Hasegawa 1/72 F-4B/N Phantom II "CVW-19 Combo"
|PRICE:||$85.00 SRP ($67.95 at www.greatmodels.com )|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Limited reissue with new decals|
The first full series production version of the Phantom II was the F-4B. Yes, there were F-4As, but those were pre-production types, or mostly used by the two training squadrons; VF-101 and VF-121 as well as by various test units.
The F-4B was the first fleet squadron capable aircraft and was what went to war in Vietnam with USN units. Later in life, most of those were upgraded to F-4N standards that included upgraded avionics and in some cases, better engines. The easiest way to tell an F-4B from an F-4N is that the N model has long ESM antennas along the upper intake. Some F-4B and F-4N aircraft were modified for drone duty as QF-4B and QF-4Ns. The rest were either lost in operations used for display planes (some of them wearing USAF colors and serials), or scrapped. There may still be a few in the boneyard.
The king of reissues has done a nice one this time. Two 1/72 scale early USN Phantoms in one box. Both of them are from CVW-19 which was aboard the USS Roosevelt at the time. One is in the markings for VF-41 and the other as VF-84. The Jolly Rogers tail markings are almost a guarantee that this set will sell out.
When one opens the box, the only thing one sees that is new (aside from two complete kits), is an addendum instruction sheet and a large decal sheet. The kit is your standard Navy F-4 kit that has been around for 20 years. It has held up quite well as I found little in the way of flash, quite a feat as parts of this kit must have been cranked out hundreds of thousands of times over the years. The assembly instructions you get are for kit KX 3 which was one that had VF-111 and several other units for decals. You can pretty well follow these without fail except for the upper fuselage antennas. This boxing uses but the single upper UHF antenna. Another minor glitch is that the VF-41 aircraft is listed as an F-4B when it is really an F-4N if you believe the box art. Assuming that both of these squadrons deployed aboard the USS FDR at the same time, they would both have been the same variant of aircraft to ease maintenance. I recall a friend who flew with VF-21 being happy about getting new F-4Js, but when it came time to deploy, then got F-4Ns as a replacement as the other unit on the Ranger was flying the N models. As a point of interest, these two units were assigned to CVW-6 at the time, and not CVW-19 so Hasegawa goofed on that one.
Anyway, instructions are typical Hasegawa and provide your standard, and now getting difficult to find in the US, Gunze paint references. The sheet has decals for the instrument panel and side consoles as well as for the anti-glare area in front of the windscreen and the upper intake wing walk areas. Hasegawa has also provided the option to paint the fins or rudder on the markings of your choice if you don't want to use the ones that are with the decal. It is nice to have options like this. The sheet is very nicely printed and of the new style so should be a delight to use. Both planes are, of course, in the light gull grey over white scheme. I would go with gloss for the upper surface color as by the time the F-4N was fully with the fleet, the switch from matte had been made. All N models were retrofitted with the slotted stabilators as provided on the later production B models.
So there you have it, another fine boxing by Hasegawa and one that provides a pair of the world's greatest jet fighter. If you don't like the scheme, there are enough extra bits to do just about any F-4B/N for which you can find a reference photo. You'll also have to break out the wallet for Sidewinders and Sparrows as Hasegawa does not provide those. But you knew that already.
You can get this kit and many other fine kits and accessories at www.greatmodels.com. Check them out for sale items as well.
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