Tamiya 1/32 F-4C/D Phantom
|Three aircraft: see review|
The Phabulous Phantom was THE American combat plane of the 60's.Produced in prodigious quantities worldwide, it saw a great deal of action inthe Mid East and Southeast Asia. While the Israeli's had a great deal of successwith it against it's foes, in Vietnam, the US wasn't doing quite as well untilafter the development of specific training to allow it to take advantage of itsbrute power.
The first USAF Phantoms were actually loaner Navy F-4Bs. Thevery similar F-4C first entered the USAF inventory with the 4453 CCTS at McDillAFB in mid 1963. From there it was introduced into other units and ratherquickly replaced other types. It was also sent to Vietnam still wearing its gullgrey and white paint scheme. This proved less than practical over the densejungles of SE Asia and a more appropriate scheme of greens and tan wereeventually used on all subsequent versions.
The F-4D was the next version and had a greater number of USAFspecific equipment installed. This relegated most of the F-4Cs to the bomberrole while the F-4Ds were tasked with air to air interception duties. Inaddition to the Sparrow and Sidewinder, the F-4D was capable of firing theFalcon missile. This missile proved to be a dismal failure and after a brief andfrustrating trial period with the 8th TFW, it was basically eliminated from theinventory.
These early Phantoms went on to lengthy duty with the Guard andReserves after they were in time supplanted by the F-4E in regular USAF service.The final F-4D was flown to the boneyard in 1991 following the F-4C by a fewyears. Interestingly enough, neither the F-4C or F-4D were modified to drones aswere the F-4E/G version. Just about all the F-4Cs and most of the F-4Ds havebeen cut up for scrap. As of 3 January 2000, only 11 F-4Cs were in the AMARCinventory.
This kit was initially released in 1995 and it has taken me thislong to finally be able to afford it. Plunking down major money for a model kitis not something one does everyday and it was with some trepidation that I didso, especially after reading the less than sterling reviews about the kit's fit.Well, I have built the Revell big scale Phantom and really wanted something withmore detail. This kit definitely has that. There are all the bits and pieces todo a pretty accurate version of either the F-4C or F-4D. There are differentchin sensors, tail caps, and interior bits for whichever version you shouldchoose to build. While it is impossible for me to show you a scan of thecomplete kit, I have included a scan of the cockpit bits and pieces, showing thedifferent parts for the F-4C and F-4D.
Also included are drop tanks for the wings, though no centerlinetank is included. Amongst the other goodies are a full missile suite of AIM-7ESparrows and AIM-9E Sidewinders. There is also an ALQ-87 jamming pod. Inaddition, there are TERS for the wing stations as well as bombs for those racks.Also included is a MER for the centerline in place of the drop tank. Not surejust how many aircraft were so equipped in Vietnam when the plane was assignedas a mud mover, so I'll have to do some searching the reference material forthat.
This kit has several bits that are screwed together, includingthe metal landing gear. There are also metal wheels and rubber tires. The metalgear have plastic coverings on them for the detail. I have not had any weightproblems with my Revell RF-4C, but maybe the Tamiya kit is a lot heavier andthey thought the metal gear was needed.
Typical of Tamiya's thoroughness, there is a 20 page instructionbooklet showing the 28 construction steps, a color chart, decal placement andvarious warnings. Downside is that all paint call outs are for Tamiya paints,making it difficult to use other paints unless you are familiar with the colorsof the F-4. A nice touch is the full color painting of the ejection seat on thebox side. This should be a great deal of help when it comes to seat painting.
All the decals are for 8 TFW aircraft in the standard SEA schemeof two greens, a tan and underside light grey, except where noted.
The first aircraft is an F-4D 66-7661 in the standard SEA schemefrom 435th FS, tail code FO. It has a single Mig Kill marking on the splitterplate and is shown built up on the instruction sheet cover.
Next is another F-4D, 66-0279 in SEA scheme but with a blackundersides. This aircraft was attached to the 497th TFS and used for nightinterdiction. It carries the LORAN 'towel rack' antenna on the upper fuselagespine and is coded FP.
Finally is F-4C 64-0829 of the wing commander Robin Olds. Thisis in standard SEA scheme and carries two Mig kills on the splitter plate. It iscoded FG. All are very nice schemes and since the decals are by Scalemaster (andin register), decaling should not be a problem. There are a healthy set ofstencil markings included, though thankfully, not the hundreds that popped up onthe Phantom in the mid 1970!
There are also a few aftermarket sheets for this aircraft,mostly by Cutting Edge and Eagle Strike. Oddly, there are tons of sheets forNavy Phantoms but darn few for the Air Force versions in this scale. Onecan only hope that more appear.
It looks like a great kit and if you can afford it, then I wouldrecommend buying one for your collection.
Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet!! If any of youmanufacturers or shop owners want to send products for review and building,please contact me.