Hasegawa 1/72 F-4J/S 'Ferris Scheme'

KIT #: 00911
PRICE: $22.99 from Lucky Models
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Fernando Rolandelli
NOTES: Big amount of extra parts, interesting decal options, flimsy assembly, no weapons.


Mc Donnell Douglas F-4S Phantom II, VF-301, NAS Miramar, 1983

The S denomination was applied to a number (265 or 248 according to different sources) of F-4Js upgraded in the mid-‘70s, so that they could extend their life until the F/A-18 could take over. Just like the Ns, airframes were stripped and reinforced, and wiring and plumbing changed. Maneuvering slats were added, as well as smokeless -10B engines. Weapons control suite was the digital AWG-10. Formation lights were also added. These machines served in the smaller carriers like the USS Midway and Roosevelt until 1986, and then ashore in the Navy Reserve squadrons until 1987.

On its part, Fighter Squadron 301 (VF-301) was an aviation unit of the United States Naval Reserve in service from 1970 to 1994. The squadron's nickname was Devil's Disciples. It was activated on 1 October 1970 and assigned to Reserve Carrier Air Wing 30 (CVWR-30) (tail code "ND") at Naval Air Station Miramar, California (USA). In 1980, it received the F-4S, and in October 1984 the unit transitioned to the Grumman F-14A Tomcat

“Ferris” schemes are probably inspired in the early ‘40s Barclay’s experimental designs based in geometric patterns in contrasting colors, thought to offer advantages as “offensive” camouflage by distorting the aircraft’s shape and masking its flying attitude. Best known is the P-51 painted in Black and White triangles, but a Brewster F2A and I think to remember a TBD were also painted in a similar scheme. The scheme was not adopted because of their labour-intensive nature, both to apply and to maintain, and because they were deemed to make no improvement on the usual OD/NG camouflage.

In modern times, the first objection seems to be easily circumvallated, for the number of machines is sensibly less and the peacetime activity schedule can accommodate the frequent cleaning of them, to the crew’s chief delight. The second, however, seems to stand, and simpler schemes like the TPS seem to be equally effective. The first scheme offered (a heavily geometrical “splinter” pattern seen previously on an old Fujimi boxing) does not seem to have been applied to any other machine, let alone used operationally, but the second one was used by both VF-301 and 302. There were variations, like a “reversed” fashion (i.e., lightest color forward), as well as a “handed” fashion (i.e., lightest color to the left). The one in the kit is the final, standardized variant


This is a relatively new boxing of the well known 1/72nd Hasegawa Phantom, 00911 F-4J/S “Ferris Camouflage”. It is a most useful boxing, including both slatted and unslatted outer wings in addition to the usual array of extra parts. Decals allow two very interesting schemes to be modeled: a VF-94 machine in an experimental “Ferris” scheme in late 70s, and the very peculiar VF-301 “Heater” variation, and used by this and her sister unit, VF-302. As usual, no armament is provided, so it has to be sourced from somewhere else, in this case Hasegawa Weapons Set no. VII. The customary Eduard Zoom PE set (SS209, for the F-4J) and Airwaves Canopy set (AW2023) were also added. For a look at the kit and what comes in the box, please visit this preview.


The cockpit built up uneventfully, receiving the PE instrument panels and HUD, and scratchbuilt sidewall and floor detail, as well as a representation of the myriad of cables that go between crew stations. The distinctive head-up panel for the WSO was scratch built and added to the cockpit frame. The whole cockpit was painted FS 36231, using WEMM’s paint. I rather like the look of the kit’s seats, provided they are detailed with the PE parts from Eduard, and so I did. The windscreen was tinted with thinned Tamiya Clear Blue hand brushed from the inside. (As a note, the center of the windscreen isn't actually blue, but the thickness of it is such that under most light conditions, it appears that color. Ed)

Airframe construction, as usual with Hase’s Phantoms, proved cumbersome because of the numerous part breaks. I tried hard to be more careful than usual in the assembly, and succeeded only partially in reducing the amount of “correcting” I usually need. Having been made aware of the need to erase the reinforcement triangles in the elevators by some post in this very site (confirmed by examination of pictures), I sanded them flush and rescribed the panel lines. They were fixed in the customary angle they adopt when in “neutral” position. I had intended to use the excellent Aires exhaust cans, but they are (correctly) very deep and hit against the inner reinforcement plate in the rear fuselage (which was already assembled), so they were set aside for some future project and the kit’s cans were used, after receiving the customary “internal petals” detail made of Tamiya tape.

Both undercarriage legs and bays received the usual detail in the form of wires and pieces of plastic representing the numerous boxes present there.

Modern aircraft weapons is an area to be careful; these Reserve machines are seldom seen carrying “live” rounds, and I have seen a picture of this very machine (though on static display) carrying a most intriguing load of two Sidewinder training rounds on the right inner pylon and a Sparrow, presumably also a training round, on the left, but I could not discern what kind of adaptor rack was being used. Therefore, I settled for a “light” version of the usual CAP armament of two Sparrows on the aft bays and four (in this case, two -9L) Sidewinder on the inner pylons, plus a centerline fuel tank.



 I wanted an operational machine, so I selected the “Heater-Ferris” F-4S. The color calls in the instructions sheet are incorrect. I painted my model in FS 36375, 36307 (WEMMs), 35237 and 35164 (Xtracolor) as recommended in my sources. In the flat planview drawing, the separation lines are shown as perfectly parallel, but in the rounded fuselage of a Phantom, things can be different, as some pictures attest. The camouflage is of a “wraparound” style, but the undersurface does not follow but mirrors the upper, leading to some weird demarcation lines (and a tendency to apply your finger on wet paint!) Some machines sported a “fake canopy” on the undersurfaces, but not “111”, in the picture I have seen, but surely it changed over time (the decal is provided for the VF-194 plane). Metal parts are painted in Alclad Aluminium and MM Magnesium and Gun metal.

The ventral tank I painted wholly in 36375, as if taken from a TPS-painted aircraft, instead of following the camouflage; this provides some contrast and on the other side I have not seen a picture of such a camouflaged thing. Sidewinder rails were painted the usual White, and the missiles themselves in 36375.


 Kit’s decals were used, they are quite un-Hase-like, being very thin and fragile, not liking to be moved a lot. They settled down very well on the glossy surface, even the dreadful looking tail design, with no solutions being used, just some of the “hot flannel” technique. Stenciling is mercifully little. Wingtip formation lights are inexplicably wrong in shape: its “angled” layout should supposedly help in the alignment on upper and under wing surfaces, but it actually mess it; a plain rectangular shape, such as found in the Pro-Modeller special sheet (which I did not use because the tail light is integral to the tail design) or even the Hase F-4EJ Kai’s one, would be much better. I resorted to cutting and realigning, hardly a difficult operation.


As always, the finished product looks very good, but Hase’s Phantoms are a bit tiresome to build because of the parts layout, requiring very careful assembling for which I am ill-prepared, with extensive dry fitting, careful gluing, and lots of priming and correcting sessions. However, previous research in sources and final admiration of the finished model being the phases of modeling I like most, they always bring satisfaction, and for sure I shall build more of them. Additionally, I like subdued low-viz schemes, and this is really handsome.


 - “Modelling the F-4 Phantom II”, Geoff Coughlin and Neil Ashby, Osprey Modelling, Osprey Publishing.

- Several websites (“Google is your friend”) including J. Baugher’s (wonderful historical and technical stuff)

- “The F-4 Part 2: US Navy and Marine Corps Variants”, SAMI Publications

Fernando Rolandelli

October 2010

Below are two photos of the actual plane. The crummy on on a typical San Diego summer morning was taken by your editor. Both are from 1983. I hope Fernando doesn't mind my adding these as I always think it is neat to have an actual photo or two of a subject being modeled. You can also see the difference in colors between clear and overcast skies. Ed

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