Hasegawa 1/72 F-4B/J/N Phantom II "VF-84 Jolly Rogers"
|PRICE:||$80.95 SRP ($64.75 at www.greatmodels.com )|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Limited reissue with new decals. Two complete kits|
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 F-4J, on the other hand, was a new build airframe that incorporated improved avionics and an improved engine as well as some of the items upgraded into the USAF F-4D (wider wheels and tires, for instance). This airframe was later modified into the F-4S with improved 'smokeless' engines and leading edge slats that helped to improve turn performance. Some F-4S airframes were converted to QF-4S aircraft before the Navy got out of the Full Scale Drone business.
The king of reissues has done a nice one this time. Two 1/72 scale USN Phantoms in one box. Three different sets of markings for a VF-84 'Jolly Rogers' aircraft. There is one each for an F-4B, F-4J, and F-4N.
When one opens the box, the only thing one sees that is new (aside from two complete kits), is an 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. I know that several of you will say "Aha! There must be a second set of wings and gear doors for the F-4J". And you will be correct. One of the two kits has an additional sprue for the 'fat' wings used by this version.
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 not provided the option to paint the fins or rudder on the markings of your choice as in previous boxings of VF-84 planes so you will have to break out the black paint. 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. B and early J models will have the light gull grey in semi matte, while on the N it will be gloss. As a very general rule of thumb, if the J was built after 1971 or has the intake antennas, it will be probably gloss. Those who keep track of these things will realize that the markings on the kit's sheet have been used before in other boxings.
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 schemes provided, there are a slew of aftermarket sheets out there that will easily fill the bill, including some great VF-84 sheets released in the last year or so. You'll 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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