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Trumpeter 1/48 scale F-106 Delta Dart

Kit:02891 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$74.95
Recessed panel lines; great fit; clean molding
Florida colors inaccurate (too bright); tricky weapons bay
Injection-molded, 209 parts (14 photoetched metal)
This is only the second injection-molded kit of the F-106 in 1/48 scale; the first was the Monogram kit of the early 1980s. At the time, it was the state of the art.

Trumpeter’s kit comes with nicely engraved panel lines in medium gray plastic. The build options are basic: The weapons bay can be posed open or closed; you get eight Falcon missiles, four AIM-4F radar-guided missiles, four AIM-4G infrared guided missiles, and one AIR-2A Genie unguided rocket, nuclear-capable. Normal loadout was the Genie and two each of the Falcons, which is how I armed my aircraft.

Two sets of markings are supplied, one from the New Jersey Air National Guard and one from the Florida Air National Guard. The blue for the Florida markings is way too bright. Although the color varied slightly, it was never that vivid. The true color is closer to Blue Angel blue, FS15052 or thereabouts.

The decals were a little blotchy, with shiny and dull spots. Brushing Pledge FloorCare Multi-Surface Finish (PFM) over the decals would even out their sheen.

You get a fret of photoetched metal with seat belts, mirrors, and an angle-of-attack vane. The canopy glass is crystal clear; I didn’t even have to dip it in PFM.

Step 1 starts with the pilot’s seat, which is adequate. The kit-supplied seat belts don’t really look accurate, but they’ll do in lieu of ordering from the aftermarket.

Moving on to the cockpit in the next step, follow the instructions. The seat must go in first, then the control column; there’s no room between the seat and the control yoke.

Moving to the nose gear bay in Step 3, install only parts C13 and C46; these parts of the nose gear have to be sandwiched between the gear-bay side walls. Leave the main strut off until final assembly.

Construction is straightforward until Step 9, when the tops of the wings are glued on. You have an option of dropped or neutral positions for the control surfaces: ailerons (parts B13 and B20) and flaps (parts B7 and B10). You also get two sets of actuators, depending on how you want to position the control surfaces. However, the instructions don’t bring the actuators in until Step 17. Two suggestions: 1) Install the actuators first, or, 2) use the neutral-position actuators (parts D13). If you drop the control surfaces, you’ll have an unsightly gap on the upper surface at the hinge joint. It could be fixed with filing and fitting, but for this review I just posed them neutral. Even then, you’ll have to trim the tabs at the front of the ailerons to properly fit recesses in the wings. But you’ll have to bend those same tabs into the neutral position. Either way, you’ll need to do a little work.

The only other tricky part is the weapons-bay assembly in steps 19 and 20. If you have the weapons bay open, which I do, instructions are to install the bay-door hinges (hinges, not the door), then the bay doors (steps 19 and 20, respectively), before mounting the missiles and associated missile rails, supports, and forward cross-bridge assemblies. I did it the other way around, essentially working from the inside out. There’s a little slop in some of the components, so it’s a good idea to glue the supports and rails together and place — don’t glue — them in position until the glued parts dry. This gives you a chance to adjust everything as the glue sets so it all lines up.

When installing the bay doors, just follow the instructions. Install the upper bay doors first, making sure the hinges seat properly in the fuselage hinge area. Then make sure the doors contact the actuators you installed earlier. Once the glue on these has set up, install the lower doors. There’s a male/female hinge arrangement for this assembly, too. It gets a little tedious because you’re trying to get everything to mate and match up (hinges, actuators, etc.), but it can be done.

The other option is to close it all up with a one-piece molding of the doors (Part B8 in Step 18).
Decals were easy. As I said earlier, I used the Florida Air National Guard markings despite the blue being too bright. (I already have a New Jersey Air National Guard model.)

It took me about 31 hours to complete this F-106, a little more than average; I could have knocked off about 10 hours by just closing the weapons bay, but I’m a glutton for punishment. If you take the easy way with the weapons bay, and you consider yourself an intermediate modeler, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting up to speed with this Mach 2 interceptor.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2015 FineScale Modeler.
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