Hasegawa 1/48 Phantom F.3 [F-4J(UK)]






Two aircraft


Julien Dixon




 Following the battle to retake the Falklands Islands it was decided to station a flight of RAF Phantoms at RAF Stanley (Talk about shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted!). It was then perceived that there would be a shortage of air defense aircraft as it was becoming apparent that the introduction of the Tornado F3 into service would be slower that had been originally Anticipated. The solution found to this shortage was found to be the purchase of 15 surplus USN/USMC from the AMARC facility.

 These aircraft were to be re-worked as NAS North Island at a cost of £33 million (not bad for 15 F-4’s). The F-4J was chosen since it initially formed the basis of the original British Phantom variants, and since its AWG-10 radar was broadly compatible with that fitted to the RAF’s other F-4’s. Initially only a limited amount of UK equipment was installed (including the equipment to handle the Sky Flash missiles). RAF aircrew even had to wear USN flying equipment. The prominent DECM antennas on the intake shoulders were actually empty.

Photo taken at NARF North Island, July 1984

 The F-4J’s were delivered in August 1984. The aircraft were painted in the US and a bluer than normal grey was applied over a yellow primer; this resulted in the aircraft acquiring a strange greenish or turquoise tinge until they were repainted in the UK.  Following crew training at El Toro and Yuma they equipped a newly reformed 74 Squadron at RAF Wattisham, thus giving the RAF a fighter equipped “Tiger Squadron” for the first time in many years. It should be pointed out that even though Hasegawa call this a Phantom F Mk3 the RAF did not. Due partly to the impending arrival of the Tornado F3 into RAF service, the correct designation for the aircraft was F-4J (UK). 

These aircraft were finally retired when the disbandment of No. 228 OCU freed up relatively low timed FGR.MK 2 airframes to re-equip no.74 Squadron. Many, inside and outside the RAF, greeted the retirement of the F-4J (UK)’s with dismay. Many complained that they had not long been re-furbished and fitted with British ejection seats taken from retired F-4K’s, RAF pilots also complained as the better performance of the J79 powered aircraft was highly prized.


 As the RAF MK3 for F-4J (UK) is essentially a USN F-4J the Hasegawa kit is just a re-boxing off their F-4J Kit, “Showtime 100”. The only difference is that this kit comes with a small new decal sheet and an RAF painting guide. (Since this is the same kit, I've shown the F-4J sprues. Ed)

 The kit comes on seven grey plastic sprues and one clear one. There is little or no flash present anywhere.  Ejection pin marks seem to have been confined to the inside of parts in the whole, there are a couple on some landing gear parts but they are fairly easy to clean away.

 On to the kit itself, the Aircraft has raised engraved detail throughout. The cockpit looks to be fairly standard Hasegawa USAF one and I would recommend changing it for an aftermarket one (I know I intend to do this).

 Most of the main parts are, as you would expect them. Two fuselage halves with a center split, one-piece bottom center wing and two-piece top wing. There is a small amount of detail moulded into the wheel wells and the landing gear struts are well moulded. The airbrakes can be positioned down if you want to along with the flaps.

 Weapons and externals are generally good. Supplied are a centerline large tank with molded pylon, two wing tanks with molded pylons, 4 sparrow missiles, and 4 sidewinders. However the sidewinders are intended for the F-4J and would be the wrong type for use with the RAF aircraft.

 The canopy is in 4 parts and is quite thin; the pieces are well moulded with no seam lines and should present no problems.

 Instructions are the usual Hasegawa fold out ones with the main build instructions on one side and painting / decal placement on the reverse. However for the RAF version the separate sheet needs to be used for painting and decal placement.

 Decals / Paint Schemes.

 There are two schemes on the painting chart both for 74 Sqn aircraft as this was the only Squadron to operate them. There is only one paint scheme that was used for the F-4J (UK) this was Light Aircraft Grey undersides and Barley Grey uppers. One of the schemes has a Black fin, the other does not.

 Once again Hasegawa do not seem to have got the colours right for the UK low vis insignia. The red is now about right but the Blue is still too dark. In addition this sheet is quite limited.

 In conclusion for the decals, some are usable, but the serious modeler will look for aftermarket replacements.  For this I would recommend the new decal sheet from Yellowhammer Sheet YH4814 Hannants have this down for release soon. It looks to be a good sheet as it includes full Tiger Meet decals from NATO Tiger Meet 1988 with what looks to be 3 option for the F-4J(UK).


 This is a very good standard Hasegawa kit, which will build into a good looking model. It is however let down by the quality of the decal sheet. Get yourself an aftermarket cockpit and a good quality decal sheet and this will make a great model. 

I would recommend this kit. It looks fairly simple and anyone with even basic skills should be able to make a good job of it.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has well over 175,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page