|KIT #:||PF 15|
|PRICE:||1500 yen MSRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Two kits in one box|
When it came time for the Japanese to find a replacement for its F-104 fleet, they turned to the F-4 Phantom II to meet that need. By that time, the F-4E was the latest variant and so this is what they chose. Typically, the first four planes were US built and the rest of the 140 were built in Japan under license by Mitsubishi. The only other exception was the RF-4EJs that were all US built.
Over the years, the Japanese have modified their Phantoms with the F-4EJkai being the more recent modification. Though most Phantom squadrons have converted to the F-15, and the RF-4Es have pretty well been retired, the F-4EJkai continues to soldier on, mainly in the strike role with a reconnaissance capability thanks to a belly mounted camera system.
Platz has built up a considerable reputation for producing some excellent WWII aircraft in 1/144 that include the Mustang, Thunderbolt and FW-109D. To my knowledge, this is their first foray into modern aircraft and they picked a good choice.
There have been other 1/144 Phantoms produced over the years, all of them pretty horrible in one way or another. They sorta look like F-4s but have all been plagued with shape issues and poor fit.
This new set of kits looks like it puts all that in the past. I say set as it is now pretty standard stuff to provide two models in a 1/144 kit box. This particular kit is perhaps a bit more simplified than some will like, but it is all done to make for a robust model that won't collapse on the shelf. I'm also thinking that maybe these are aimed at younger modelers, but we are all young when it comes to model kits!
On a sprue that is reminiscent of old Revell and Monogram kits in its 'rambling' are the one piece wings, the intakes, tailplanes, pylons, one piece tanks and other bits. The main gear/wheels is integrated with the lower gear doors and the same is true of the nose gear. The exhaust are one piece and the two fuselage halves have robust alignment pins. There is a cockpit into which two clear plastic crew members are placed. No bang seats of any sort. This is covered by a one-piece canopy. An interesting thing is that the nose cone is also molded in clear plastic. Detailing is on par with other 1/144 kits in that the engraved detailing is nicely done, and once painted, will look even better.
Couple of things. One is that the kit comes with slatted stabilators and unslatted wings. This is correct for the EJ kai variant. It also has the additional fin antennas that help to identify this version. Those wishing to back date this to earlier versions will have to make the appropriate changes based on the information one has.
One thing I was pleased to see was that the kit comes with a stand. Platz also provides 'gear up' door configurations for those wishing to build this option.
Instructions are well drawn and despite being in Japanese, will not be a problem to follow. The kit does not provide weapons (shades of Hasegawa, those are available in a separate set) though it does provide wing pylons. Markings are for two planes. One is the striking blue and yellow aircraft shown on the box art. This is one of many painted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 3rd Wing in 2007. The other is for a standard Compass Ghost Greys painted aircraft with a large dragon marking on the nose. Both are from the 8th Squadron, a unit that used to fly the Mitsubishi F-1 in the anti-shipping role until those aircraft were retired. The decals are superbly printed and look to be opaque enough to cover the dark blue on the special plane. The instructions provide Gunze, Tamiya and Model Master paint references. The painting guide is repeated on the back of the box in full color.
I know that this sort of thing does not appeal to all. However, I also think that if you just give one of these a go, you'll be hooked. There is a growing community of modelers who build little else than 1/144 and for the rest of us, these are just a great change of pace.
My thanks to www.platz-hobby.com for the review kit. Get yours at your favorite shop or have them start carrying them. They are well worth it.Than If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Back to the Main Page Back to the Previews Index Page
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