Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Mike

Good Morning Da Nang! F-4B Phantom - 1:48

Recommended Posts

Good Morning Da Nang! F-4B Phantom
1:48 Eduard


boxtop.jpg


There can’t be many that haven’t heard of the F-4 Phantom, which is a truly iconic aircraft used by many nations during the Cold War, including Great Britain after a few politically expedient modifications. The Phantom is actually Phantom II, although most forget that fact, as the original was relegated to a backwater of aviation history due to its short service life and poor performance. The F-4 started life as a revised Demon, and after some changes to the original modular design was transformed from a point defence fighter into a powerful fighter bomber with up to eleven hard-points on which to carry munitions. Making her maiden flight in 1958 she won the contest against the single-seater Crusader III (a massive overhaul of the Crusader II), at least partially due to the second crew member that operated the Phantom’s powerful radar, which was covered by the distinctive bulbous nose cone.

The F-4B was the designation for the US Navy, while the Air Force using the C suffix to distinguish between their airframes and the Navy’s. The Navy took delivery of their first Bs in mid 1961 with increased thrust from improved engines, and in 1964 they began service in the conflict in Vietnam which became legendary. A high rate of attrition was experienced, mainly due to anti-aircraft fire and accidents, but the reputation of the F-4 was established beyond all doubt. The B was upgraded to the N, with the later variants phased out in 1984, while a number of later variants soldiered on into the late eighties. The Phantom was a success as an export fighter too, with Great Britain famously taking a perfectly good airframe and shoe-horning British made engines in to make it British. Turkey, Japan and many other countries also used the Phantom, with Greece and Iran amongst the operators that still use them to this day, albeit with some upgrades here and there.

The Kit
The box for this one is pretty large, and inside there is a little spare “rattle room” to accompany the mound of styrene, plus an Eduard Brassin box at one end that protects all the resin. All-in-all, there are fifteen sprues of various sizes, plus a fuselage shell, a large decal sheet, two frets of Photo-Etch (PE) metal, as sheet of flexible seatbelt material, a sheet of kabuki tape masking material, three bags of resin containing exhausts, wheels and ejector seats, and of course the instruction booklet, which follows Eduard’s standard and is printed on glossy paper with the decal placement and painting guide on the rear pages in full colour.

There’s no doubt that this is Academy styrene, which is no bad thing, as their new Phantom kits have been well received with some disliking the multi-coloured styrene of the original release. There’s no such frippery with this imprint however, and all the styrene is the normal Academy greenish grey that we’re all probably used to. The kit has been tooled with multiple variants in mind from the outset, so the sprues are modular, permitting many permutations by combining different sprues at the factory. This should result in a fair quantity of spare parts, which in this instance is compounded by the addition of the replacement resin, so there will be lots of spares for the box to use and abuse at some later date.

fuselage.jpg

sprue1.jpg

sprue3.jpg

sprue4.jpg

sprue5.jpg

sprue6.jpg

sprue7.jpg

sprue8.jpg


Construction begins in the cockpit, and the pre-painted sheet of PE comes into play, replacing all the instrument panels and side consoles with highly detailed parts after the removal of the moulded in details. Rudder pedals in the front and insulation panels in the rear cockpit are included, as well as a large rear panel on the right. The ejection seats are added later, and these are cast in highly detailed resin with additional PE parts to improve detail further. You’ll need some lengths of 0.2mm wire to thread around the seat here and there, with scrap diagrams leading the way. Crew seatbelts are provided in the form of HGW sourced “fabric” belts, which while tricky to make, are amongst the most realistic of seatbelt systems I have encountered in my short life. They are well worth the extra time and cursing to build, and you will be pleased you did when you complete them – just don’t tackle them when you are tired or stressed, as you will need some patience.

seats.jpg

belts.jpg

pe.jpg


The nose gear bay is built up from individual sides and fits into the bottom of the cockpit, which is then installed in a lower fuselage “tray” and set to one side while the underwing fuselage and inner wing panels are built up. The main gear bays are slim due to the thin wing, and consist of frames built up from parts that form the bay walls. The main gear legs are installed into the frames before being placed into the lower wing. Installing landing gear before main painting isn't my idea of fun, so I'll be looking at ways around this, which I'm sure are already out on the web by now. Airbrake bays are inserted behind the bay cut-outs, with some nice restrained riveting inside, after which the upper wing's inner panels are installed, ready to receive the forward tray, the three part intakes with engine fronts, which fit into a support that's added in between the wing roots. The kit exhausts are consigned to spares to be replaced by some superbly details resin parts. From the rear there is a single part set of exhaust petals with moulded in actuator rods and exquisite undercut detail. The exhaust trunk is again a single part, and has the fluted perforated inner surface that would be almost impossible to achieve in this level of detail before Rapid Prototyping came into use. The rear of the engine with bullet fairing is last to be inserted after it has been adorned with two PE afterburner parts. A scrap diagram shows the correct orientation of the PE parts in relation to the tunnel, and a key moulded to the outside of the exhaust trunk ensures it will be correctly oriented once installed. They are added to the lower fuselage after a separating fairing is added between them, holding them at the correct spacing.

exhausts.jpg


The upper fuselage is a large single part that has been carefully tooled using slide-moulding to include detail on all angles of this complex shape. The trade-off is that there are a few seamlines where the sections of the tooling meet, but these have been placed upon the borders of panel lines, so can quickly be removed using the edge of a blade and some fine sanding sticks, preserving the detail around it. A cut-out on the starboard nose accommodates the refuelling probe, which can be displayed open or closed by either closing up the door over the small bay, or adding the probe and supports, with the bay door attached to the probe's side. A plethora of PE parts are added to the sills around the cockpit opening, although I'd suggest leaving off the little protruding knobs until later if you don't want to be upset when they disappear. A small hole in the spine of the fuselage is provided with an insert, and here I'd add it before closing up the fuselage so that you can adjust its position to get it as flush with the fuselage as you can to save fettling later. The upper fuselage drops onto the lower, covering the various aggregated assemblies, all of which will hopefully line up if you've checked your installations during the build. At this point you add the intakes, which are made up from inner and outer sections, and have a representation of the myriad of holes in the two-part splitter plate that bleed away the slow boundary layer air from the intake. The C-profile intake outer has some fairly major ejector pin marks and tooling anomalies within it, but some putty and sanding before closing the intakes should render it smooth, unless you want to treat yourself to a pair of seamless intakes from AlleyCat reviewed here last year. The nose cone is added, along with a pair of cheek mounted intakes, and a choice of two prominent chin-bulges, depending on which markings you will be using. The pilot's instrument coaming is fixed next, with a new PE HUD and glass made from the supplied acetate sheet, plus the roll-over bar between the two cockpits. To the rear the heavily heat-armoured rear fairing is added, along with the upper section that has the slot for the rudder cut out, and the essential tail-hook slung underneath out of the way of the blast from the engines.

The outer wings of the F-4 were given a 12[]sup]o[/sup] dihedral to increase the overall dihedral to counter some lateral instability issues that arose from wind tunnel testing, and these are single parts due to their slim profile and moulded in ailerons. The flaps are separate and made from two parts, so can be posed deployed or retracted at your whim. The tail fin is another single part, but has a separate rudder and choice of tip, due to the different equipment fits of the provided markings options. The elevators are either slotted or un-slotted between markings, so choose your markings early in the build and annotate the instructions accordingly.

wheels.jpg


The landing gear of the Phantom was designed from the outset to cope with deck landings with a sink rate of 7m/s, so are naturally chunky, with a 50cm extension built into the nose gear leg to increase the angle of incidence of the main planes during catapult take-off. The extended leg isn't included in the kit, but with a little brass rod and some careful slicing, you can add it yourself if you feel the need. A separate oleo-scissor is included, and Eduard's resin twin nose wheels improve the detail noticeably. The nose gear bay doors have moulded in hinges to strengthen their attachment, as are the main bay doors. The main wheels are also supplied in resin, and the delicate circumferential tread is well done.

clear.jpg


Once the airframe is ostensibly complete, the ejector seats are added and the canopies are detailed with PE framing edges, plus a cluster of rear-view mirrors for the pilot and RIO. The windscreen is fixed over the coaming and has a PE hoop attached to the front, with a small additional instrument scabbed into the inner edge, the dividing section between pilot and rear-seater is fixed and detailed with PE, after which the two rearward hinging canopies can be added, mating at the rear on two moulded in hinge-points. An optional crew ladder is supplied, as are a pair of canopy supports and an undocumented pair of seated pilots with interchangeable heads, plus a standing pilot figure on sprue F, replete with a pair of Aviator sunglasses á la Top Gun's very own Tom Cruise. Thinking of which, he does seem kind of short.


Weapons
The F-4 was a veritable bomb-truck, and the Academy sprues aren't short of things to hang from the pylons. The pylons and their adaptor rails are built up first, then the Sparrows for the semi-recessed fuselage pylons, Sidewinders and Mk.82s are built up, plus additional fuel tanks for the wings and centreline. Weapons that are for use with airframes depicted on the decal sheet are as follows:

4 x AIM-7 Sparrow
4 x AIM-9D/G Sidewinder
12 x Mk.82 iron bombs
2 x wing mounted fuel tanks
1 x centreline mounted fuel tank


weapons1.jpg

weapons2.jpg


There are other Sidewinder variants on the sprues, plus cannon and targeting pods that can be used with other projects along the way, especially if you're a Phantom fanatic.


masks
I've not taken a photo of the masks, as they always end up as a blank yellow sheet, but there are masks for each of the wheels, plus the complete canopy included on the sheet, with the usual holes around the compound curves that you fill with masking fluid or scrap tape from the sheet if you wish. If you don't like masking, these should be right up your Mig Alley!


Markings
As is usual with more upmarket Eduard offerings, there are five markings options to choose from on two large sheets, which have been designed in association with Furball Aero Design and printed by Cartograf, whom I consider to be the premiere decal printers of today. From the box you can build one of the following:

  • 151492 VF-84 Jolly Rogers, USS Independence 1965 – Light Gull grey over white, black tail and radome, yellow wingtips and fin tip. Skull & cross bones on tail.
  • 152238 VMFA-542 Bengals, Da Nang Airbase, South Vietnam 1966 - Light Gull grey over white, tiger motif on tail.
  • 152258 VMFA-323 Death Rattlers, Chu-Lai Airbase, South Vietnam 1967 - Light Gull grey over white, white radome and rudder, rattlesnake motif on rudder.
  • 153020 VF-161 Chargers, USS Midway May 1972 - Light Gull grey over white, black tail and spine sides with multi-coloured USS Midway on the spine.
  • 153019 VF-111 Sundowners, USS Coral Sea March 1972 - Light Gull grey over white, rising sun on tail, shark mouth on radome.

decals.jpg


The sheets are large, well printed with good colour density and sharpness, plus overall a perfect registration, although the colourful US Midway logo shows some fractional offsets to some of the colours under magnification in the blue and reds. Under 1:1 this barely shows, and shouldn't be an issue however.

The stencils are dealt with separately for the airframe, and these are well laid out on the decal sheets, so should be easy to identify when the time comes. Additional markings are included for the pylons, as well as the insides of the speed-brakes and main gear doors, although none are provided for the weaponry, which is a shame as that fine detail always adds to the realism.


Conclusion
Eduard have taken a good kit and made it better, adding plenty of detail to all the most noticeable areas of interest. The cockpit is totally overhauled and given highly detailed resin seats, and the twin exhausts are replaced entirely, while the model will sit on a set of very nice resin wheels. Some additional wheel bay detail is about all you could ask in addition, but those are already available elsewhere if that's something you fancy.

Very highly recommended.

bin.jpg


Review sample courtesy of
logo.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well that does it Mike.

My Hasegawa F-4b can be sold off to make way for this little beauty.

Thanks for the review Fella.

Chris.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I picked one of these up at the MK show this weekend just gone. Looking at the instructions, I think with the "landing gear on whilst painting" can be avoided by not attaching one part to the gear leg but to the gear bay itself and some careful alignment after the main paint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspected it was easy enough :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard the opposite, that you have to install the landing gear before painting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not an easy thing to do - but i managed to get the undercarriage to fit afterwards. However, i managed to damage one of the stubs on the undercarriage part, so had to resort to a little CA to ensure it stayed in the right place. But it can be done with a little perseverance and a few choice words that you may not want others hearing!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a matter of interest has anyone used the fabric belts?

They look very nice but I suspect they may be even more trouble than photo etch ones!!!

Thanks

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a matter of interest has anyone used the fabric belts?

They look very nice but I suspect they may be even more trouble than photo etch ones!!!

Thanks

Greg

Anyone?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike, an excellent and comprehensive review of this kit thank you.

I bought it a few weeks ago and likewise, I was puzzled by the total absence of any decals (even missile stripes) for any of the armaments. Given everything else that is in the box, I wonder if it was a genuine oversight by the Eduard design team rather than a conscious decision to ommit them; as IMHO the latter option makes no sense at all?

Irrespective, given the plethora of colour and 'normal' etch, canopy masks, material seatbelts, extensive decal options and resin parts, I think this is one of the best value 1/48 kits currently available.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a matter of interest has anyone used the fabric belts?

They look very nice but I suspect they may be even more trouble than photo etch ones!!!

Thanks

Greg

Yes - I've used them, and they are more trouble than PE belts, but definitely worth the extra effort and bad language in the end :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes - I've used them, and they are more trouble than PE belts, but definitely worth the extra effort and bad language in the end :)

Thanks Mike,

Do you by any chance have any pictures of them in place?

Regards

Greg

Edited by GregW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Give me a minute or two, and I'll try & dig one out :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the only pic of the set I used on my 262 with great big cannon:

assemblies.jpg

and here's a better pic from the first review of this type of belt that I did:

complete.jpg

I think you'll agree now, and won't have to take my word for it ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you'll agree now, and won't have to take my word for it ;)

Mike

Thanks for the pictures. Yes, they look very nice in place.

My main concern was that in pictures on the Eduard website the F-4 belts looked somewhat anaemic in place? I think I will just have to see for myself when I get going on the kit.

Thanks again.

Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello everyone,

I need a little advice/explanation regarding this kit. I see there are two nose sections, and one of them goes to the F4 B/N version ... and the other is marked as "not to be used" ... what version is that for? C? Same goes for that "IR sensor" under the nose ... there are four versions of it in the kit ... or vertical fin tip ... four different parts ... what goes to what version of the plane?

I have tried to google it but no success (need to improve my google skills it seems, :D ) ... anyone experienced/knowledgeable about this subject could solve this mystery for me? Because I am thinking of making F4C out of this (have two Eduard kits, planning to buy third because Phantom is my most favorite jet ever and two is not enough) ...

Thanks

Edited by Pan_Kalich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello everyone,

I need a little advice/explanation regarding this kit. I see there are two nose sections, and one of them goes to the F4 B/N version ... and the other is marked as "not to be used" ... what version is that for? C? Same goes for that "IR sensor" under the nose ... there are four versions of it in the kit ... or vertical fin tip ... four different parts ... what goes to what version of the plane?

I have tried to google it but no success (need to improve my google skills it seems, :D ) ... anyone experienced/knowledgeable about this subject could solve this mystery for me? Because I am thinking of making F4C out of this (have two Eduard kits, planning to buy third because Phantom is my most favorite jet ever and two is not enough) ...

Thanks

Well the kit only have the thin wings so you can only make the B or N variants.

i'd wait for eduard to release the C/D kit they mentioned earlier. :banghead:

HTH

Edited by The dragonborn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the kit only have the thin wings so you can only make the B or N variants.

i'd wait for eduard to release the C/D kit they mentioned earlier.

HTH

Where? I have read that for this year only 1/48 Phantom is F-4J Phantom II 'VF-84 Jolly Rogers' by Academy and (Eduard is releasing F-14A Tomcat though)... correct me if I am wrong (attaching link would be nice)

Edited by Pan_Kalich

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...