Hasegawa 1/72 F-4EJkai 'Black Panther'
|PRICE:||$10 from a show vendor (thanks Marion)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||2001 Limited Reissue|
To most knowledgeable and intelligent people, one of the finest jets of the Cold War is the F-4 Phantom II. Those lacking proper perception willundoubtedly differ in this matter, however, it isn't too late to come to yoursenses! :o)
Other than perhaps the Mig-17 or Mig-21, no other post-Koreanwar jet has been built in greater numbers. Certainly no other non-Sovietdesigned aircraft. There must have been a reason for it. It certainly isn'tsimplicity or ease of maintenance. The Phantom was one of the last Westernfighters where the airframe was designed first and then room was found for otherequipment. Nowadays, ease of maintenance is as important as any other factor. Itcertainly wasn't designed to be stealthy. Nothing like two smoke trailsfollowing several tons of hurtling metal to make yourself visible! It alsowasn't designed to be quiet. If you have ever been around the beast withoutproper hearing protection, your ears will definitely be ringing.
What made it such a success is that it was able to perform avariety of missions and perform them all well. Probably your first decentmulti-mission aircraft. It was an interceptor, a (unwilling) dogfighter, asuperb ground attack aircraft, a night fighter, a level bomber, a SAMsuppression aircraft, and a blast to fly. Before that, aircraft were generallyspecialized. After the Phantom, there were still purposefully built aircraft,but it lead the way to today's multi-mission aircraft.
Though mostly gone from the inventories of the world's air forces, The F-4 is still being flown by the Greeks, Turks and the Japanese amongst the few. The Japanese planes, aside from the first two EJs and the RF-4EJs, were all built under license by Mitsubishi. Though the numbers have dwindled down over the years, the F-4EJ kai is still being flown as are some that have been converted with recce pods.
This kit provides all the various bits for a proper EJkai and you can also do a regular EJ as the more plain wing tips are provided. As this has an unslatted wing, you can do an earlier USAF F-4E that was retrofitted with the slatted horizontal stabilizer. You also have two different centerline tanks; both early and the later F-15 type. I mention this as many modelers will want to do a US F-4E, but cannot find a kit. The EJ and EJkai kit is frequently discounted in the US and makes an excellent basis for an American or Israeli or Iranian or Turkish, etc, Phantom. However all these options comes with a price and that is that the kit is quite fiddly with many small parts. What it means to you as a builder is that you have to take your time and carefully fit all of these pieces in place. Just to give a brief rundown, you get finely engraved panel lines, a full cockpit though the instruments are decals (typical of many 1/72 kits and almost all of the Hasegawa ones), and no weapons. For weapons you'll need to spend the bucks on the required Hasegawa weapons set or scrounge them from your spares box.
However all these options comes with a price and that is that the kit is quite fiddly with many small parts. What it means to you as a builder is that you have to take your time and carefully fit all of these pieces in place. Just to give a brief rundown, you get finely engraved panel lines, a full cockpit though the instruments are decals (typical of many 1/72 kits and almost all of the Hasegawa ones), and no weapons. For weapons you'll need to spend the bucks on the required Hasegawa weapons set or scrounge them from your spares box.
Instructions are the usual superb Hasegawa ones giving Gunze paint references as well as FS numbers where they are required. All of the various bits needed to do a proper EJ kai variant are clearly shown. You get standard instructions with a smaller addendum sheet in with the decals for markings placement and paint. The decal sheet is large and has the usual plethora of data markings that one finds on modern jets. For the Special Black Panther markings, one will have to paint just the fuselage in a semi-matte black as the wings, tailplanes and underside are standard compass ghost greys. The right side fuselage markings are mirror image to the left so you are not seeing a reversed image. Markings are well done and I recommend hot water when using these.
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