Monogram 1/48 F-4C Phantom
|DECALS:||Two markings option|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Suffice it to say that there is probably as much if not more information available on the Phantom II than just about any other aircraft. It was one of those pivotal aircraft that was available at the right time and at the right place. When it first appeared in 1958, the prototypes went on to set a number of world records for speed and altitude, and while those have been eclipsed by newer military aircraft and specially prepared civilian war birds, it still left a lasting impression.
Even today, there are still a few Phantoms flying in defense of some countries in Europe and Asia, though I'm sure their tenure in the skies will soon be over after what is, after all, fifty years since first flight.
When Monogram released their 1/48 F-4 kits they were hailed as the best the industry had ever produced. Of course, for the time, they were right. Monogram was very much cutting edge in terms of detailing and accuracy. Even today, few injected kits can match the detailing in this kit's cockpit. Of course, the panel lines were the raised variety that was very much in vogue at the time, and the fit of some of the parts was a touch dodgy (like the lower intake), and there were more ejector pin marks that one could shake a stick at, but at the time, this was not a major concern to either modelers or the industry.
Unlike its replacement, the Hasegawa Phantom line, the Monogram kit came with a full array of weapons that included Sidewinders, Sparrows and centerline gun pod in the F-4C/D version. There were both wing and centerline fuel tanks as well. The landing gear were well made and sturdy. What's more, the main gear were properly canted slightly inboard as they are on the real aircraft. For those wondering, I'm using past tense as this kit has not been available on store shelves for many years. I'm not sure if Revell (who bought Monogram) is even thinking about reissuing it, though I'm sure that if they did, it would be well received.
Anyway, the cockpit is a real beauty with nicely raised instrument and console detail. It has seats with belt detail already molded in place and it is correct for an F-4C. Another nice touch is that the outboard flaps/ailerons are molded in the slightly down position, a common sight for the plane on the ramp. Thee are two areas of concern. One is the lower fuselage/intake join which always seems to come up a bit short and needs a section of strip styrene. Another is that the stabilators seem to fit too far out from the fuselage. This is easily fixed with some trimming.
Markings are for two aircraft with the 58th TTW back in the early days of the F-4C and both have quite a bit of color. These bands were added for high visibility. While the fuselage bands have the white included, you will need to paint the white parts for the wing tips. You also get a fairly compete set of data/stencils, though you probably wouldn't need the ones where the stripes were located. The rather large decal sheet (which is marked as 'Candy Cane' is very nicely printed.
So there you have it. Monogram's 1/48 Phantom isn't as up to date as the Hasegawa kit in terms of molding technology, but if you have no problem with raised panel lines, then I know you will be happy with the results from this one. Probably the biggest difficulty will be finding one!
This one is straight out of my kit stash.
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