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  1. Hello Phantom Phans everywhere! (That little witticism from the 60’s is going to get tired so fast, I thought I’d try to get it done early and never, ever use it again.) I’m entering two kits in this STGB. The Tamiya F-4B in 1/48 and the Hasegawa F-4B in 1/72. In both cases I will be modifying them and painting them up as F-4Gs. NOT the USAF Wild Weasels but another, completely different, USN F-4G variant. Twelve F-4Bs were modified to the G standard, the modification replacing 600 lbs of fuel capacity behind the RIO’s seat with the ‘black boxes’ required for a datalink system similar to the one used by the USAF since the 50’s. Interceptors could be guided to their firing position from the ground, or in this case ship, without direct radio contact with the pilot. Remote control if you will. The system also offered an auto landing facility. Remotely controlled landings on an aircraft carrier, using technology developed in 1960. One imagines the pucker factor to be well nigh infinite. The ‘Datalink Dozen’, from 1966, were also part of a wider trial of jungle camouflage schemes intended for the skies above Vietnam. Phantoms, Intruders, Skyraiders, Skyhawks, Skywarriors and Vigilantes all wore jungle greens for a time. The colour schemes were varied; some were single colour, some carried two shades and some were in three colours. Greens, browns and greys were used and even within a single squadron, the individual aircraft were differently marked. The Phantoms, at least, passed from one squadron to another as the trials continued, getting progressively shabbier as time went by. The matt finish of the jungle greens didn’t wear well on board ship. It was always intended to be temporary and was applied over the previous standard gull grey, with consequent peeling and retouching. Plenty of scope for weathering then! All of the trials aircraft retained their shiny white under surfaces and the oil thereupon. These are the two aircraft I will be attempting to build, on the USS Kitty Hawk in 1966. So there’s the first two slightly odd elements to my moddelling for the next few weeks. I do like to do the unusual; it keeps me fresh. There are two more odd angles too, both of a personal nature. The third oddness is that while I’ve always loved the Spook, it has acquired jinx status with me when it comes to models. I recall making the Airfix F-4 in 1965 as successfully as any eight year old but since then all of my many attempts have ended up in the bin, long before completion. I’m being haunted by the Phantom! (Come to think of it, in 1975 one of them even tried to kill me, which tale I will come to later.) I will break that jinx, and I’ll do it in public, right here. My last successful one! Who remembers this kit? The fourth freakish factor is finding myself working in 1/72. My preferred scale for aircraft is 1/48 and I haven’t touched 1/72 for years. I didn’t want to either but when I sent for my decals for the Tamiya kit, I completely forgot that they came in two scales and ordered the wrong one. Then some persuasive gents on this very website, suggested to me that I should build both. Or it might just have been my own mad enthusiasm, lol. Whatever, I ordered another set of decals in 1/48, bought a 1/72 kit to use up the ones that I already had and declared my intention to build my first 1/72 kit of this century. Those are the four reasons why this will be very interesting GB for me and I hope I’ll be able to make this thread interesting for you too. Please feel free to join in at any point with comments, advice, information or just Phantom chatter. Welcome to the phun! (Oops, I did it again!)
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