Lockheed F-104C Starfighter – Really George, 479th TFW USAF. George Laven Jr., George AFB, CA, 1963
1 in stock
1 in stock
Witty Sky Guardians 1/72 scale 72 016 004: Lockheed F-104C Starfighter , #56-0891 “Really George”, 479th TFW USAF. Flown by George Laven Jr., George AFB, CA, 1963. Complete with fixed lowered undercarriage. Display stand NOT included.
Length 9.25 inches Wingspan 3.75 inches
The first F-104C took off on its maiden flight on July 24, 1958. The “C” was the tactical strike version of the Starfighter. March 2, 1956, an initial contract was awarded for 56 F-104Cs, in December 1956 an additional 21 aircraft were ordered for a total of 77.
The first C-model accepted by Tactical Air Command took place at the annual fighter weapons meet at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 15 October 1958. This aircraft was named “Really George” because its home base would be the 479th TFW at George AFB, California. Secondly it would be the plane flown by Wing Commander Col. George Laven Jr. who was a WWII P-38 ace with 5 victories. The paint schemes on some of the planes from this era, “Really George” being one of them, were quite elaborate especially the Europeans. The USAF became unhappy with the aircraft’s range, load-carrying ability, and equipment so it began to phase the F-104 out of its inventory in 1967. A heavily modified version of the Starfighter sold well abroad, especially to the air forces of Germany, Canada, Japan, Turkey, Taiwan, Spain, Pakistan and Italy, where high-speed fighter-bomber versions continued in service until the mid 1980s (and, in the case of the Italian Air Force, until 2004). Starfighters were a well-equipped plane for air-to-air interception, or air to ground light bombing. It also could be armed with several different guns depending on the country, with the most common being the 6 barrel M61 Vulcan 20mm cannon. The F-104 could carry 2 wingtip AIM-9B Sidewinder short-range missiles or carry a 170 US gallon drop tank at each wingtip. It also could carry AIM-7 Sparrow medium range missiles, and or up to 4000lbs of ordnance on its 9 hard-points at the wingtips, under wing, and under the fuselage. The F-104C was a real killer in the sky if and when it was called upon. The upgraded fighter-bomber version of the 104 saw limited action in Vietnam, one with the 476th TFS escorting F-105 Thunderchiefs. Even though the Starfighter never scored a kill in Vietnam it was a great deterrent against Mig interceptors. A total of 9 F-104s were lost during this war.The extreme shape of the Starfighter earned it the first nickname of “The Missile With a Man in it” and some USAF pilots also called it “Zipper” or “Zipper 104” because of it’s tremendous speed. After it proved to be challenging to fly, with high fatal accident rates, particularly in German service the plane was given many more nicknames because of its high speed and ability to occassionally fly itself into the ground. In Germany they referred to it as Witwenmacher (“widowmaker”), fliegender Sarg (“flying coffin”) or Erdnagel (“ground nail”, the official military term for a tent peg). Others were, Pakistan Badmash “Hooligan”, Italy because of it’s spiked nose Spillone “Hatpin” and bara volante “Flying Coffin”, Canada “Lawn Dart”. Primarily powered by a single 15 800 lb thrust General Electric J79-GE11A turbojet engine, equipped with afterburner, it was capable of high speeds (just under 1300 mph) and high rates of climb. On December 14, 1959, an F-104C set a world altitude record of 103,395 ft (31.5 km). The Starfighter was the first aircraft to hold simultaneous official world records for speed, altitude, and time-to-climb.
Designed to meet a need for an aircraft that could successfully compete against the MiG-15 in Korea, the F-104 Starfighter was first flown on February 20, 1958. American pilots believed that the F-86 Sabre was too large and complex to outmaneuver the lighter MiG, and they wanted a smaller, simpler, high-performance aircraft to replace it. The resulting design was a light, aerodynamic airframe wrapped around a powerful J79 turbojet engine. The F-104C was used by the USAF from 1958 until 1967, but most of the 2,578 production Starfighters were built and flown by members of NATO, including the Italian Air Force, which didn’t retire it until 2004.