Fujimi 1/72 F-4K 'Yellowbird'
KIT #: 27019
PRICE: 1200 yen SRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1989 boxing


Unless you are really new to military airplanes, you know that the Phabulous Phantom is the greatest jet aircraft ever to take to the skies. It is true. Not only was it the mainstay of the US Navy, US Marine Corps, and the US Air Force for well over a decade, but it also served in a number of other nations around the world.

This kit is the British F-4K so it would be appropriate to have a bit of background on that version. The United Kingdom bought versions based on the U.S. Navy's F-4J for use with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. The main differences were the use of the British Rolls-Royce Spey engines and of British-made avionics. The RN and RAF versions were given the designation F-4K and F-4M respectively, and entered service with the British military aircraft designations Phantom FG.1 (fighter/ground attack) and Phantom FGR.2 (fighter/ground attack/reconnaissance). Initially, the FGR.2 was used in the ground attack and reconnaissance role, primarily with RAF Germany, while 43 Squadron was formed in the air defence role using the FG.1s that had been intended for the Fleet Air Arm for use aboard HMS Eagle. The superiority of the Phantom over the English Electric Lightning in terms of both range and weapon load, combined with the successful introduction of the SEPECAT Jaguar, meant that, during the mid-1970s, most of the ground attack Phantoms in Germany were redeployed to the UK to replace air defence Lightning squadrons. A second RAF squadron, 111 Squadron, was formed on the FG.1 in 1979 after the disbandment of 892 NAS.


When Fujimi came out with their British Phantoms in the late 1980, they were much welcomed by fans. At last, we had a modern Spey-powered 1/72 F-4. Unlike their slightly earlier US Phantom series, this one had a nice cockpit that actually fit well. It still used decals for instruments, but in this scale it is not that big a deal for most.

So here we are over 25 years later, and it is still the best British Phantom kit around. Hasegawa never did a series, probably because they'd have to mold so many new parts and because Fujimi already had one, though they did produce the type in 1/48. No one else has stepped up to the plate. I have built several of these and they are kitted in four different varieties. They do the F-4K, F-4M, FG.1 and FGR.2. The early ones do not have the antenna on the fin but are otherwise the same plastic.

Like most Phantoms, there is a single piece tub into which one places a fair seat, control sticks and instrument panels. These do, however, have additional rear seat side panels. Intakes are also typical of most kits with the splitter and inner intake in one piece with the outer intake put on the top. This then gets attached to the fuselage with no additional trunking. There are intake probes included.

Wings are a one piece lower wing out to the fold with the upper halves including the outer wings. Ailerons are separate. There is little wheel well detail. I should mention that the nose gear well is molded into the lower forward fuselage, which fits to the front of the wing. This kit offers both a single piece and multiple section canopy.

Stabs are a single piece. Gear is nicely done and Fujimi molds the main wheels and tires separately. Gear doors have to be cut as they are molded in one piece. The kit also comes with the proper burner cans for the Spey variant. For things under the fuselage we have the usual four Sparrows, four Sidewinders with pylons and outer wing tanks. The centerline can have either a fuel tank or a gun pod.

Instructions are well done with the usual Gunze paint references. All four markings options are in extra dark sea grey over white.  The extra dark sea grey quickly faded so many will use just dark sea grey for this. The four units are the box art squadron, 767 squadron, which did not last very long. The other fleet unit was 892 which flew the plane until the Ark Royal was decomissioned. The other two options are 700a Squadron which was a short lived development unit and the Phantom Training Flight. Decals are nicely printed, but will be a bit thick and may not be viable if they are too old. There are aftermarket replacements if one wants. 


Bottom line is that this is still the best British F-4 in this scale and well worth the effort of picking up if you find one at a reasonable price.



February 2017

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Thanks to me for picking this one up when it was on sale.

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