by: Andy Brazier [ ]
Originally published on:
Evolved from wartime German research records, the Convair F-102 and the 2 seat TF-102A was the first delta wing fighter to enter service. Its front line career was brief but 3 times as many "Deuces" were built then its successor, and saw service with far more units, including 2 foreign air forces.
The first operational service of the F-102A was with the 327th Fighter - Interceptor squadron at George Air Force Base, in April 1956, and eventually a total of 889 were built. The F-102's official name, "Delta Dagger" was never used in common parlance, with the aircraft being universally known as the "Deuce."
The F-102 served in Vietnam, flying fighter patrols and serving as bomber escorts. A total of 15 aircraft were lost in Vietnam: one to air-to-air combat, several to ground fire and the remainder to accidents.
The F-102 and TF-102 were exported overseas to both Turkey and Greece, with those aircraft seeing combat missions during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. There have been claims of air combat between Greek F-5s and Turkish F-102s. The Greeks claimed to have shot down two F-102s while the Turks claim to have shot down an F-5; however, both sides deny losses. The F-102 was finally retired from both of those air forces in 1979. The F-102 left US service in 1976, while the last PQM-102 drone was expended in 1986. No F-102s remain in flyable condition today although many can be seen at museums.
Encore E Models are part of the Squadron brand name. Encore re-box older kits from various manufacturers and add a load of resin and P.E goodies, along with some superb decals. The F-102A is Encores first 1/48th kit and also the first jet engined aircraft they have released. The first kits released were W.W.1 aircraft in 1/72nd and 1/32nd scales.
The plastic bits
The 1/48th F-102 kit was first released by Monogram in the 1990's , and then by Pro Modeler, Revell, Hasegawa, and Revell-Monogram, many with different decals and box numbers.
The first thing you notice with this kit is its size. its big, not massively big like the F-101 or the F-111, but its still a large chunk of plastic. The second thing you notice is the raised panel lines. Now I'm not a fan of raised panel lines, but these are very fine, and a quick look at them and you wouldn't even notice they are raised.
The plastic injected parts are on five light blue/grey sprues and one clear sprue. As expected there is a little flash, but nothing a quick swipe with a blade can't cure. There are a few sink marks to be found on various parts, so expect a little filling here and there. The worst part is the external fuel tank pylon which has sink marks the length of the pylon. A few of the sprue connection points are a little on the heavy side, so some side cutters will no doubt be needed.
This kit features the Case XX wings with this boxing, which was an improvement over the earlier wing design of the "Deuce". The Case XX wing featured an increased camber and larger elevons to increase overall ceiling, manoeuvrability and low speed handling.
External detail as already stated is in the form of raised panel lines. Access panels, with rivet detail are also raised affairs but they are extremely well done.
Internal detail is very good even for this day and age, with the wheel bays featuring spars and plumbing. The undercarriage legs are well done with brake lines moulded on. The wheels supplied with the original kit are weighted and look alright but resin ones with a nice tread pattern are also supplied, but unfortunately these aren't weighted. The weapons bay can be either shown open or closed with internal detail taken care of much in the same way of the wheel bays.
The speed brakes can be modelled open or closed.
The cockpit has raised and recessed detail for the instrument panels, and the ejection seat is nicely detailed with moulded on harness's. A pilot is also supplied which is not bad looking. He is posed holding a map board and his oxygen mask removed. The cockpit is completely replaced with the resin upgrades in this kit.
The clear parts are nice, thin and very clear, with no blemishes. The cockpit frames are slightly frosted, so painting should be a little easier.
The resin and P.E bits
The resin upgrades are cream coloured with no air bubbles present. The parts still have the pour plugs attached, but most of them will be pretty easy to remove. The two parts that might be a little fiddly to clean up are the intakes and the nose. The pour plugs on these parts are connected to the mating surfaces, so sanding the parts flush afterwards is a must for a good fit.
The upgrades see the all of the cockpit tub, interior, ejection seat and instrument panel hood completely replaced. The ejection seat has the harness's moulded on, but the detail is a lot better then the kit supplied bang seat.
The seamless intakes look gorgeous and gets rid of the internal seam that needs filling on the plastic kit parts.
Resin control surfaces are supplied and are an optional install.
Resin wheels that although are very nice do lack the weighted look, this is intentional as most photos of the Deuce’s high pressure tires show little weighting effect, but I have got a photo which does suggest there is a slight bulge at least. It is nice to have a choice to use either the resin or plastic ones.
A new correct nose cone replaces the plastic kit one, but fitting the resin one could be problematic, as the pour plug is connected to the mating surface.
Twelve missiles are supplied, with three being the AIM-4A semi active radar homing Falcon missile, three AIM-4D infrared guided Falcon missile, the other six are three each of the AIM-4F and AIM-4G Super Falcon missiles. The six Super Falcon missiles saw only limited use by the F-102, as they were designed for use by the F-106.
Two frets of photo etch are supplied and are both produced in the Czech Republic, by Eduard no doubt. One fret is pre-coloured which holds the instrument and side console panels. Detail looks exceptional on the panels with the dials and switches very well done.
The other fret holds various upgraded parts such as oleos, afterburner ring, and plenty of internal detail parts for the undercarriage and weapons bay.
instructions and decals
The instructions are printed on a A4 size sheets, and are bound into an 8 page colour booklet. The instructions are some of the best I have ever seen, with the build sequence over 18 stages. Each stage has any resin or P.E parts to be added clearly labeled, and internal colours are given along the way. Full colour marking guides for the two schemes are given, with a separate plan for the decal stencil placement.
The two schemes available are both for U.S aircraft -
s/n 57-09 07 of the 460th FIS, CO's aircraft, 1962. The colour scheme of this aircraft is overall ADC grey, with yellow wingtips.
s/n 56-1389 of the 64th FIS, Vietnam, 1966. this aircraft is in the SEA camouflage.
The decals are printed by Cartograph of Italy. They are thin, glossy and have very little carrier film, the colour looks to be spot on and no patches of varying colour seem to show on the larger decals.