Italeri 1/72 F-4G Phantom II
Kit Number: 687
Decals: Two versions, one E from 57 FIS, one G from 563 TFS
Reviewer: Scott Van Aken
Date of Review: 20 August 1997
The F-4G is the last Phantom to be used by the USAF and ANG. Designed specifically for the Wild Weasel or SAM suppression job, the F-4G is the last aircraft to be purposely built for that mission. Newer SAM suppression equipment is in podded form for attachment to F-16s. During Desert Shield/Storm in 1991, the F-4G did a superlative job protecting strike forces and detecting SCUD missiles. The aircraft depicted above is from a weasel outfit from Spangdalhem that participated in Desert Shield/Storm. All F-4Gs were modified from 69-xxx serialed F-4E aircraft.
The Italeri version of the F-4, like a very similar ESCI version is one of the more simple kits of the Phantom. The interior is quite basic and provides seats, sticks, instrument panels and that is about it. The instruments and side panels are provided with decals. There is no effort to differentiate between types, even the Navy aircraft have the same Air Force-like interiors. This kit does provide slatted wings used on later F-4s as well as the correct afterburners. The G modifications are there on the fin tip and under the nose, but there are no nose antennas shown. Those had to be simulated with black decal. Underwing stores provided were the Shrike missiles, however Desert Storm Weasels carried HARM. These and their pylons were obtained from another source (Hasegawa underwing stores sets).
The kit itself is in white plastic with finely engraved panel lines. Like other F-4s, the biggest building problems are the intakes and forward wing/fuselage join. In fairness to Italeri, the intakes are not as bad as on other kits. Wheel wells are not as detailed as I would like, but are on a par with other kits. Also like other kits, the canopy comes in four separate parts so that you can display them open, however there are no canopy actuating rods or hinges. In this case, a one-piece canopy option would have been preferred. The general fit of parts is quite good and like with the Fujimi and ESCI kits, I have built many Italeri Phantoms of various marks. Actually, I figured out one time, that in all scales, I have built more than 75 Phantom kits!!
The paint scheme for this kit is late Hill Grey II as used in Desert Storm. This consists of two greys in a wrap around scheme. Actually it is one of the easiest schemes to paint on an F-4. As with other Phantoms, a number of different metallic finishes are required around the exhaust area. I used Gunze acrylics for the greys. For decals, I used an Xtradecal sheet for Spangdahlem aircraft, both F-4Gs and F-16Cs since the two worked in hunter-killer groups. The sheet is quite comprehensive and allows several complete aircraft to be built from the same sheet. Their consistency is quite similar to Modeldecal. Once applied and dry, the airframe was coated with a semi-gloss clear.
This is a fine kit of the F-4. While not up to the standards of today's kits, is still quite buildable.
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