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1/48 - McDD RF-4E Phantom II (upgraded moulds) by Italeri - released

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How does this compare to the Hasegawa kit?

This old (~ 40years) ESCI kit has always been a good alternative to the Hasegawa, but lacked detail (as Aux Air Doors), and was also lacking anything resembling an interior. Maybe the Italeri "upgrade" addressed some of those shortcomings, making it an even better Hasegawa alternative.

Impressive decals, as usual!

I'll save my money for the forthcoming Academy and Zoukei-mura Phantoms.

Gene K

Edited by Gene K

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I have never seen this kit in person, but from what I can see on the sprue shots, it looks like a decent basic RF-4. The only real problem I see with the plastic is the slotted tailplanes. No RF-4E ever had these. Other than that it looks a bit basic, but good, shapewise.

But then there are the decal options..... They do look nicely detailed and all, but I see many problems. Please allow me to list them below:

-Option A, the IDF/AF version as seen on the boxart.

First of all, it says Yom Kippur War, October 1967 on the box. The Yom Kippur war was in 1973. Also, the RF-4E entered service in Israel in 1971, so it can't be 1967. And when they entered service, the RF-4E's had serials in the 19x range, 488 was 198 for instance. This was changed to the 48x range only after the Yom Kippur war. The font of the 488 doesn't look quite right either.

-Option B, the JASDF version.

The profile shows the angular camera nose, but 57-6912 has the rounded nose. This style also seems to be in the kit, and maybe it's mentioned in the instructions, but it's something to look out for. What doesn't seem to be in the kit, are the Kai specific parts, which this plane had in 2009. External differences between a standard RF-4E and a Kai are for instance the double antennas at the tailfin tip, and different wingtips.

-Option C, the Luftwaffe version.

The profile shows the first RF-4E produced for the Luftwaffe, as seen at the welcoming ceremony at Bremgarten in 1971. It's a bit hard to tell, but the serial numbers should have quite a large white border around them, much like the iron crosses. Also, that style of walkway was introduced much later. In the early years they had simple dark grey or black outlines. And no German RF-4E ever had those formation light strips as seen on the profile.

-Option D, the Hellenic Air Force option.

For some reason Italeri picked one of the original Hellenic batch RF-4E's for this option. These were based on later model F-4E's, and were equipped with the slatted wings. Only Turkey and Greece got a few of these. Unfortunatly the kit has the hard wing. These RF-4E's also recieved the DIAS mods, which shows in the antennas on the intakes, under the radome, and at the tailcone. These don't appear to be in the kit either. You can rob the intake antennas from some Hasegawa kits, but you will have to scratch build the others. TBH, it would have been wiser if Italeri picked one of the ex-Luftwaffe ones for a Greek option. This one also has the rounder camera nose.

-Option E, the Turkish Air Force option.

This an ex-Luftwaffe one, former 35+20. Not a lot can be found about this one, apart from various sources that didn't serve actively that long with the TuAF and went into storage at Eskisehir AB some time in the late 1990's to be used as a source of spare parts. As this is an ex-Luftwaffe one, it wouldn't have the formation light strips at first. The TuAF started adding these on the nose and fuselage, but not on the tail, around the year 2000. The walkways on these were a non slip coating, which darkened over time, which resulted in a dark looking surface, but not a single grey color. On the SEA painted Turkish RF-4E's, the serial's last three digits were repeated on the nose gear door, I don't see it on the sheet.

Don't get me wrong, the artwork looks well drawn, and I'm sure they are very well printed as is usual the case with Italeri. But the research they did is very sloppy, in my opinion.

Edited by Creepy Pete

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This kit is not of Esci origin, is an update of the old italeri kit also sold by testors.

Most of the sprues are from the ESCI F-4F/E kit, exept the fuselage. ESCI never released a 1/48 RF-4 in 1/48 scale. Didnt know where the fuselage parts come from. The Italeri / Testors sprue layout ist different as you can see here: http://www.die-modellbauecke.de/index.php?topic=3113.0

ESCI have engraved, Italeri / Testors raised panel lines.

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Most of the sprues are from the ESCI F-4F/E kit, exept the fuselage. ESCI never released a 1/48 RF-4 in 1/48 scale. Didnt know where the fuselage parts come from. The Italeri / Testors sprue layout ist different as you can see here: http://www.die-modellbauecke.de/index.php?topic=3113.0

ESCI have engraved, Italeri / Testors raised panel lines.

Hmmm... looks like some different parts, totally different, looks like I was completely wrong. Different from the Esci parts too, looks like Italeri moulded a new fuselage. If it's a modification of the Esci kit, then this brings a number of other problems itself, for a starter the windscreen that is quite wider than it should be

Agree that the Hasegawa kit is better, this kit though is much cheaper at least in Europe. Not one I'd buy but I can see it being of interest to some modellers

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Either way Hasegawa is better...

Maybe, but maybe not....

Considering the age of the Hasegawa kits and the prices they seem to go for I think a decent alternative is well overdue. There are issues as Creepy Pete relates but it could be the basis for a good model. I'll wait until it's reviewed but may well get one.

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RF's couldn't carry sparrows! Quite a big job to remodel the troughs.

AIM-7's will be from the legacy sprues, looks like they've gone the same route as Hasegawa with plugs for the wells.

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AIM-7's will be from the legacy sprues, looks like they've gone the same route as Hasegawa with plugs for the wells.

Absolutely: The fairings for the rear bays are on the fuselage sprue, the forward ones integrated into the under pan.

The review is not particularly helpful, as it also assumes it's the (original) Italeri-tooled mould. What I wonder is if Esci may have tooled this up but never got around issuing it, or whether the RF-specifics are full Italeri. I guess the surface texture and detail of the new parts would be tell-tale, but the review is silent...

Edited by tempestfan

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Accuracy-wise the Esci kit (from which this is derived) was not too bad but suffered from an incorrect windscreen. I don't have the kit but I've been told that Italeri has moulded new more accuratr clear parts, this may have sorted the issue. The exhausts have also always been pretty bad and don't seem to have been updated

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Definitely confusing... Testors RF-4 wasn't bad just basic (and not a RF-4B to go with the matching USMC decals.) These sprues seem familiar from the ESCI F-4's I've built, excepting the fuselage parts. Same poor cockpit representation, same slotted tail... sounds like trying to get a 'new tool' RF on the cheap?

R/ Robert

Edited by rbeach84

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Is academy releasing one of these versions?

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Having recently obtained the RF-4E kit I can definitively say it's the former ESCI kit re-tooled. I bought the ESCI F-4E 'Nam Raider' boxing at the Avon show last August and the forward section has been modified by Italeri into the RF-4 type. The lower nose allows you to build both original chisel and the later curved versions. There are filler strips for the aft Sparrow wells with the reworked forward lower fuselage having the fairings to cover the forward centre wing.

DSCF1237_zpstgko5bej.jpg

DSCF1238_zpsqr1uchlg.jpg

The clear sprue now has two windscreens, the second of which is to correct the over wide original as well as the camera bay glazing although there may be a fit problem:

DSCF1271_zpshkp5dmyw.jpg

Here's a shot of the green ESCI sprue laid over the one of the lower wing and landing gear from the Italeri kit:

DSCF1261_zpsckqqasf1.jpg

The cockpit has been tarted up with details added to the side consoles and instrument panels

DSCF1257_zpsi5to3dl3.jpg

DSCF1258_zpsfbkfxdbt.jpg

The jet pipes have also been modified. The original ESCI version replicates the in-flight closed configuration and were attached to a blank wall on the fuselage while the updated ones are open and have been extended to include representations of the reheat ring and turbine:

DSCF1256_zpsnxtqytmy.jpg

The nose of the RF-4E will also probably end up on another Academy F-4B to go with this one converted using the Black Box resin nose intended for the old Hasegawa F-4C:

DSCF1264_zpstllswngn.jpg

As you can see from the third photo I'm currently turning the ESCI kit into an 'in flight' F-4D using left over Academy bits from the RF-4B conversion to tart it up. I've used the Italeri canopies as the originals were beyond saving with stress cracks.The F-4E's nose is destined for an Academy F-4C/D to turn that into a F-4E.



Is academy releasing one of these versions?

As to whether Academy will produce a RF-4, it's possible given that Korea operated the RF-4C and the way their Phantom kit is broken down. It probably will only be after they have produced a F-4E which may not be until late 2017 at the earliest.

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I wonder if the etched set from eduard for the hasegawa kit would fit it.

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-Option C, the Luftwaffe version.

The profile shows the first RF-4E produced for the Luftwaffe, as seen at the welcoming ceremony at Bremgarten in 1971. It's a bit hard to tell, but the serial numbers should have quite a large white border around them, much like the iron crosses. Also, that style of walkway was introduced much later. In the early years they had simple dark grey or black outlines. And no German RF-4E ever had those formation light strips as seen on the profile.

Don't get me wrong, the artwork looks well drawn, and I'm sure they are very well printed as is usual the case with Italeri. But the research they did is very sloppy, in my opinion.

Well, not to sloppy, but still sloppy. I found this pic of 2 Luftwaffe RF-4E's on take off of the unit in question. The serial numbers do not have bold white borders. Also, the walkways are of the later type that are yellow accented with red. Italeri has omitted the red triangles with big white borders however. And, you are correct, there are no slime lights on these aircraft.

McDonnell_Douglas_RF-4E_Phantom_II_Germa

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I've just finished my review sample for SAMI Magazine, might just miss the next issue, so you might get the chance to see it in september

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It's not a bad kit, just not a great one. Needs the Bang Seats replaced and you can dress up the pit with Eduard's photo etch. You can also replace the wheels, as well, with some resin jobs. Missiles can be doctored or replaced with some Hasegawa jobs. All in all, not that bad. I can't speak for all the decal versions, but the Luftwaffe version isn't bad. You can easily airbrush those large white triangles and plop in the red triangle decals. Like I said, not a bad kit, just not a great one. I just picked one of these up and I have a Hasegawa 1/48 RF-4E on the way from Japan as we speak. The Hasegawa kit is old as well. Be nice to compare the two. I plan on doing the Italeri offering in the Luftwaffe scheme. The Hasegawa, in the two tone grey scheme of the IDF. I have the necessary photo etch sets for each. Should be fun!

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