Hasegawa 1/72 RF-4E Phantom II
|KIT #:||04111 (Ka11)|
|PRICE:||1800 yen when new|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||1991 base issue|
The first F-4 model to enter German service was the RF-4E. The Luftwaffe signed a contract with McDonnell Douglas for 88 RF-4Es in 1968; at the time the biggest order outside the USAF. The contract included industrial offsets for German industry, particularly production work for Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm who manufactured and supplied F-4 components to McDonnell Douglas' Phantom production facility in St. Louis.
On 16 January 1971 the first RF-4E, dubbed the "Spirit of St. Louis", flew from the U.S. to Spain and finally onto Germany. The next day, at Bremgarten, the aircraft was accepted by the Inspekteur der Luftwaffe ("Inspector of the Luftwaffe", Gunther Rall.
In 1972, with eight Phantoms per month being delivered, Aufklärungsgeschwader 51 "Immelmann" equipped with the RF-4, followed by AG 52, based at Leck.
The German RF-4E was equipped similarly to the USAF RF-4Cs, using the latest F-4E airframe and more-powerful engines. The RF-4Es were employed as day/night reconnaissance aircraft, equipped with four cameras covering 180 degrees. There were special flares for night use and two night/all-weather reconnaissance systems. One was the IRRS (Infrared Recognition System) and the other was the SLAR (Side-Looking Airborne Radar), mounted in the side of the fuselage. The aircraft had the capability to develop photos in flight and then drop them using special cartridges. Missions were generally flown at low level and high speed, using the installed APQ-99 radar for navigation. Deliveries were completed in May 1972 and the previously employed RF-104Gs were modified to serve in strike or fighter units.
Another user of new RF-4Es was Japan. Fourteen RF-4Es were delivered between November 1974 and June 1975. These were similar to the RF-4C, but, as for the F-EJs, Japanese-built radar warning receivers and other equipment were substituted to replace equipment which was not released for export to Japan. These aircraft were replaced by pod-carrying F-4EJkai aircraft when the RF-4Es were taken out of service.
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Hasegawa embarked on a program of F-4 Phantom II kits. This would be the third time they did new molds of this aircraft, their initial kit being a very crude F-4J that could also be done as an initial production F-4D and only came with generic markings and is best left to collectors. Their second offering was pretty much a gun Phantom that was done in several boxings including an F-4E, F-4F and F-4EJ. This one wasn't all that bad and though not at all up to modern standards, does build into a fairly nice model. I have built several, the last one being a stand model.
So there it is, another fine addition to the Hasegawa Phantom family. From the look of the sprues, you could do a USAF RF-4C using this particular kit. I only mention this as the Hasegawa RF-4C kit is not all that easy to find and the RF-4E kit is not considered as desirable. This means that if you have aftermarket RF-4C markings you want to use and can only find the RF-4E kit, you are probably going to be in luck.
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Thanks to your editor for the preview kit.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page