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Old 02-21-2020, 09:43 AM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Default PMC F-104 Starfighter kits

[PART 1 of 2 - Post is divided due to posting size limitations]:

Hello All,

Being an F-104 Starfighter fan, and being curious about the 1/72 and 1/144 scale plastic kits' PMC (Plastic Model Conversion) possibilities, I looked at and measured some that I have. (Centuri also offered a Luftwaffe F-104G as part of their "Fighter Fleet" series: http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/no...a/79cen026.html .) Now:

Airfix, AMT, Hasegawa, and Heller (and other plastic model kit manufacturers such as Italeri, Matchbox, MPC, Revell, etc., see: https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf...HUTyDRcQ4dUDCAs ^and^ https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fr...ghter+model+kit ) all make/made 1/72 scale F-104A, C, G, J, and/or S kits (the F-104S has *three* ventral strakes, which should aid a PMC model's stability in rocket-powered and coasting flight). Plus:

Their fuselages are divided (front-to-back) at different stations, with the Airfix and AMT ones (and possibly other manufacturers' kits, too) having the fuselage dividing line just forward of the vertical stabilizer. A 13 mm mini motor will easily--with little or no sanding--fit inside these models' tail sections, enabling their tail sections to eject themselves, pulling a small parachute (or streamer) and shock cord out of the forward sections of their fuselages. (In my [Airfix, AMT, Hasegawa, and Heller] 1/72 scale F-104 kits, there is either--the arrangements differ between makes of kits--a integrally molded-in open centering ring to hold the afterburner nozzle [this could help center the 13 mm mini motor], or a glued-in plastic tube to hold the afterburner nozzle [in these models, an appropriate length of BT-5/ST-5, containing a thrust ring, could be installed, or the motor could be friction-fitted directly in place, using masking tape].) The other makes of 1/72 scale F-104 kits divide the fuselage farther forward, enabling their remaining forward fuselage sections to serve as nose cones. Also:

The 1/144 scale F-104 kits (which are also made by multiple manufacturers, see: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fr...el+kit&_sacat=0 ^and^ https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf...HazJCV4Q4dUDCAs ) will accommodate the 6 mm diameter Quest MicroMaxx motors. Like the 1/72 scale F-104 kits, the 1/144 scale ones also divide their fuselages at different locations, enabling "tail-ejection" or "nose-ejection," depending on the make of the kit, and:

The 1/144 scale F-104 models are light enough that simple nose-blow recovery (or its "tail-ejection" equivalent) should be sufficient, especially if the models are flown on grass or soft soil. To improve their visibility in the air and on the ground, a narrow (say, 3 mm - 5 mm wide, and 2" to 3" [or more] long) strip of aluminized Mylar or Kapton could be used as a streamer. In models where the internal space is more limited, the aluminized plastic strip could serve *as* part of the shock cord (which could be thin cotton or Kevlar thread [Apogee Rockets, among other vendors, carries these]), with the streamer's ends being tied in the middle (in this case, the streamer wouldn't flutter, at least not much, but would be used solely as a reflective visibility marker. As well:

I don't have any 1/48 scale F-104 plastic model kits. Due to apartment size (mine is smaller than a typical Tokyo apartment) and thus storage space reasons, plus my very small (about 1 square foot) area for building plastic model kits *and* model rockets, I only buy and build 1/72 and smaller-scale plastic model kits. (I prefer 13 mm mini motor powered model rockets, including scale ones--although not-enormous 18 mm motor powered ones, and even small 24 mm motor powered ones are okay--for the same reasons.) I think, however, that 1/48 scale F-104 PMC models fly fine on 18 mm motors; I seem to vaguely recall a 1990s issue of "Sport Rocketry" that covered--and had a picture of--a 1/48 scale, 18 mm motor powered F-104 Starfighter PMC model, which had won the PMC category at a NARAM or another high-level model rocketry competition meet. Incidentally, regarding the 1/144 scale F-104 kits:

The F-Toys 1/144 scale UF-104J kit (see: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fr...4+scale+UF-104J ), of a drone conversion of the JASDF F-104J Starfighter, depicts the *very* UF-104J drone--with the forward fuselage "Buzz number" of 600--that is shown in the following videos (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayx4hSeIzcg ^and^ https://www.youtube.com/results?sea...arfighter+drone ). In addition:

Below are links to photographs (and spectacular flight & shoot-down videos of!)—and information on—QF-86s and other drone-converted jet fighters and jet trainers, including the QF-104A and the UF-104J (not all of them were/are painted all-orange or all-red), including the latest one, the QF-16 (drone conversions of earlier-model F-16 fighters). Duncan Curtis’ 2001 book “North American QF-86E/F/H Sabre Full Scale Aerial Targets” (see: https://www.hannants.co.uk/product/NF58 [some of its material is on “Duncan’s Sabre Website”: http://yocumusa.com/sweetrose/duncan/index.htm ]—the book is also available from Amazon https://www.amazon.com and AbeBooks www.abebooks.com ) contains a wealth of QF-86 scale and paint scheme data.

[END of PART 1 of 2 - PART 2 of 2 follows below]
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Old 02-21-2020, 09:44 AM
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[PART 2 of 2]:

(Scale model kits of these jet fighters and jet trainers are available from multiple manufacturers—a few even offer models of the drone conversions of these aircraft [or offer them as optional versions of multi-version, builder-customizable kits], such as F-Toys' and other companies' kits of the Mitsubishi UF-104J Starfighter drone, Hasegawa's 1/48 scale F-86F/QF-86F drone conversion kit, and AMT's 1/72 scale QF-104A drone conversion/CF-104/F-104G multi-version kit; I’ve recently bought such kits on Ebay.) The Vintage Model Company is also going to offer--if they don't already; they decided to adopt it after I suggested it--an optional, downloadable JASDF Blue Impulse team F-86F decor scheme (some of the U.S. Navy China Lake QF-86Fs were converted from ex-Blue Impulse F-86F Sabres, and their basic, [modified] "pennants-and-diamonds" paint scheme was adopted for many of the QF-86s), for their (Vintage Model Company's) replicas of classic 1950s/60s-era F-86 Sabre Jetex flying model kits: https://www.vintagemodelcompany.com...red-models.html . Below are the videos and other links on these various jet fighter and jet trainer drone conversions:

QF-80: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockh...e:F104-AIM9.gif & https://www.youtube.com/results?sea...80+target+drone

QF-86: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWwV6WSdDg4 , https://www.youtube.com/results?sea...ery=QF-86+drone , and https://www.ewarbirds.org/aircraft/qf86f.shtml

QF-100: https://www.youtube.com/results?sea...ry=QF-100+drone

PQM-102: https://www.youtube.com/results?sea...y=PQM-102+drone

QF-106: https://www.youtube.com/results?sea...06+target+drone

QT-38: https://www.ewarbirds.org/aircraft/qf86f.shtml and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P-XR_hs4kQ&t=51s (it and an early QF-4 are shown briefly in these QF-86 videos)

QF-4: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=QF-4+drone

QF-16: https://www.youtube.com/results?sea...ery=QF-16+drone , AND:

UF-104 JA Starfighter videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayx4hSeIzcg and https://www.youtube.com/results?sea...arfighter+drone

UF-104 JA Starfighter videos, pictures, and information (including on QF-104 drones): https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf...HRCuASwQ4dUDCAw ALSO:

At least three de Havilland Vampire F.1s (French ones—an evaluation batch of Vampire F.1 aircraft was sent to France before they started producing their own Vampires under license [they later developed a more powerful, Nene turbojet-powered variant with enlarged air intakes, which they called the Mistral]) were converted to drones, which were collectively referred to as “The Three Musketeers.” Each of the three Vampire F.1 drones had the name of one of the Three Musketeers (Athos, Porthos, and Aramis) painted—in small cursive script—on its nose. Richard Ward’s and Roger Levy’s book, “De Havilland Vampire F1-T55 in RAF, FAA, RAAF, RNZAF, SAAF, RCAF & Foreign Service (AirCam Aviation Series #33” (see: https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/Se...n+Service&isbn= ) depicts one of these Vampire F.1 drones, including on its cover. PLUS:

Here are additional links to material on the F-80 and T-33:

F-80 (including QF-80 versions): http://www.historyofwar.org/article...oting_star.html & https://www.militaryfactory.com/air...?aircraft_id=86 & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockh...0_Shooting_Star & https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf...i67.asTlrIDJZuo

T-33 (including DT-33 [and QT-33] versions): http://www.historyofwar.org/article...kheed_T-33.html & https://www.militaryfactory.com/air...aircraft_id=726 & https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Lockheed_T-33 & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_T-33

I hope this information will be useful.
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:30 AM
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The last 1/72 scale F-104 conversion I did worked fine and A10-3T motors, but it was awfully hard to get enough parachute into it to properly cushion the landing given the nose weight required to make it stable. I was always sweating whether the wings or stabilizer would be broken on landing.

Good luck!
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:32 AM
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Remember, the "C" in PMC stands for CRASHER.
Nothing like a good PMC POWR-PRANGG.
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Old 02-22-2020, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyNoir
The last 1/72 scale F-104 conversion I did worked fine and A10-3T motors, but it was awfully hard to get enough parachute into it to properly cushion the landing given the nose weight required to make it stable. I was always sweating whether the wings or stabilizer would be broken on landing.

Good luck!
Thank you. Hmmm...an aluminized Mylar parachute, of the kind used in competition models (these are thin-gauge, to enable them to fit in small storage volumes inside such BT-20/ST-7 [and BT-5/ST-5, and T15 <15 mm>] size competition models), might be perfect for this PMC application, too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Remember, the "C" in PMC stands for CRASHER.
Nothing like a good PMC POWR-PRANGG.
If I build and fly one of my 1/144 scale (for MicroMaxx power) and/or 1/72 scale (for 13 mm mini motor power) F-104 kits as a PMC model rocket (or rockets), I'll build it/them in "Clean" configuration (with no missiles, bombs, or fuel tanks under the wings' and/or the fuselage centerline's hardpoints, and [of course] with the landing gear and the speed brakes retracted--the only possible exception might be the wingtip fuel tanks).
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Old 02-22-2020, 04:00 PM
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Honestly I can say at least 75% of all the PMCs I have seen flown were Powr-Prangs.
Usually due to being woefully underpowered.
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Old 02-23-2020, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
I'll build it/them in "Clean" configuration (with no missiles, bombs, or fuel tanks under the wings' and/or the fuselage centerline's hardpoints, and [of course] with the landing gear and the speed brakes retracted--the only possible exception might be the wingtip fuel tanks).


FYI, my 1/72 version did carry the tip tanks.
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Old 02-23-2020, 08:04 PM
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The 1/48 scale F104 flies well on a C6-3 , certain it would do better with a C5-3. I actually prefer the 1/32 scale F-104 which flies nicely on a D12-3
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:29 PM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghrocketman
Honestly I can say at least 75% of all the PMCs I have seen flown were Powr-Prangs.
Usually due to being woefully underpowered.
Were they due to instability, gravity turns, or insufficient damping (the models' mass making them react too slowly when self-correcting for wind gusts [neutral or near-neutral stability])?
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyNoir
FYI, my 1/72 version did carry the tip tanks.
That's what I've been leaning toward, too (on the actual aircraft, the fin-equipped wingtip tanks improve its turning ability, and in a PMC F-104 model they might improve its ability to self-correct for gust-caused yaw disturbances). The contest-winning PMC F-104 model I saw in the 1990s Sport Rocketry issue also had wingtip tanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zog139
The 1/48 scale F104 flies well on a C6-3 , certain it would do better with a C5-3. I actually prefer the 1/32 scale F-104 which flies nicely on a D12-3
A 1/32 scale (and just maybe even a 1/48 scale) PMC F-104 model should also have enough internal space to accommodate micro-R/C equipment. If it was fitted with a blown-flaps system (an axial-flow, or even a squirrel cage, blower could provide the flap airflow, and even ducted fan propulsion), like in the actual aircraft (in which bleed air from the J79 turbojet's compressor is blown over the wing flaps, increasing lift and enabling slower approaches and landings), such a model--if built to be as light as possible--could actually be flown. If it was too heavy to be (horizontally) landed safely, using a long-delay motor (or a zero-delay, re-loadable rocket glider-configured motor, with an R/C-deployed parachute) would enable it to be flown for some time before the parachute was (or needed to be) deployed. (Plus, a large-scale Aeritalia F-104S Starfighter model, with its *three* ventral strakes--the regular, centerline one used on all production F-104 aircraft starting with the F-104A [the XF-104 and YF-104A prototypes and pre-production aircraft lacked it], plus two smaller strakes on either side [see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerit...04S_Starfighter ]--would improve the PMC model's stability, including during ascent.)
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http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6126511
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Old 02-26-2020, 07:10 AM
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About 75% were Powr-Prangs due to lack of thrust and about 25% due to total instability.
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, if you have to ask, you probably aren't
!
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