Hasegawa 1/72 F-4E Phantom II

KIT #: 04305 (Kx5)
PRICE: 2200 yen when new
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1996 boxing


Considering that the F-4 was developed as a naval interceptor, it is somewhat ironic that the majority of aircraft were built for the USAF. However, the aircraft proved to be not only a superlative interceptor, but was able to carry a considerable amount of ordnance, making it a great fighter-bomber. Developed in a time when it was felt that missiles were sufficient to knock down enemy planes, the gun was totally eliminated from the design. Experience proved that the gun was still more than useful, thanks in part to the lack of reliability of the early air to air missiles.

Thus the USAF asked McDonnell/Douglas to develop a gun for their next offering, the F-4E. The type proved to be quite successful with the gun adding another aspect to the aircraft. The F-4E went on to be the most produced variant and was also something of a success in export, being license built by Mitsubishi in Japan. Even today, over 60 years since the flight of the first F-4, the type is still in active service with some foreign air forces.

This is the third generation of F-4 produced by Hasegawa. First was an F-4D/J that is best forgotten and is really only useful to collectors or those who want a nostalgia build. The second generation kit was an F-4E/F that is still in the catalogue. It is not a bad kit, but is not up to modern standards. Still, it makes into a presentable model for those on a budget. This is the third generation tooling from the mid-1990s and takes advantage of the current way kits are developed. That means you have a base kit with the ability to take a lot of inserts and other small bits to build up to what is on the box top. It also means you'll have spare parts that are not needed.

You get a fairly nice cockpit that has a proper seat shape and uses decals for instruments. This fits into a separate nose section that is split vertically. The nose is then attached and that assembly set aside. One then moves on to the aft fuselage. This includes the fin and once joined, the nose section is attached along with the intakes, proper fin cap and the horizontal stabs. Note that depending on the marking option you choose, you'll have to open holes or use alternate parts so a decision in this regard needs to be done early.

The lower wing needs various holes opened and then the upper wing halves attached. The outer wing sections are separate and with that assembled, it and the exhaust are glued in place. The instructions then have you attach the clear parts. You can pose the two canopy sections open or closed as you choose. Landing gear and doors are nicely done and fit securely. These F-4s are all later versions with the extended slats and the actuator fairings have to be attached. For thins under wings you have a pair of Sidewinder rails for the pylons, outer fuel tanks, and the later F-15 style centerline. Note that the plane did not always fly with all three tanks so check photos to see which is more appropriate for you before you open those wing holes for them. As a note, the F-4 does not require any nose weight.

Instructions are standard fare with Gunze paint references. There are three options provided. The box art plane is from the New Jersey ANG and is in the Euro 1 paint scheme. Next is the Missouri ANG 30th Anniversary plane in the Hill Grey II camouflage. Also in these colors is a 3TFW aircraft that was based in the Philippines. Decals are nicely printed and are 'old school' Hasegawa which means a bit thick and with the whites in an off-white shade. There are TONS of F-4E aftermarket sheets so you should have no issues finding replacements.  


Considering that the F-4E/F was the most widely built version of the Phantom II, it is a bit odd that there are not a lot of kits of it, compared to the F-4B/C/D/J. Currently Revell, Fujimi, and Hasegawa are pretty much it. Those who might comment that 'only the F-4EJ is easy to find', keep in mind that all the US F-4E bits are in the box as well. This is a somewhat fussy kit to build thanks to the inserts, but is not difficult. The EJ kit is fairly easy to find so snag one along with your favorite decals and go for it.

February 2020

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