F-102A Delta Dagger 327th F.I.S. (ca. 1958)
This '102' is my third ARC submission (see Gallery for my other builds), and it likely won't be my last. Why? First, the various decal makers have a bewildering array of great looking squadron markings that the F-102 units wore decades ago; it would be a shame not to build a kit to display some of these. Second, the Meng model maker is, to me, unsurpassed for a blend of correct scale, detail and ease of construction. Third, the smaller scale better suits my space limitations. Please refer to my previous write-ups for this type aircraft and model maker: they still hold true.
My display preferences mentioned earlier also are unchanged: I much prefer the clean, sleek look of a "buttoned up" '102,' as compared to open weapons bay showing the Falcon missiles loaded in place on their rails. I only employ an open canopy so as to show any extra work I made in the cockpit area. Minimally, seat belts and harness appreciably dress up the kit seat. The relatively small scale mitigates against attempt to add extensive detail into the cockpit. That, plus consoles and instrument panels on 1950s jet aircraft were relatively uncluttered, unlike the more modern types with countless buttons, levers and switches. Elsewhere regarding the construction, I should emphasize the Meng kit allows one to pitch the trailing edge elevators in the drooped, i.e. down condition: the tabs on the elevators can be bent to any angle using small channel locks or vise grips. I pitched mine about the same as I've seen them in photos, about 15-20 degrees. Finally, the red strips on the long pitot tube on the nose of the aircraft, and the black strips on the arrestor hook at the aft end of the underbelly, were both applied with ink markers.
I used another after market decal set; it's the only way to get those fantastic looking designs for the model, although the kit decals are no slouch. On the topic of decals, note that the 327th FIS used a white background with red lightning bolts on the vertical tail. To fully bring out the white, unaffected by the base model color, it's imperative that one paint the bare plastic area white where the decal will be placed. The red bolts were sufficiently deep red to remain diminished in tone against the extra white layer underneath. The only drawback to the decaling experience was the need to cut the broad tail decal where it met the extended housing (where a drag chute resides).
Photos and text © by Carl Jarosz