Revell 1/72 RF-4E Phantom II

Kit Number: 04308

Price: œ10.95UK

Decals: Two versions: 52 Recon. Leck & 51 Bremgarten

Reviewer: Simon Hedge

Date of Review: 23 June 1998

The days of the Phantom are now, unfortunately, ending. The Luftwaffe is expected to use the type for a few more years, but as with several other wonderful types, the Gulf War really represented the swan-song of a superb airplane.

This is an all-new tooling from Revell, representing the RF-4E reconnaissance version, but the breakdown of the sprues certainly indicates that kits of other F-4 variants are to follow.

Moulded in dark green plastic, the sprues are totally flash-free, and the parts are decorated with finely engraved details, as good as anything from the orient. Interior details are tackled first. The two ejector seats are five-piece mini kits in themselves, and are a little fiddly, but look good. Instruments and side-consoles are represented by raised detail, that really repays careful painting. Also there are four one-piece cameras for the nose, with decals to represent the lenses.

Fit everywhere is EXCELLENT. With a bit of care, there should not be any need for filler, and just the gentlest of sanding. All colours of detail parts are called out during construction, and everything fits together as per the instructions. The only thing to watch out for is the undercarriage, which is quite fiddly, and location is not totally clear. Tyres are flattened and bulged, the authenticity of which I am not convinced, but they look alright and I wouldn't replace them just for this.

Two schemes are provided, an overall 3-colour camoflage scheme of AG51, and an eye-catching 'Black Panther' scheme of AG52, which marked the disbanding of the squadron. The decal sheet is quite large, but at least 70% of the images are for the camoflage option. Decals are matte, and rather brittle, most of the larger decals involved some amount of 'pushing the pieces back together' once they were on the kit, and the large 'leaping panther' image on the underside took two liberal coatings of microset before it would even think about settling over the lumps and bumps of the fuselage. At least there was no silvering, which was a plus.

There are underwing stores for the operational machine, and the end result is a very nice representation of a great aircraft. I will certainly build another, and I shall be keeping my eyes peeled for other F-4 variants from Revell in the future.

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