Model building

F-104 Starfighter

This page describes a model of F104 Starfighter made of plywood. The airplane model is designed to learn sawing with a fretsaw and other skills. Since it is not difficult to make, it is suitable for beginners. The model airplane is not a flying one, but it can be used as a toy. Because of small parts, it (as a toy) is not suitable for children under three years.

It is not allowed to use this document or part of it for commercial purposes. The exception is teachers who may use it at their own classes.

Material and Tools

Preparation of Parts

We cut parts of the aircraft out of 4 mm thick plywood first. We find patterns of the parts in a file that is pointed at by a link on figure 1. Each part is to be cut once. Parts, which take part in the assembly twice like fuselage side 3 are also drawn twice in the drawings. We cut each part once. We print the drawing and transfer the patterns to the plywood. A procedure is described in greater detail in the page Transferring Shapes of Parts to Plywood.

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Figure 1: Parts of the Aircraft

We cut all parts out of plywood as precisely as possible. We can find some tips to help us sawing in the page Using of a Fretsaw. Joints must be cut precisely to make assembling easier.

Bottom edge of the back side 6 must be sanded as shown on figure 2.

Preparing parts of the aircraft
Figure 2: The back side of cockpit

After that, we sand the parts to remove cutting marks.


When we have all the parts, we start to glue. First, fuselage parts 1 and 3 together with cockpit bottom 4 are attached to wings 2. Immediately after that, front part 5 and rear part 6 of cockpit are attached. Next, air intakes 7 are assembled. Tail 8 must be glued perpendicular. In doing so, it helps if the parts are cut precisely. Finally, undercarriage parts 9 and 10 are assembled.

Assembling of the aircraft, step 1
Figure 3: Assembling of the aircraft, step 1

Assembling of the aircraft, step 2
Figure 4: Assembling of the aircraft, step 2

Assembling of the aircraft, step 3
Figure 5: Assembling of the aircraft, step 3

Assembly is now complete. To finalize the aircraft, we sand and paint it.

History of the Aircraft

The company Lockheed began to design the aircraft on the basis of experiences from Korean War. USAF put it into service in 1958. Then, it was serving in many armies to 2004.

The maximum speed of the aircraft is 2137 km/h. The wingspan is 6.36 m only and it is 16.66 m long.