Revell 1/48 F-104G Starfighter "Tiger Meet" Plastic Model Kit
As the first MiG-15 met aircraft of the UN Allies over Korea in November 1950 and the F-86 Sabre could only just assert itself, the US Air Force called for a light, single seat day interceptor with far superior flight performance. Under the direction of its vice president and chief engineer Clarence L. Kelly Johnson Lockheed developed an unarmed experimental aircraft XF-104 Starfighter, which undertook its maiden flight on 4 March 1954 The first production version F104A with a six barrel 20mm Gatling gun and AIM-9B-Sidewinder missiles, proved itself with a sensational flight performance. Inside 4.5 minute's these aircraft climbed to 25000m, (75000ft) and reached Mach 2 without any problems. They broke many world records.
The first F-104A Fighter Squadron of the USAF was Combat Ready in February 1958. After a number of accidents caused by engine problems the USAF reduced its original order from 722 to 296 aircraft of the improved F-104C version. Between 1965 and 1967 Starfighter flew more than 8200 missions over Vietnam. Nine aircraft were lost. Built to fulfil various role's including fighter-bomber and reconnaissance and also used as an experimental aircraft, from 1961 onwards the F-104 was exported to numerous NATO countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Canada, and Germany. There it quickly received a bad reputation and was nicknamed the Widows Maker. Numerous accidents occurred throughout its career, and in spite of many modifications and improvements the problems were only partially resolved. Some were also built under license in Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Japan. The Belgian Air Force used the F-104 from 1963 onwards with the 349th and the 350th Squadrons of No1 Wing based at Beauvechain Air Base. They initially served as interceptors and later as fighter-bombers with No10 Wing at Kleine-Brogel Air Base. Here they were allocated to the 23rd and 31st Squadrons, today member™s of the famous NATO Tigers Association.
The first aircraft to be painted in Tiger colours was a Starfighter of the Canadian Air Force in 1969. Two other CF-104 followed in what was to become a tradition. F-104G FX-52 was given a complete Tiger colour scheme for the NATO Tiger Meet in 1978 which took place at its home base, so becoming the first Belgian aircraft to be specially liveried. It opened the way for many units to apply individual paint schemes to their aircraft for special events over the following years.