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ROCAF (Taiwanese)
F-104A/D/G/J/DJ/TF Decals



Tiger Wings, 1/48 scale


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description: Tiger Wings 4002 - ROCAF (Taiwanese) F-104A/D/G/J/DJ/TF Decal
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Waterslide Decals
Price: NT400 (about $12.01USD)
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Large selection of subtype and squadron choices. Thin, good registration, full compliments of markings and stencils
Disadvantages: Very difficult to come by outside of Taiwan
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by John Chung

HyperScale is proudly sponsored by Squadron.com




Brief History On ROCAF F-104 Operations 

The history of the venerable F-104 has been covered aplenty both in book forms and on the web. The Republic of China (Taiwanese) Air Force has operated the F-104 family for 39 years, from 1960 to 1998. A number of aerial victories were also established in the type of ROCAF pilots over the Taiwan Strait over Chinese MIG-19s. The ROCAF was one of the first air forces outside of the USAF that received the F-104. Some sources claim that it was the first but I’m not completely certain. The type operated primarily in the interceptor role although reconnaissance platforms were also used.  

Since the US and People’s Republic of China (Mainland China) established relations, US arms sales to Taiwan was severely compromised, resulting in ever postponement of retirement for the tired fleet. It wasn’t until when 60 of the French-built Mirage 2000-5s and 150 of the American-built F-16A/Bs were procured in the early 1990s did the Starfighters decommission. Consequently, the ROCAF also operated a plethora of different new and used F-104 models, including the F-104A, B, G, J, TF-104G and F-104DJ. It is uncertain whether the F-104C or CF-104s were ever in service with the Taiwanese.  

The last ROCAF F-104 flight was held on May 22, 1998, by TF-104G No.4186 (63-08458, former Luftwaffe 27+60). 

The Decals 

ROCAF F-104s have been covered by several aftermarket companies and released in special boxings of Hasegawa’s 1/48 F-104 series. This particular F-104 sheet is one of the earlier efforts by the Taiwanese indigenous decal company Tiger Wings. The company also has released a number of other subjects and in different scale. However, as of late I’ve not been able to find any of the Tiger Wings line nor been able to ascertain the eventual fate of the company. 

Included are one 8” x 6” decal with a 5.5” x 4” and a 1.25” x 4” inserts. The larger sheet contains all of the different types of serial and national insignias worn by the F-104 during its career with the ROCAF. The amount of spare decal left alone when this sheet is done makes the decal worth its cost. The smaller inserts cover all the squadron emblems and stencils, and seem to be enough for one – but no more – aircraft. It would have been nice, given the marking choices presented by the sheet, to include more than one set of stencils by the manufacturer.  

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The decals themselves are thin and very well registered. The details are sharp and words are legibly fine. I’ve never used Tiger Wings decals before, but from what I’ve seen they tend to go down well without bled through.  

The instruction sheets included with the decals is something else altogether – 22 sheets of 5.75” x 8.25” black and white profiles covering a plethora of aircraft types and operational schemes, complete with unit variations, FS numbers, and camouflage patterns. It is one of the most comprehensive sets of profile sets I’ve seen compiled for a decal. On the other hand, the stencil placement guides are almost non-existent, nor does the instruction show exactly what font type or colour to use. It seems the individual who did the instructions necessitated the user to have access to alternative references in compliment of those supplied by the instructions. 

I was able to acquire this set of decals through a friend in Taiwan. I’m not aware of any North American company that still carries Tiger Wings line, and whether the supply line in Asia have dried up is anyone’s guess. Taiwanese modeling outlets like the MPK Hobby World (http://www.mpk.com.tw/) would probably carry them although their website is in Chinese only and it’s also anyone’s guess if they correspond in English or ships internationally.

Highly Recommended.

Sample purchased with reviewers funds.

Review Copyright © 2006 by John Chung
Page Created 26 October, 2006
Last updated 29 October, 2006

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