Fine Molds 1/72 F-4C Phantom II 'Wolf Pack 1967'
|PRICE:||4290 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is an American tandem two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber originally developed by McDonnell Aircraft for the United States Navy. Proving highly adaptable, it entered service with the Navy in 1961 before it was adopted by the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force, and by the mid-1960s it had become a major part of their air arms. Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981 with a total of 5,195 aircraft built, making it the most produced American supersonic military aircraft in history, and cementing its position as a signature combat aircraft of the Cold War.
The success of the Navy's F-4B and the delays in getting the F-111A into service led the USAF to order the F-4C (originally the F-110A) into production. The aircraft differed little from the Navy's version aside from large lower pressure tires, and some USAF avionics. In fact, USAF training units borrowed 36 F-4Bs in order to qualify air crew and maintenance technicians. The type did fairly well in Vietnam and went on to be the basis for future upgraded variants. Once replaced in USAF units, the F-4C soldiered on with ANG units until near the end of the F-4s service life.
Fine Molds has turned their expertise to the F-4 Phantom II. Initial releases were of the Japanese F-4EJ but they have now put out other versions. This is the F-4C and it is quite welcome. Now this isn't the only F-4C by far as the type has been previously kitted by Monogram, Fujimi, and Hasegawa just to name the three biggies. Those kits are still available and still make nice models. However, this one has raised the bar in terms of engineering if nothing else.
Here are some of the interesting features. In the cockpit, the side consoles are separate inserts to take into account the various differences between variants. There is full intake trunking back to the first compressor stages. Not surprising is that the forward fuselage is separate. The main fuselage is a single piece with an upper deck insert so no worries about seams. There is also a detail piece for the engine aux intake doors.
Wings are a lower section that includes most of the lower fuselage with upper halves and separate wing tips. There is no folding wing option with this kit. The wing underside has inserts for where the cat attachment points would be on the naval versions. Two different radomes are provided, one with and one without the IR seeker.
The metal portion of the rear fuselage is a separate item with an insert for the very aft portion. Again, to eliminate some of the usual seams one sees in other kits. You are provided a clean fin and can attach the RHAWS antennas if needed. Horizontal stabs are interlocking to help with alignment.
Inner main gear doors include a portion of the gear well so attaching these will be a breeze. You are provided missile pylons and three drop tanks. However, there are no weapons, those being offered in a separate weapons pack. Finally, you can do canopy open or closed with a separate closed canopy piece.
Instructions are in booklet form and are excellent, providing Gunze and FS 595 color references. Four options are provided, all being in the SEA scheme of FS 34079, 34102, 30219 over 36622. Two aircraft have no IR seeker and no RHAWS antennas. Aircraft are from the 433 TFS, 497 TFS, 555 TFS, and 557 TFS. The superbly printed decal sheet includes the expected mass of stencils and also has decals for the instrument and console panels.
Is this the best 1/72 F-4C ever done? Well, it certainly looks like it is. The engineering is different in many respects to what has come before. I wouldn't toss your other F-4C kits, but it may well be worth adding this one to your collection.
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