 main wheels from a now-derelict 1965 project; the hub ribs even matched! I sanded off the unribbed side of each wheel and cemented the remaining ribbed sides together.



Cockpit

The cockpit tub is from the Hobbycraft kit. The instrument panel, consoles and radar set were scratchbuilt, using Reheat generic photoetched instruments and switch panels. True Details T-33 seats were used because they're very close to those of the F-94C and because they've got nicely molded seat belt assemblies.

 



Reheat F-94A/B photoetch was used for the canopy ledge and canopy interior, including the radio direction finder mount. Additional canopy details were scratchbuilt, using photo references.

 

 

Finishing and Painting

 

The model was completely rescribed with the Bare Metal tool. Bondo's favorite gray automotive lacquer primer was applied overall because the acetone in the original formula Alclad--lacquer in Alclad II-- etches bare plastic to an unnacceptable degree. Finish wet sanding was with 1000 grit paper. Four shades of original formula Alclad , thinned 40% with acetone, were airbrushed. For further variance in paneling shades, I used Microscale aluminum and stainless steel decal film.

 

 

Markings

 

Although clad overall in natural aluminum panels, many F-94Cs were colorfully marked. Among the brightest were the chrome yellow-trimmed birds from the 27th FIS at Griffiss AFB, NY.

To obtain the squadron insignia and yellow aircrew placards, I had the Emhar 1/72 F-94C (late) decal sheet enlarged 150% and color copied onto Walthers clear decal paper. When applied, I backed the squadron insignia and placards with white decal film. Yellow Microscale decal film, underlayed with white film, also served for the wing tank and rocket door trim. The black edging on the rocket doors was achieved by an underlying third layer of slightly larger black film. Black anti-icing wing/stabilizer leading edge panels and red, "No Step" stripes were all from Microscale stripe sheets. Black stars came from a 1/72 RA-5C Superscale sheet. The anti-glare panel in front of the windscreen and the rocket pod paint were formed from clear decal sheet, pre-painted in green drab enamel, and the inner wing tank surfaces were masked and then airbrushed with green drab enamel. The canopy ledges were painted insignia red per the color pix in the Aerofax reference.

 

 

The most difficult markings to find were the 1/16" black checks on the rudder which were applied over chrome yellow enamel. I finally found self-adhesive ones from an architectural supply house. National insignia, USAF and ID codes came from generic Superscale sheets, and stencilling is from various 1/48 jet fighter sheets, ie. F-111 and F-4. Two coats of Future sealed all markings.

 

 

Conclusion



This entire project lasted over three years, but that's because the project was on the back burner for much of the time. Realistically, the project could probably be completed in a few weeks of concentrated effort.

 

 

References and Resources


The 'Real Thing' at:

  • The USAF Museum, Dayton, Ohio

  • Pima County Air & Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona

  • Aerofax Minigraph 14, "Lockheed F-94 Starfire", Francillon and Keaveney

  • "Lockheed F-94 Starfire--A Photo Chronicle", Isham and McLaren

  • "The F-80 In Action", Squadron Signal Publications


     

Accessories

  • Airwaves F-94A Photoetch Detail Set, AC48-41

  • Reheat F-94A/B Photoetch Detail Set, RH057

  • True Details F-80/T-33 Ejection Seats, #46018
     

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Article Copyright 2002 by Phil Brandt
Page Created 17 June, 2002
Last updated 04 June, 2007

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