Revell 1/72 F-4F Phantom II ICE

KIT #: 04615
DECALS: Two options

Everyone has heard of the legendary Phantom. An eternal favourite of modellers, this famous jet is usually seen in its Vietnam era US Navy or Marines guise, followed closely by its USAF tan and green camouflage. And no wonder, because the Phantom really made its name in the skies over Vietnam. That's where it became a "MiG-killer", and no western aircraft since has made its pilot an ace. Even the mighty F-15 hasn't achieved that.
But there was much more to the Phantom than that impressive history. You don't often see it modelled - not nearly as often as 70s era US Phantoms, anyway. This powerful jet still flies today for Germany, Greece and Japan, as well as Turkey. In all those places it's on its last legs, but it's still an amazing record for a jet that was state of the art in the early 1960s.

One of the ways the jet has managed to keep flying is by consistent upgrades. Germany led the way on that score with its "Improved Combat Efficiency" project. The ICE program started in the early 80s but aircraft began to be modified in the last years of the Cold War. The most obvious features of the F-4F ICE Phantom are its new radar (the APG-65, same as early model F-16s and F-18s) and the ability to fire the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. It lacks many of the necessary systems to operate in a modern air combat environment, however, and will be retired in 2012 as the Luftwaffe's Eurofighter Typhoons come into service in large numbers.
But to me, the ICE Phantom is a very cool looking version. You don't see it modelled often, which is a shame because Revell makes an excellent kit of it.
This one came out in the late 90s and is still on the current catalogue. It is a fine, fine kit, at least to my non-expert-in-Phantom eyes. Delicately engraved panel line detail looks excellent and I can't imagine that the Hasegawa Phantoms can really be too much better than this one, which ought to be considerably cheaper. It comes with two nice ejection seats that even include the overhead pull-cables, a great-looking instrument panel for each seat, and side panels with raised details. A full suite of Sidewinders and AMRAAMs are included, along with a jamming pod (AN/ALQ-119) which these aircraft apparently could not often operate because they interfered too much with civilian signals (TV, etc). Three fuel tanks round out the collection.

It comes with a sprue specific to the Luftwaffe version, which contains different outer wings as well as the nose section and the missiles.

Modern jets are generally various shades of grey, and the Luftwaffe F-4F is no exception. Decals are included for such a version. Much more appealing to my eye is the commemorative scheme on the box art. You need to paint the red and black areas, which is pretty straightforward, and the decal sheet provides the triangle details and the big R symbol that goes underneath. The decals aren't the best I have seen from Revell but there are no obvious problems. Plenty of data stencils are included.

This looks to me to be an excellent kit of the contemporary German Phantom. Other more expert than I am will have to judge whether it has a major flaw, but I think for anyone who wants a Phantom, but something a little different to what's normally seen, this kit is a good way to go.

Richard F

October 2011

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