Sunday, October 28

A Starfire thing - our build of the F-94C Pt.I

WE were really excited to see Kittyhawk bringing out a new model of the F-94C Starfire in 1/48th scale injection moulded plastic – not as excited I suppose as Eth was to build it! Here we go with part one of a several part build of this new kit from a new company – we expect good things from the first impressions of the kit we saw – let’s see if it lives up to our expectations…
The Lockheed F-94C was a subsonic fighter designed to serve as an interim all-weather interceptor. It was based on the airframe of the T-33A trainer, but fitted with a more powerful after burning engine, interception radar and armament.
Built to a 1948 USAF specification for a radar-equipped interceptor to replace the aging F-61 Black Widow and North American F-82 Twin Mustang, it was specifically designed to counter the threat of the USSR's new Tupolev Tu-4 bombers (reverse-engineered Boeing B-29). The Curtiss-Wright XF-87 Blackhawk had been designated to be the USAF first jet night fighter, but its performance was subpar, and Lockheed was asked to design a jet night fighter on a crash program basis. 
The F-94 was derived from the TF-80C (later T-33A Shooting Star]) which was a two-seat trainer version of the F-80 Shooting Star. A lengthened nose area with guns, radar and automatic fire control system was added. Since the conversion seemed so simple, a contract was awarded to Lockheed in early 1949, with the first flight on 16 April 1949. The early test YF-94s used seventy-five percent of the parts used in the earlier F-80 and T-33As.
The F-94c Starfighter, from Kittyhawk Models, ( is the company’s first release and upon inspection looks to be an excellent offering. However there is a faint “orange peel” look to the plastic that could cause problems with the bare metal finish. There are two very colourful sets of decals included as well as a very useful fret of photo etch, although this is not pre-painted.

So where to start? Well seeing as this is an aircraft we start with the cockpit, so no surprise there then. The bang seats are multi parts with photo etch straps for the harness. Looking at the seats it would appear that they are more than good enough detail wise to not need replacing with aftermarket resin examples, a point in Kittyhawk’s favour.

For the navigators console there is a choice of photo etch parts or decals. For some reason the photo etch parts were chosen over the decals, in hindsight this was a mistake on my part, more on that later. The cockpit floor should have four locating holes for the seats, unfortunately on mine the locating holes were missing altogether, so it was back to the “MarkOne eyeball” to get the positioning correct. The rest of the cockpit went together easily. One thing to note, the cockpit floor is handed, so make sure you have it the correct way up otherwise the cockpit walls will not fit correctly. With everything installed a quick coat of LifeColor(LC) UA-001 was sprayed on and put aside to dry.

The exhaust was assembled next and there is a piece of photo etch supplied for the ring. Unfortunately, because of the ribbed nature of the inside of the exhaust, it is impossible to remove the seam lines inside the exhaust. So a coat of Alclad Engine Manifold was sprayed on the inside of the exhaust. The reason for this being the darker colour would make it much harder to see the seam once the exhaust was in place.

Moving on, it was time to attach the photo etch parts to the side consoles.

There are some serious knock out points here that take quite a vigorous sanding to remove them. Thankfully though, when fully assembled they will not be seen. At this point the instruction call for the front wheel to be installed, however this can be left until later on in the build and instead the front wheel bay housing was attached to the floor of the cockpit. Now it was time to assemble the fuselage.

This was a straight forward assemble the only issue being the part numbers for the air break inserts, as always dry fitting will save a lot of heartache later on.

With the fuselage together it was time to add the intakes.  Again these are handled and because of the seam line i assembled these and then used some dissolved putty to fill in the small gaps.
As you can see very little putty was used and cleaned up very easily. Mr Dissolved Putty is fast becoming my filler of choice. For small gaps i use a cocktail stick to apply the putty and then wipe it away with a piece of kitchen towel moistened with some Mr Color Thinners.
The last item to attach is the three part nose cone. Kittyhawk supply some nose weights here, however it is tricky to get all three in and in the end two were placed between parts C34-C36 and one between parts C34 and C3. That was not the biggest issue though. The nose cone is totally the wrong shape. It is proud at the sides, the nine and three o’clock positions, and is shallow at the top and bottom. Wondering if I had made a mistake I had a word with a friend of mine who is building the same kit and he had exactly the same issue. If this is the same throughout the production run of this kit then it will cause consternation amongst modellers. However the fix is not too problematical; fill the top and bottom and sand down the sides.

Putting aside the fuselage for now, it was time to assemble the wings. The plastic that Kittyhawk use is a bit on the brittle side, although not as bad as AFC Club plastic can be, but care needs to be taken when cleaning up the assembled plastic. There is the option to have the flaps deployed in the down position but this would entail filling in the location holes and that would be a task for someone far more patient/skilled than i am, so they flaps were assembled in the “up” position.

Before the wings are attached it is best to attach parts C22 and C31. In both cases the parts were found to be over sized, C22 being the worst of the two. So check fit first and sand down to size as needed.
There is a small gap where the wings meet the fuselage on the upper side, but with the application of some super glue, it was possible to close up the gap without resorting to the use of filler.
One thing that does need mentioning here is the finish of the plastic, there is an “orange peel” effect to the plastic that really needs removing if we are to get the sort of surface finish needed to build a bare metal finish jet. More about that in the next article.  

Keep checking back to see what this little kit turned up like – it looks quite promising!

Starfire Schemin' - Walkaround colours for the new 1/48th F-94C from Kitty Hawk
- Kitty Hawk models F-94 - Update- last minute sprue shots

Kittyhawk sells this kit through their distributors worldwide…thanks to them for this kit