Hasegawa 1/72 F-4J Phantom II




$2.00 when new


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Scott Van Aken


Hasegawa's first 1/72 F-4 kit


This is yet another aircraft for which thousands of words have been written, and many of them on this website. For many, it is a favorite aircraft and one that 45 years after its first flight, is still flying in the skies of various places in the world.



Hasegawa has molded three F-4 Phantom II kits over the years, each one better than the first. Well, I hope so as the first really is more of a parody of the F-4 than a serious kit. However, when this came out, it was hailed as a superb and accurate kit. Well it isn't. Let's look at the words on the box. 'Easy to Assemble'. Actually, its thick plastic makes each construction step a bit of a challenge. 'Collector's Quality Detail'. Yeah, if you are collecting horrible kits. 'F-4D and F-4J Decal Markings'. OK, I'll give them that. Finally, '63 Precision Parts'. While there are 63 parts, it is the precision that has me scratching my head.

Am I really being fair? Well in a 2003 standpoint, this kit is to be shunned by all but collectors. In Nineteen Sixty whatever when it first came out, it was right up there with the only other 1/72 F-4s around, an E by Revell and a J by Airfix, though I'm thinking the Airfix kit came out after this one. There may also have been the IMC RF-4C 'Battle Damaged' version as well.

So let's take a look at this baby. Raised panel lines? You bet. Lots of rivets? Yup, and they are big ones as you can see from the image. A too tall poorly molded single piece canopy? It has that as well. How about cockpit detail? There's a tub with molded in seats that look like easy chairs and two pilots to stick in there to fill in spaces. No sidewall detail, no console detail, no instrument panels. Well, how about weapons, surely it has those? Plenty of them, I might add. It as Bullpups for the inner racks and some sort of bomb thingies for the outer pylons. There is also a centerline fuel tank which bears a passing resemblance to the real one. Four Sparrows are also included, but they are rather oddly shaped in the rear.

Anything else that may be a bit inaccurate? Now that you mention it, yes. The burner cans are definitely not for an F-4J (too short) and will only barely pass for an F-4D. Landing gear are rather crudely done and may well be shown in the extended position. The tailplanes are not the slotted types used by USN birds. The upper wing is flat as a pancake so would only be usable on an F-4B. All USAF and F-4J/S Phantoms had bulges on the upper wing to handle the wider wheels. The lower gear doors are also not bulged as they should be and the speed brakes are too small. There is no wheel well detail at all. Finally, the wheels are not at all accurate for any Phantom. And, of course, there are lots of ejector pin marks on bombs, missiles, wheels, gear doors, etc.

Instructions are adequate in that they show the parts, and four construction steps, each with a written sequence. A separate painting guide for the parts is provided; one for the USAF and the other for the Navy plane. Colors provided are generic. There are markings for two planes. One is the box art plane which is the prototype F-4J in Light Gull Grey over White. The other is for a generic F-4D (very early version without the IR seeker under the radome) in SEA camouflage. Decals are well printed and typically thick as was the norm for Japanese kit decals. Markings are minimal for both types.



It is a kit like this that shows how far along our hobby has gone in terms of quality and in detail. As has so often been repeated, it is because we as modelers demand from companies a high level of quality that we are getting the superb kits of today. This is another kit that is best left to the collector or those just wanting to build a bit of their past.

Kit courtesy of me and my constant digging through the vendor's tables at swap meets!

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