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John R

Prototype Phantom - F4H-1 - 1/72

27 posts in this topic

XF4U1_2015_05_19_9_5_zpsjmng717e.jpg

XF4U1_2015_05_19_9_3_zpsaddkl1mw.jpg

XF4U1_2015_05_19_9_7_zpstsvdtvmz.jpg

This started life as a Fujimi RF4B. When I decided to specialise in prototypes I thought that it might be possible to convert it into an XF4U-1. A search for data turned up some very useful blogs by Tommy Thomason (aka Tailspin Turtle).

http://tailspintopics.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/early-phantom-iis-redux.html

http://tailspintopics.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/f4h-1-large-and-small-radomes.html

http://tailspintopics.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/early-phantom-iis.html

Without these and his continued help this project would have been stillborn. Take a bow Tommy and those who answered my queries on Britmodeller.

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First the canopy and nose – I was told Falcon had produced a conversion set and managed to find one. That was the good news. The bad news was the nose was not for the first flight configuration and no way could I persuade the canopy to fit. It could have been due to it being designed to fit an Italeri F4B or just my clumsiness but I ended up having to make a new nose and canopy. The new nose had to have the original flush intakes.

Next the intakes. The originals were cut off and new ones made from sheet and faired in by eye using Milliput. The original boundary air bleeds were removed and the holes in the intake guides filled. Boundary layer splitters were added inside the intake. There are outlets, I think, on top of the intakes. These are represented by decals.

A tailhook fairing, deleted on production models was added.

A strange triangular thing sticking out from the rear was apparently a fuel vent (thanks to all who answered that query). A new one was made from brass tubes.

A large blob at the top of the fin (RWR?) was removed as was the second pitot on the fin.

The slots on the tail were filled and Milliput used to remove the undercamber from the top surface.

The wing was unchanged as the Fujimi kit did not have the bulges over the wheels which appeared on later models. The early airbrakes, full of holes, were represented by decals.

Cockpit – The rear cockpit on the prototype was a ‘black hole’. The front cockpit ejection seat required modification to make it resemble the McDonnell seat as first used.

earlyPhantom%20ejection%20seat_zpszo8eyw

There was no cover over the instrument panel at first so a few rectangular items were cobbled together to make something vaguely similar to instrument cases.

After shaping the nose the probe was made from several different diameters of brass tube all covered in filler and sanded to shape. Because of the vulnerability of said probe it was not fitted until all the decals and u/c had been added. A short section of tube was left sticking out of the nose and the probe fitted into this at the end. Note that the probe is aligned with the fuselage datum and not with the axis of the nose so it looks a bit odd.

Nose%20probe_zpscjurvwzv.jpg

Decals – Aaah the decals. A while ago the IPMS decal bank sent a set of 1/72 decals for the prototype but when I came to use them I found that they were for 1/48 and nowhere could be found a set for 1/72 so off to the spares box…where I found that the NAVY symbol appeared to be different to the USN standard version and the Star and Bar on the wings was far larger than anything I had and had to be scrounged from a fellow modeller.

The NAVY, F4H-1, walk areas were easily made but the fuselage stripes were a nightmare. Having spent ages getting them to be the right shape and colour I applied the first one only to find that when applied over grey the red, printed on to a clear decal sheet, did not even resemble the colour I wanted.

I had originally considered painting them but the thought of trying to mask it put me off. Next thought was printing it on white decal paper and trimming to size. That did not appeal either so I ended up printing grey surrounding the red. This worked but was not really satisfactory as there is a trace of white around the edge from the underlying white sheet.

The rings on the nose and probe? Don’t try this at home unless you planning to have a breakdown. It’s a good way to start. They are only thin strips of white decal sheet but getting the right number in the right places is a trifle fiddly and took me most of day but fortunately the weather was too awful to do anything else.

The nav lights on the wing LE are missing. They are different, I think, to the production a/c and I have not yet thought of a satisfactory way of doing them.

F4H-1F%20Wingtip%20Lights%20bottom_zpsmg

Painting was done using Xtracrylix. The topside gave lots of trouble with it peeling off as the masking tape was removed but the white underside, despite using the same primer, was troublefree.

I think that covers everything. If you have managed to reach the end I hope that you found it of interest. It wasn’t the easiest of projects but I felt that I should have a model of such a significant a/c in my collection of prototypes.

John

PS Whilst looking at pictures of Phantoms on the internet I came across a 1/144 version of the prototype. I wonder if a 1/72 version will follow…

PPS Just remembered something about home made decals.

In the past after printing and sealing with decal film I had great trouble applying the decals as they had a great tendency to curl up and refuse to adhere to the model. I 'cured' this by sealing with Halfords clear acrylic but the downside was it resulted in a very thick decal. Whilst 'test fitting' the red stripes to see if the shape and colour was correct I made an interesting discovery. As I wanted a quick turnaround I just sealed them with decal film and did not use setting solution (Micro set). They went on without any problem so the curling was due to the setting solution.

Edited by John R
34 people like this

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You've done a great job of what is a quite significant conversion. You have captured the look of the prototype perfectly in my opinion.

Duncan B

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...and so the story begins...... Nice one

RR

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Great build and finish John,lovely to see the prototype modeled. :thumbsup:

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Fantastic build of a fantastic subject. US Navy prototypes are pretty cool and difficult to model... they almost always are significantly different from production examples. Well done!

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Well done. Significant changes from the production machines make for a very unusual Phantom II

David

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Nice! You've definitely 'got' the XF-4B. It's always surprised me that Anigrand hasn't had a go at doing this one- it would fit in their existing lineup rather well.

Will

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Fantastic build John, first time I've seen the prototype built and a great job you've done of it :)

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Well done John, good to see an early Phantom being modelled so well. Thanks for sharing your pics and info.

Colin

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Amazing work. I've always been fascinated by how very different, and how much more "Fifties-looking" the Phantom prototype was. Everything you've done here is beyond my ability to replicate, but certainly not beyond my ability to admire.

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Great to have the grand daddy of all phantoms here in the forum...a beautifully done prototype backed up with a thorough research on the subject!Good job!

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That is pretty impressive!

Great work :)

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A nice conversion.

The prototype is rather different from other versions

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Superb work and a fascinating model ! This prototype conversion looks great and is wonderful subject matter for such a replica.

Mike

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Thats great, I have never seen this aircraft before, the markings and finish are fab!

Cheers

Viv

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That is a nice one - also interesting write up. Thank you for posting.

1 person likes this

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Thank you for all the nice comments. It certainly generated a lot of interest.

I have since been told that Ventura made a 1/72 set but that must have been way back (in the sixties?). Anybody know anything it?

Whilst on the subject of decals the main post has been edited to add a comment about how I found that my trouble with home made decals curling up was apparently due to the use of setting solution.

John

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Another F-4! Phantastic! You can't have enough of them! Also the first time I've seen one of these built - you've done a great job!

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Sorry not to reply sooner John, great build of an important aircraft. Hopefully we might see one in quarter scale one day but I won't keep anything crossed !

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