Heller 1/144 F-4E Phantom II

KIT: MHeller 1/144 F-4E Phantom II
KIT #: 79903
PRICE: AUD $10.98
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Graham Mison
NOTES: Roboxed LS kit

HISTORY

 The history of the Phantom has been covered many times on this site so I won't rehash it here.

THE KIT

  I found this kit at a local hobby shop earlier this year and immediately purchased it believing that it must be a new tooling as, as far as I new, there had never been a 1/144 scale kit of an F-4C/D as depicted on the box top. I had built the very elderly Otaki F-4B back in the Ď70s and even used one to convert an LS E model to a D but I didnít think Heller would be re-releasing that one. Imagine my surprise at opening the box to find the familiar sprues of the LS F-4E!

  Many things went through my mind, finally settling on the fact that I had been duped. This preview is a heads up for all modelers who may come upon this kit, be warned and forearmed. If youíre after an early model 1/144 Phantom this isnít it.

  Ok, Iíve got that off my chest so whatís in the box. What you get is 30 parts molded in white plus a single piece clear canopy, thatís 31 pieces not the 32 proclaimed on the box top. Even if you count the main U/C doors which need to be separated for a wheels down model taking the count up to 33 itís another mark against Heller.

  The LS moldings were a big jump ahead in the early Ď80s and were used as a bench mark for many years in this scale, now their looking dated with engraved panel lines that are too deep and wide and a lack of finesse to many parts. You do get a pair of seats for the cockpit, underwing tanks and a pair of reasonable Sparrows to go on the underwing pylons.

  The decal sheet is one of Hellerís worst with some of the larger items ok and some out off register, the smaller markings, including the nose art, are just blobs on this sheet. For 144 modelers there is some useful items including the walkways. Perhaps if another manufacturer releases a new mold F-4 in this scale some of these could be used on it.

  The instruction sheet is a double-sided A3 item with an 8 stage assembly sequence on 1 side with a 4 view painting diagram on the other. This is rather amusing showing a long nosed E described as an ĎF-4C Phantom IIí. 

CONCLUSIONS

  Iím not sure of the release date for this kit, but have been told it was several years ago. If thatís true I hope Heller coped a lot of complaints and have learnt a lesson. The French manufacturer has always been a favourite of mine in the past having released 2 of my all-time favourite kits in their 1/72 F-84 and F-86, but for now on Iíll be thinking twice and doing my homework before handing over my dollars.

 Graham Mison

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