Fine Molds 1/72 F-4D Phantom II 'IRIAF'

KIT #: 72847
PRICE: 4290 yen SRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2022 release


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. This aircraft was replaced with the F-4D which, among other things, had even newer avionics along with upgraded engines. One of the big 'improvements' was the ability to use Falcon missiles. These weapons proved to be unsuitable for air to air combat, being designed to shoot down slower bombers. Like other variants, once replaced in USAF units, the F-4D 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-4D and it is quite welcome. Now this isn't the only F-4D 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.

It should come as no surprised that this kit has pretty much the same sprues as their previously previewed F-4C. 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. Three markings options are given, all in the desert camouflage scheme shown on the box art. One is in old IRIAF markings while the other two are IRIAF. The superbly printed decal sheet includes the expected mass of stencils and also has decals for the instrument and console panels.  Note that most of the stencil decals are grouped together with clear between them so it isn't as if you are applying hundreds of tiny stencils.  


I am quite impressed with the detail and engineering of these kits. Not pleased that I have to locate weapons from another source, especially as these kits are not inexpensive even before one adds in shipping. However, I can easily see these being the new standard for 1/72 F-4s.


July 2023 

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