Hasegawa 1/48 F-4C/D 'Egypt I'

KIT #: 07211
PRICE: 3200 yen
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Limited Reissue (1996)


In USAF service the F-4 was initially designated the F-110 Spectre prior to the introduction of the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system. The USAF quickly embraced the design and became the largest Phantom user. The first air force Phantoms in Vietnam were F-4Cs from the 555th "Triple Nickel" Tactical Fighter Squadron, which arrived in December 1964.

Unlike the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, which flew the Phantom with a Naval Aviator (pilot) in the front seat and a Naval Flight Officer as a radar intercept officer (RIO) in the back seat, the USAF initially flew its Phantoms with a rated Air Force Pilot in the back seat. While the rear pilot (GIB, or "guy in back") could fly and ostensibly land the aircraft, he had fewer flight instruments and a very restricted forward view. The Air Force later assigned a rated Air Force Navigator qualified as a weapon/targeting systems officer (later designated as weapon systems officer or WSO) in the rear seat instead of another pilot.[ However, all USAF Phantoms retained dual flight controls throughout their service life.

On 10 July 1965, F-4Cs of the 45th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 15th TFW, on temporary assignment in Ubon, Thailand, scored the USAF's first victories against North Vietnamese MiG-17s using AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. On 26 April 1966, an F-4C from the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron scored the first aerial victory by a U.S. aircrew over a North Vietnamese MiG-21 "Fishbed". On 24 July 1965, another Phantom from the 45th Tactical Fighter Squadron became the first American aircraft to be downed by an enemy SAM, and on 5 October 1966 an 8th Tactical Fighter Wing F-4C became the first U.S. jet lost to an air-to-air missile, fired by a MiG-21.

Early aircraft suffered from leaks in wing fuel tanks that required re-sealing after each flight and 85 aircraft were found to have cracks in outer wing ribs and stringers. There were also problems with aileron control cylinders, electrical connectors, and engine compartment fires.

Although the F-4C was essentially identical to the Navy/Marine Corps F-4B in flight performance and carried the AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, USAF-tailored F-4Ds initially arrived in June 1967 equipped with AIM-4 Falcons. However, the Falcon, like its predecessors, was designed to shoot down heavy bombers flying straight and level. Its reliability proved no better than others and its complex firing sequence and limited seeker-head cooling time made it virtually useless in combat against agile fighters. The F-4Ds reverted to using Sidewinders under the "Rivet Haste" program in early 1968, and by 1972 the AIM-7E-2 "Dogfight Sparrow" had become the preferred missile for USAF pilots. Like other Vietnam War Phantoms, the F-4Ds were urgently fitted with radar homing and warning (RHAW) antennae to detect the Soviet-built SA-2 Guideline SAMs.

From the initial deployment of the F-4C to Southeast Asia, USAF Phantoms performed both air superiority and ground attack roles, supporting not only ground troops in South Vietnam but also conducting bombing sorties in Laos and North Vietnam. As the F-105 force underwent severe attrition between 1965 and 1968, the bombing role of the F-4 proportionately increased until after November 1970 (when the last F-105D was withdrawn from combat) it became the primary USAF tactical ordnance delivery system. In October 1972 the first squadron of EF-4C Wild Weasel aircraft deployed to Thailand on temporary duty. The "E" prefix was later dropped and the aircraft was simply known as the F-4C Wild Weasel.

Sixteen squadrons of Phantoms were permanently deployed between 1965 and 1973, and 17 others deployed on temporary combat assignments. Peak numbers of combat F-4s occurred in 1972, when 353 were based in Thailand. A total of 445 Air Force Phantom fighter-bombers were lost, 370 in combat and 193 of those over North Vietnam (33 to MiGs, 30 to SAMs, and 307 to AAA).


 What you have here is your standard 1988 F-4C/D boxing with the addition of a one-piece canopy and the later F-15 style centerline tank. This includes 1988 decals and 1988 instructions with an addendum sheet for the canopy.

Typical of their early Phantom kits, this one has raised panel line detailing. This is not an issue for most modelers, though those who just cannot handle it will go for the newer Academy F-4C if doing that version. The fuselage halves are a single piece, something that is rather rare in multiple version jet kits now days. Cockpit is pretty basic by modern convention with some rather basic bang seats separate rudder pedals and control sticks. Instrument panels have raised detail. There are two pilot figures to cover up the rather basic seats. Those who do not use crew will want to get some etched harnesses or perhaps resin replacement seats.

For those doing the F-4C, the additional bumps and box on the IR sensor will need to be sanded away. Intakes are three pieces per side and are often the part of the kit that modelers need to fit carefully to prevent filler and sanding later. The wing is in three pieces with a lower center section and each upper half including the outboard wing bits. The raised bumps on the upper wing will need to be removed for the USAF version. Tailplanes are the later reinforced versions with no leading edge slots, so check your photo references to see if the plane you are modeling had these features. I dare say these are correct for all the markings options provided, but may not be for a Vietnam era plane.

Landing gear are nicely molded and are quite sturdy. I've always had some problem fitting the insert into the nose gear well, but that is probably just me. The kit offers separate speed brakes and these can be posed open, which happened a lot on the ground.

There are two new features to this kit. One is a single piece canopy. This was added as some modelers like to mold the canopies closed and this was difficult to get right. Now one has the opportunity to do this without all the fuss. The other is the later F-15 style centerline tank that came to be the standard for most ANG and Reserve planes. Again, check your references to be sure this was used on the plane you are modeling. . Other bits for the kit are outer wing tanks, missile rails and, unusually for Hasegawa kits like this, there are Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles.

Instructions are well done and provide Gunze paint references. The markings options are the same as the 1988 kit with the box art plane from the 160 TFS, Alabama ANG in the then new Hill Grey II scheme. Next is 199 FIS, Hawaii ANG plane in the rarely seen Hill Grey I scheme. In the Euro I scheme is a double MiG killer from the 89 TFS, USAF Reserves from Dayton, Ohio. Finally, four options from the 171 FIS, Michigan ANG in overall ADC Grey. This unit had nose art or names on all of its F-4Cs and is quite popular with modelers. The large decal sheet is well done and includes not only stencils but the large intake and fuselage walk areas. I have my doubts about the viability of these old decals, but one never knows until one tries them.


With the release of the much newer Academy kit, I'd be willing to bet that it would be the kit of choice, even at the price asked for it. However, if you have the older Hasegawa kit (and I have many of them), there is really no reason not to build it, especially if you can find one from a vendor on the cheap.



August 2014

My thanks to me for this one.

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