Hasegawa 1/72 F-4F Phantom II "West German Air Force Splitter Camouflage"
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||2023 Limited Edition|
The F-4E was the USAF version that incorporated some of the lessons learned during combat in Vietnam. This included an integral M61 Vulcan cannon in the elongated RF-4C nose, AN/APQ-120 radar with smaller cross-section to accommodate the cannon, J79-GE-17 engines with 17,900 lbf (79.379 kN) of afterburner thrust each. Late-series aircraft equipped with leading-edge slats to improve maneuverability at the expense of top speed under the Agile Eagle program. Starting with Block 53, aircraft added AGM-65 Maverick capability and smokeless J79-GE-17C or -17E engines. First flight 1 August 1965. The most numerous Phantom variant; 1,370 built.
The F-4F was a version built for
the German Air Force with some reduced avionics capability and no Sparrow
capability, though the missile troughs were still on the airframe. This is a
good thing as later on the aircraft was updated with AMRAAM capability. 175
For years, the Hasegawa F-4 series was the best in this scale and it is still quite nice. It is highly modular in order to handle the different variants. That includes things like separate noses, fin inserts, under wing inserts, and in some versions, different wings to deal with the maneuvering slats. There are others as well, and the instructions will guide you as to which bits are appropriate.
As mentioned, the nose section is separate. All the kits have basically the same cockpit, though Naval versions have a slightly different rear. There are decals for the instruments and side consoles and each of the bang seats is adequate, but has no belt detail. The cockpit is probably the best place for aftermarket resin or photo etch to be used. With the 'pit done, the nose halves can be joined and the nose well, radome and some other items added. No nose weight is required for any Phantom kit as they are not tail heavy.
The nose is then joined to the fuselage and the fin tip attached. Holes in the lower wing half will need to be opened for pylons and then the upper wings attached and this glued to the fuselage. Hasegawa then wants you to attach the burner cans and transparencies, but you may wish to wait until after painting. Of course if you are doing the canopy closed, then do those at this time. Next are the landing gear and the slat actuator fairings. Last items are the pylons, various small intakes, tail cone, and the small wing inserts. Some of these can be added earlier so it is your choice. This includes the fuel tanks, but again, you'll want to add those after painting. As usual, no weapons have been provided so you'll need to obtain a weapons set or get them from another source.
Instructions are nicely drawn and provide Gunze paint references. One marking option is provided, and that is the box art plane with red on the horizontal stabilizers. There are no unit markings on this one, which is a bit odd, however, there are several aftermarket sheets so you can use one of those to provide badges if you wish them. The decal sheet is very nicely done and includes fuselage/intake/wing walk areas.
Though still very nice kits, they have slowly been relegated off the top of the 1/72 F-4 charts by newer toolings by companies like Fine Molds, which have been able to take advantage of more modern engineering. Still, the Hasegawa Phantom kits are widely available and build into excellent models that will please the majority of modelers who like the F-4.
An interesting phenomenon regarding Hasegawa kits is that they are very much sought by collectors. Since so many limited edition boxings have been done, you can find a wide variety of markings options. This means that some kits will be offered for what I think are fairly stupid prices, while others are far more reasonable. For instance, if you want to build an F-4E/F and find the cost to be more than you are willing to pay, simply look for the F-4EJ boxings. Same plastic and usually at a considerably lower price. All you'll need is an aftermarket decal sheet.
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