|NOTES:||Black Box Cockpit for F-4J, Fox One Decal Sheet 48-023, Quickboost F-101 pitot tubes and F-4 air scoops, True Details F-4 Wheels, Eduard F-4 Placcards, Aires F-4J Exhausts and Cutting Edge Seamless Intakes used.|
The F-4 Phantom II aka "Rhino", "Double Ugly", “the "Flying Anvil", "Flying Footlocker", "Flying Brick", "Lead Sled", the "Big Iron Sled" and the "St. Louis Slugger” was the primary fighter bomber of the US Navy and USAF during the Vietnam War and to the early part of the 80s.
It was originally conceived as an “attack” fighter armed with four 20mm cannons. Later, the cannons were deleted (which was later regretted) and the mission changed to a Mach 2 fighter intercepter armed with radar guided missiles. It soon was designated the F4H-1 and named the Phantom II instead of Satan or Mithras.
Phantoms reached the Fleet in 1961 when VF-74 “The Be-Devilers” flew them.
By 1964 less than half of the
The Phantom developed a reputation as an adaptable and dangerous opponent. It could not outmaneuver the Mig-17, 19 or 21 but it was a fearsome energy fighter that used its thrust advantage from the twin J-79 turbojets to zoom out of any bad situation or for “zoom and boom” high speed attacks if the pilots had Air Combat Maneuvering Experience. Its combat record was hampered by the lack of an internal gun and reliable missiles (the radar guided Sparrow being the least favorite missile behind the IR guided Sidewinder) and many crews lacked dogfighting experience/training so Phantom crews were in tough against their Vietnamese, Soviet and Chinese opposition.
Things changed when
Top Gun was started by the
By the 1970s, the Phantom was slowly replaced in the USN by the Tomcat and Hornet while the Eagle and Falcon were replacing them in USAF squadrons.
5195 Phantoms were built around the world and some are still flying today.
VF-114 Aardvarks or Executioners
Originally designated as the VBF-19 in 1945. They were deployed to North Island and did not see action in WW2. They were redesignated several times till they were designated VF-114 “The Executioners.”
The Executioners fought in Korea, flying Corsairs. After Korea they transitioned to jet aircraft, first the Panther then the Banshee and finally the Demon. In 1961, they transitioned to the F-4 Phantom. Around this time, the Executioners were renamed to the Aardvarks. According to wiki, they were renamed because the Phantom had a passing resemblance to the BC Comics character “Zott” the Aardvark. From other sources I have read, they were actually renamed because someone was offended by the squadron nickname of “Executioners.”
The Aardvarks quickly adapted to their new name. Some flight crews wore bright day glo orange flight suits while various aircraft had the leading edge of their pylons and fuel tank tips painted international orange.
In 1975 they would transition to the F-14 Tomcat and were disestablished in 1993 during the post Cold War Drawdown.
On May 6, 1972,
aircraft from the Coral Sea had bombed Bai Thunong airfield when CVW-11 from the
USS Kitty Hawk was called upon to deliver a follow-on Alpha Strike on short
notice. Lt Bob Hughes (pilot) with
Lt jg Joe Cruz (
Information from Wiki and the Fox One Decals Sheet 48-023
The closest reference is Julian Dixon’s preview of the F-4J (UK) kit which is almost the same as the F-4J Showtime 100 kit.
As I happen to be a Phan of this plane, I had acquired a number of goodies over the years to be used in the construction of this model including an old Black Box F-4J cockpit, Cutting Edge Seamless intakes, Aires exhausts, True Details resin wheels, Eduard F-4 Placcards, Quickboost F-101 pitot tubes, Quickboost air scoops and the Fox One Decal Sheet.
One of the first things I did was remove all the little antennas and tubes molded along the seam as well as the bump along the nose cone as I would replace these later with 10 thou plastic card cut to shape.
Next I had to sand away all the detail from the cockpit so that the Black Box ‘pit would fit in. I sanded the walls down a bit too having had some rough experiences jamming resin cockpits into model aircraft. For the most part, there weren’t too many issues that were caused by the Black Box Pit.
The Cutting Edge seamless intakes needed to be added next. The engine faces were painted and then the resin part moved in place. The intakes were sprayed a thin coat of flat white (even though there are made of white resin.) I followed the CE instructions, but for whatever reason these were not easy drop in replacements. I ended up having to cut, trim and sometimes pound these things into place. There were some gaps and steps that needed to be addressed. I then noticed that one intake was off from the other... I ended up having to do major surgery removing the intake then replacing it not once but twice as it took me two tries to figure out why the intake was out of alignment. I hacked off most of one corner of the intake (till I could almost see through it) as well as much of the interior plastic of the fuselage mating lip till it sat at the correct angle.
The cockpit interior was painted with Dark Gull Grey, some lead weights (5-8g) were added to the nose to ensure it would sit nose down and then the fuselage was closed up.
I hacked out the plastic where the resin control panel would sit. Next I fitted the wings to the fuselage. At that point, I stopped modeling.
When I returned 8 months later, I filled in all the gaps with Milliput around the intakes instead of CA glue mostly because CA glue would have been so messy --much of the excess Milliput was removed with wet Q-tips and only a little sanding was needed. I used CA glue elsewhere. There was a lot of sanding and filling done. Repeat several times as the seams had pinholes and phantom seams to be dealt with. Also the slime light were removed which lead to more sanding and filling.
Once everything seemed to be done and cleaned up, the Phantom was sprayed with Tamiya White Fine Primer which revealed several areas that needed some extra work. A final coat of primer revealed nothing so it was off to the paint shop.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
First I sprayed Tamiya TS-30 Old Silver around the bare metal areas of the tail and tailplanes. After it was dry, I masked off those areas in preparation for the main paint job. The Phantom was preshaded with dark grey along the panel lines and random squiggles in the panels themselves.
After that the white undersides were painted with a thin coat of flat white and a thin coat of gloss white. When it was dry, various areas were masked off and several thin coats of Gunze H325 Light Gull Grey were sprayed on. Unfortunately, a couple of areas needed touch up as the masking either lifted or I did not spray enough paint.
The international orange tail fin was masked off and painted while similar actions were done for the area for the black anti-glare panel. Once dry, two thin coats of Tamiya Gloss were sprayed on in preparation for the decals.
Many of the small parts were painted including missiles were done at this time. The landing gear doors proved to be a bit of a pain as they usually are with US Navy aircraft due to the red borders. I used a red sharpie to color them in. It worked okay aside from a couple of small glitches that needed to be cleaned off and repainted.
The Corrogard areas were done differently. I hand painted the fine edge around the intakes while I added tinfoil using Microfoil adhesive along the leading edge of the tail because I had already added the decals at that point and masking/painting it would be difficult.
I unmasked the bare metal areas around the tail and sprayed them with a combination of Tamiya XF-56 Metallic Grey and a thin coat of Titanium Gold to show grime and heat damage to the metal to the areas near the exhausts.
Normally I paint the canopies at the same time as the rest of the plane so that they would have a similar color. Unfortunately I did not do that and had to mask, paint, decal, wash and final coat them after the fact. One thing that makes the canopies of the F-4J a bit tricky is that it uses the windscreen as a HUD instead of using a separate HUD so the windscreen center panel needed to be painted a light clear green. I carefully masked off the center panel and sprayed 3 parts clear gloss and 1 part clear green to give it a hint of clear green but not make it too dark.
I selected the Fox One Decals 48-023 sheet because of the VF-114 markings. Only one glitch I noticed is that the orange for the decals is a touch brighter than the international orange paint I used.
The decals went on without any issues except that there were a lot of stencils to be added. It took several days to fully decal the Phantom and missiles.
A week later, the Phantom was wiped down with a damp cloth to remove the excess decal solution.
A wash was not done till the rest of the plane was assembled. A watercolor wash of Raw Umber and Burnt Sienna was used. Just enough to darken the paint and fill in some of the panel lines. The excess was removed with a lot of damp Q-Tips.
Two thin coats of Xtracylix Satin were sprayed on for the final coat while the landing lights were painted various colors of clear as per instructions.
The numerous tiny parts were added on including the missiles (only two Sparrows and four Sidewinders), centerline fuel tank and pylons and replacement antennas made from 10 thou plastic card (attached using CA glue.) For some reason, Hasegawa does not supply sway braces for the pylons and I had to scrounge them from a couple of their weapons sets that I own.
I had bought an extra set of F-101 pitot tubes to replace the Phantom’s pitot tubes I had cut off previously. These were trimmed to size, the attachment points were cut to the correct angle and the centers were carved out so that they fit a little better than a mere butt join, painted steel and attached using a small dot of CA glue.
I finished up adding the last of the cockpit pieces (the instrument panels were dry brushed and hand painted using various colors) including the ejection seats. Normally I would have done all this when I sealed up the fuselage, but I left it off till later due to the modifications I had to do to the fuselage.
Next the painted and previously assembled Aires exhausts were glued into the Phantom using small dabs of CA glue without much trouble.
The Eduard placcards were added to the more visible areas of the Phantom using a small dab of CA glue applied with a toothpick.
Lastly, I glued the painted canopies in place using Tamiya clear and I was finished my F-4J.
The Hasegawa F-4J is a relatively simple kit in terms of parts, but it needs some careful work to assemble into a decent model out of the box. Like most kits, some areas could use some improvement like the cockpit, wheels, intakes (which are prominent in the Phantom), and exhausts. In this case, I feel a better looking replacement is a good idea, especially if you are a contest modeler, but not mandatory.
I’ve always been a Phantom Phan and like the brutal look of the plane. This is the first one in 1/48 scale I have built and I am quite happy how it turned out. It is much better than the 1/72 MPC version I built 30 years ago where I used the F-4E nose and exhausts with US Navy decals.
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