Hasegawa 1/72 F-4E Phantom II
To most knowledgeable and intelligent people, the finest jet inthe last 35 years is the F-4 Phantom II. Those lacking proper perception willundoubtedly differ in this matter, however, it isn't too late to come to yoursenses! :o)
Other than perhaps the Mig-17 or Mig-21, no other post-Koreanwar jet has been built in greater numbers. Certainly no other non-Sovietdesigned aircraft. There must have been a reason for it. It certainly isn'tsimplicity or ease of maintenance. The Phantom was one of the last Westernfighters where the airframe was designed first and then room was found for otherequipment. Nowadays, ease of maintenance is as important as any other factor. Itcertainly wasn't designed to be stealthy. Nothing like two smoke trailsfollowing several tons of hurtling metal to make yourself visible! It alsowasn't designed to be quiet. If you have ever been around the beast withoutproper hearing protection, your ears will definitely be ringing.
What made it such a success is that it was able to perform avariety of missions and perform them all well. Probably your first decentmulti-mission aircraft. It was an interceptor, a (unwilling) dogfighter, asuperb ground attack aircraft, a night fighter, a level bomber, a SAMsuppression aircraft, and a blast to fly. Before that, aircraft were generallyspecialized. After the Phantom, there were still purposefully built aircraft,but it lead the way to today's multi-mission aircraft.
It was one of the few combat types flown by the US Navy, Marinesand Air Force at the same time. I'm sure that if the Army was allowed fixed wingsupersonic combat jets, that it would have flown them as well. Nearly all whoflew it loved it, and so did many of those who fixed it (albeit several yearsafter the type left service!). The final tally of F-4s, including those built inthe UK and those built in Japan was 5,027. The milestone 5,000th aircraft wasbuilt in March of 1978 and was one of the last batch built. 77-0290 was one of24 Block 65 F-4Es that went to Turkey. 8 others of this block went to Greece.The final Phantom produced; 78-0744 was one of 18 block 67 F-4Es built for theSouth Korean Air Force. Greece and Turkey are still flying the F-4 and I wouldnot doubt if South Korea was as well. The fate of 77-0290 is unknown to thisauthor.
Those who have built any of the previous Hasegawa 1/72 F-4Eswill find nothing new in this kit except the decal sheet. Like all of the newermold Phantoms in this scale, it is a mass of plastic, offering many options andinterchangeable sprues. This kit dates from 1991; difficult to believe that itis ten years old, however it is still, to many, the best in this scale.
If you have read the preview of theF-4J done a few months ago, you will notice that much of this kit is thesame. All that I said about that kit is true of this one. The big differencesare those sprues circled in orange. The benefit of this system is that themanufacturer can produce a bunch of different variants using many of the samesprues. The downside for the builder is that you have a bunch of extra seamlines and inserts to have to deal with. You also get quite a few spare partswhen you are done.
As with many other Hasegawa 1/72 kits, there is no ordnanceincluded. This is so that you will gleefully plunk down the extra funds on aweapons set. Frankly, many of us do not like this, but there is darn little wecan do about it.
I did mention that this is basically the 1991 F-4E kit. In fact,you get the same instructions, just an addendum sheet to cover the specialdecals. The old kit decals are not included. The decals that come with the kitlook very nice and seem to have all the various striping and such as part of thedecals. The only area that you may have some trouble will be with the nosesection. This is a highly complex surface over which to try to wrap the decal.However, the decal is well formed and one never knows until one tries. Shouldyou really be brave and want to paint on the stripes, you have a separatesection with flags for this purpose.
Since this is was a special short time scheme, the problem ofordnance and various racks and drop tanks really doesn't come into play as mostof its flights like this were done with the airframe free of all those things.Only if you want to use different markings would that come into play. You willnotice from the picture that this plane did not have the triangularreinforcement plates on the horizontal stabilizers. These will have to be sandedoff the kit ones. I am also not positive about it having extended slats on theoutboard wings as in the kit parts. The picture isn't much help and the box artdoesn't show that part! Additional research will have to be done in that regard.Thankfully, the aircraft was mercifully devoid of the myriad stencils found onmost F-4 so decaling will not be a week-long process.
Overall, it really does look like it will be a very nice model.All you have to do when using the kit decals is to be sure to use very warm tohot water to soften them so they will stick.
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