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  #1  
Old 12-02-2020, 04:09 PM
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Default Centuri Fighter Fleet

I recently got the plans for the Centuri F-16 Fighter from the "Ye Olde Rocket Shoppe" website as I want to clone this kit. I built one when I was a kid in the late 70's.

Then I started to look for picture references and stumbled on something interesting when I checked the old catalogs on Ninfinger: I noticed some differences between the original three kits issued in early 1976 and the later kits. The first thing I noticed was that on the Centuri 1976 catalog, all three kits (F-4, F-15, and F-16) had the "drop fuel" pods with "semi-pointy" nose cones at both ends. On subsequent catalogs all kits (including the newer kits) were shown with a more "rounded" nose cone and with a "pointy / two wing" tail.

The F-4 Phantom on the 1976 catalog is shown with only two missiles at the bottom and with what looks like the launch lug between them. Also the pod supports look small. On later catalogs it has the newer "rounded NC / winged" fuel tanks mounted on longer, more angled pod supports. The missiles have been relocated further out and in their original location are two fins. I can only guess those two fins were later added and the pod supports were longer to add flight stability to the kit.

The F-15 Eagle is shown on the 1976 catalog with no fins at the bottom and with short pod supports. On later catalogs two fins were added to the bottom of the kit and the pod supports seem to be longer and more angled as well. Again, probably to add flight stability.

Besides the change in drop fuel pods, looks like there were no other changes to the F-16 .

My question are:
Did Centuri actually sell kits as they were originally shown in their first 1976 catalog?
Did anyone build a kit as it was originally shown in that 1976 catalog?

I know there are kits as they were shown in later catalogs as I had the F-16 and it was as it was shown in later catalogs. Inquiring minds would like to know...

Attached find pictures of the kits as they appear in the Ninfinger website. Gotta love the prices then...

BTW, anyone has one of these kits built and can post a clear close up of the drop tanks and the missiles? I want to try to recreate these and 3D print them for my clone.

V/R,

R_R
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Old 12-02-2020, 04:20 PM
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I noticed those differences back in the day as well; I had the F16 also as well as the F4 Phantom.

I highly suspect, as these things often go, the catalog photos are of the initial prototype models, which sometimes may have custom made items. In this case, those pod nose cones and tail cones were not a stock Centuri item and would have to have injection molds made for them. In the case of these fighter jet kits, the final design of the pod nose and tail cones were a little different than the rather simply (and identical) nose and tail cones of the prototypes that were photographed for the catalog.

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Old 12-02-2020, 04:27 PM
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I had the F-104 Starfighter, which has wingtip tanks like the later pics. Maybe they consolidated all the tanks to the same type to keep from having to deal with as much parts inventory.
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Last edited by tbzep : 12-02-2020 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 12-02-2020, 04:40 PM
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I believe Bob Del Principe of the Centuri R&D staff designed at least the first three Fighter Fleet shown in the catalog images. Chris Michelson here on YORF I think knew him around that time and might can chime in.

However, I highly believe as mentioned above, that all the Fighter Fleet kits, from day one, had the pod nose and tail cones as shown in the image above on the right. They were all injection molded parts and every Fighter Fleet kit I have (the two mentioned above and multiples later on of ALL the kits in sealed condition) all had the same exact injection molded parts set for the nose and tail cones for the pods and nose and tail pieces for the small missiles. The image on the left above is simply the way the initial prototypes looked BEFORE everything was completely finalized for mass production purposes.

If anyone has production kit parts that look like that earlier image however, I’d love to see them.

If you need decal scans for these let me know.

Earl
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Old 12-02-2020, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl
I believe Bob Del Principe of the Centuri R&D staff designed at least the first three Fighter Fleet shown in the catalog images. Chris Michelson here on YORF I think knew him around that time and might can chime in.Earl


I did know Bob Del Principe, but don't know what part he played in the design of the Fighter Fleet.
At NARAM 60 I asked Betty Piester for Bob's phone number but never heard back. I would have loved to send him my Odd'l Rockets versions of those kits.

I do know Bob worked on the Space 1999 model. He called it the "Flying Clorox bottle".
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Old 12-02-2020, 10:16 PM
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Chris-

Thanks for the response on Bob. Sorry for the typo on your last name.

Funny comment there about the Space 1999 kit. I recall a column by Grant Boyd in the Centuri Rocket Times magazine when that kit was being readied for market where he stated things were taking a bit longer on the blow molding needed for the kit because many companies at the time (summer 1976) were converting products from spray cans to plastic squeeze bottles due to the then new concern of ozone depleting fluorocarbons. He stated there was a backlog of blow molding and they were having to wait their turn for the Space 1999 Eagle transporter.

Del Principe went on to work for some toy company, no? Seems like I remember reading that somewhere some time back.

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Old 12-03-2020, 07:47 AM
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Earl, gonna take you up on your offer. PM sent.
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Old 12-03-2020, 05:20 PM
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Regarding the Centuri Fighter Fleet Designers -
Members of the Centuri R&D team had their names on the decal sheets -
The one shown below was from the F-16 kit - LT. R Del Principe was the pilot.
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Old 12-03-2020, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hcmbanjo
Regarding the Centuri Fighter Fleet Designers -
Members of the Centuri R&D team had their names on the decal sheets -
The one shown below was from the F-16 kit - LT. R Del Principe was the pilot.

My F-104 Starfighter was designed by Major D. Smith. My guy outranks yours.
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Old 12-03-2020, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbzep
My F-104 Starfighter was designed by Major D. Smith. My guy outranks yours.


I think his name was Dave Smith if I remember correctly from the Rocket Times little article that mentioned him as a relatively new design staffer around 1977 or so. I think it mentioned that one of his other recent accomplishments was the new (at that time) Super-C logo.

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