The amazing legacy kit of the F-104 NATO-fighter and F-104 Bundes-fighter from Eduard is unexpectedly something rather unique. It is something that I saw for the first time and it was very exciting. It comes to something like two kits in one box: the NATO+Bundesfighter. The box looks double sided, but it`s not exactly. It is a blank box wrapped in a thin cardboard wrapping with two gorgeous colorful boxarts, respectively of the NATOfighter from the one side and of the Bundesfighter on the other side. Inside the box, there is one big bag with plastic parts and a lot of “other materials”. Let`s continue the unboxing review with the content of the kit.
What`s in the box
- Plastic parts: they are packed at once and fortunately they are not a lot. This keeps them safe although the tight packing. The plastic parts are indeed for only one F-104 model and contain less than 100 pieces, which is not that much for a 1/48 scale kit. Yet the Starfighter is a rather small plane from the middle of the last century and its construction is rather simplified – one engine, one-seat cockpit, a vertical T-tail and definitely its most iconic feature are the small wings. The quality of the plastic parts is very good because the extensive riveting is clearly noticeable. The fuselage is assembled by two long side pieces, which creates the bulk of the model. The plastic parts of this kit are also spread out within around 10 small sprues, which ensures quick and easy orientation. And there is also one small black part with 4 small rubber tubes/caps for smoother movement of some parts.
- Paper parts: they are a lot. Since this is just about literally 2 kits in 1 – almost everything else (except the model itself) is doubled. There are two big typical Eduard-style instructions – one for the NATOfighter and one for the Bundesfighter. The main differences in these instructions are in the colorful markings opts. The big decal sheets are the next important “part” that is doubled – respectively for 5 NATOfighters and for 5 Bundesfighters. The choice of 10 different airframes out of this single kit is something very exciting. Next, a small yellow sheet with pre-cut masks for the canopy and the tires is another great accessory in that box, just like the small piece with transparent films for the HUD.
- Surprises from Eduard: it wouldn`t be a proper Eduard Limited Edition kit without the magnificent Eduard surprises in the form of photo etched and resin upgrades. Most of all – it comes to 2 almost identical PE sheets and 2 bags with almost identical Resin parts. The PE sheets include parts mostly for the cockpit of this F-104 kit. The resin parts include two different seats and a few small upgrades like nodes for the fuselage of the NATOfighter version of this kit.
Without a doubt, this F-104 Eduard kit offers much more advantages than you have expected, so the pros are much more than the cons. For instance, let`s take the fact that you will have a lot of left parts to upgrade your further models. Furthermore:
- PE and Resin upgrades. They are proposed for two different airframes so when you build one of the 10 different airframes – you will have a complete set of PE for another F-104. And one resin ejector seat as well, which could fit in other planes that used a seat from the same type;
- Extensive riveting. The F-104 is a rather old plane and is literally dotted by rivets that are clearly visible. The plastic parts have a good amount of rivets to represent a very good replica of the real plane in terms of rivets and other panel details;
- Very well detailed nozzle. Usually, the OOB nozzle is not exactly the best choice, but not in this case. The plastic nozzle for this F-104 has beautiful highlights of the turkey feathers, as well as plenty of small inner and outer details, and the best part is that the outer edges are not too thick;
- A lot of optional markings. There are decals for 10 different markings in this kit, ranging from shiny silver Starfighters, through Starfighters with green camouflages, to planes from a very wide period of time, planes from different Air Forces, and more. The big sheets with decals offer enormous options of airframes;
- Positionable parts. Although small, this kit offers you to choose between landing gears up and down, canopy open or closed, airbrakes open or closed, and many else. All the control surfaces are separate parts so they can be glued in many different settings;
- Easiness of assembly. This kit contains only a few dozens of plastic parts and most of them are rather large and flat pieces. This makes it suitable for not so advanced modelers who prefer the quick and easy assembly, and yet the gluing of the PE and Resin parts will require your pro skills to make this F-104 model better;
Actually, I couldn`t find any major disadvantage or con of this kit even just by looking at the plastic parts through their big bag. Perhaps, only the lack of ordnance should be listed as the only con of this kit, but let`s face it – the F-104 is a rather small plane with so small wings, so to see its clean silhouette is a privilege.
Why this kit is so unique
The NATO+Bundesfighter kit from Eduard can not be compared to any other kit, because it actually has parts for two models, except the plastic parts. They are for just one model. This leaves an enormous variety of options to choose from when building your model. From a different ejector seat, to different markings and different cockpit configurations – the opts are numerous.
You can get this kit here: NATO+Bundesfighter
And the two separate versions: NATO Only and Bundesfighter Only