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Hi Everyone.

I was please to be in receipt of the new SWS 1/48 F-4S kit from Zoukei-Mura.   As the second kit in their new series of 1/48 F-4 Phantoms, It follows the fantastic F-4J kit in offering details never offered to the Phantom lover in any scale for a slat wing Model.   I am building this for the coming US IPMS NATS so this will be a quick build in terms of posting time, as I am working on it 8-10 hours a day on most days.   In addition to the kit, I will be using HWG Seat belts,  Master Model Metal AOA and Pitot set, GT Resin Exhaust nozzles, with a few added scratch details thrown in.


A couple of general notes about the build.   First, in providing the details there are some fragile parts where extra care needs to be taken removing them from the sprue.  Second, the fit of the parts is exact, so care must be taken to completely remove sprue attachment points, and and occasional flash when assembling the parts to assure that everything fits as it is designed to fit.


Here is the kit:































Stay Tuned!

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The first thing I did was to review the large instruction manual.  Becoming familiar with the construction makes the project much more enjoyable as most of us deviate from the manual's build sequence some time during the build.  Usually this is done to make painting and finishing easier.  I build in sub assemblies which I hope are not a source of confusion.  IF so just fire away with a question.


I started first with the main wing.   These are completely different parts form the J kit, and are very detailed, including the Belly strap and strengthening plates as shown below:















IMPORTANT!!!!  Zm left it up to the builder to open the holes in the bottom wing for the Inner and outer wing pylons, and the ECM nodes, and the Center Line tank.   I chose not to use the wing tanks so I did not open those holes.


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I'll be following this, being a Phantom nut and stockist of Zoukei-Mura kits.


Duncan B 

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This update will be the basic cockpit tub construction.  I am building enough of the pit to be able to install it it not he fuselage and close it up.  The seats, Panels, and any other details that can be added at final assembly are left for later.  One important note is to assemble the tub/wheel well assembly exactly as possible.   The tolerances are very tight with respect to the tub and its fit with in the fuselage.  If you don't pay attention as some builders found out with their F-4J build, the tub ends up to wide for the fuselage.  IN those cases the builders trimmed the side panels to make the tub fit.  IF the tub is assembled with all of the flash and the flare removed and the edges sanded lightly, then the tub fits perfectly.   Check your fit, in fact ZM makes a special note in the instructions about this exact issue.


The basic tub assembled with the seat rails installed



The nose wheel well



Some painted Cockpit pictures.  I use a variety of paint types and brands in my builds.  I am very partial to lacquers as primers and protectant coats.   The trick for me is to thin it to keep the layers very thin,   I used MIG's USN Cockpit paint set for the gray and the detail washes.  I then spray the pit with clear lacquer to seal it and then infall the side panels and other parts.  I find if I seal acrylics and enamels with the clear lacquer to protect the work, it makes the build go quicker and keeps me from making costly mistakes!  The black panels are Acrylics, which allow me to then gently remove the paint from the details on the instrument panels.










Next up is to close up the Fuselage.

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Here are some excerpts from the 32 page Instruction manual that I thought should be highlighted.


First is the note I mentioned above about getting the tub together correctly so that the Fuselage closes as designed.





The other is the option to build the model in a takeoff configuration.  Zoukei-Mura even has a base to offer with the catapult track, and cables so that the modeler can build the "S" in a take off configuration.   Or perhaps use the parts on a J kit????    You though need pilots.  ZM did include all the parts for the extended nose strut, fuselage insets to place the elevator in the launch position, and a diagram for dropping the Ailerons and flaps.










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Update time:


First is the test fitting of the fuselage around the cockpit:





Detail shot of the Wheel well and speed brake housing painted:




Sorry for the poor quality, but it is the only picture I have of the instrument panels after applying the kit decals.  The side panels and others were painted but the instrument faces use the kit decals.   I used Micro Sol and they set just  fine using 3-4 applications and a little  Q-tip dipped in solution for pressure.




The Fuselage Glued together and partially completed:







I removed the plastic Pitot tubes on the fin leading edge and made space for the Master Model Metal pitot tubes to be installed later.  One very nice design feature of the ZM kit is that the only seams that need to be addressed are the top and bottom of the very front of the fuselage in front of the canopy and the front wheel well.  Otherwise they are hidden along the fuselage spine by the panels and the fin vent.

Elevators and rear fuselage are next update, along with my method for installing the intakes.

Edited by ghatherly
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  • 1 month later...

Time for a long overdue update.


Here are some shots of the GT Resin intakes that were prototyped on this build.














Here is the assembled wing showing the alignment of the outside hinge line and the leading edge slat pocket.














a couple of notes, with the first one to READ the instructions completely and thoroughly.   Before you glue on the wing top, you need to decide if you are using the outer wing pylons and open those holes if necessary.  You all need to open the ECM node holes in the wings and the bottom of the intakes. You also need to install the Sparrow well flapper doors to the front missile bays and the Catapult cable hooks.  These are a really important detail that all but the Academy Kits have left off.  Note the accurate rendering of the belly strap and load plates that equipped the "S".

Edited by ghatherly
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here are some pics of the elevators.  With careful work and some patience you can cleanup the plastic from between the slat and the elevator to ad some realism to those parts.   ON thing that the "S" kit offers that is new is a part to place the elevators in the take-off position.   So along with the extended Slats, dropped flaps, and with the addition of some pilots you can display the jet in a carrier launch position.   ZM even makes a repainted base of a Deck catapult section complete with launch and hold back cables.




Finish was Tamiya Decanted gloss black as a base and then Alclad metals over the top.   After painting the top and bottom in Airframe colors, I covered the parts with a clear gloss lacquer followed by a coat of Future thinned 1/3 with Windex to make ready for decals.



Next is the engines.  The pictures show what I originally planned for the intakes using the kit parts as the resin parts were not yet ready.   One observation I found with the kit instruction is that installing the intake as is, with the engines and then adding the outer intake later was awkward for me when I built the J.   When I built he B conversion I came up with the idea of separating the inner intakes, attaching them to the outer and installing them a conventional F-4 Phantom manner.   Either way works fine by the way, I just found that manipulating the outer intake around and dealing with paint it was easier for me to use my approach.   What you have to do is install the engines from the back, which is not difficult.








both the kit outer intake and the GT Resin intakes have marking to accurately place the ECM nodes the "S" carried.



I also reworded the main gear.   The mechanism that is used to retract the main gear need sot be off set to add the two retraction rods to the pivot points,  I carefully cut the connection arm away form he gear, and using plastic rod offset the arm to give clearance for the two rods.  The first picture is bad but you get the ideasIMG_4096_zpsuwi5d8so.jpg


I also added detail tot he steering gear and using .2mm lead wire form UMM, added hydraulic lines to the parts.






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Next is the assembled jet.  Really straight forward but I want to point out a few things I did that will show up in various pics as I move to completion.

  1.  I careful thin the trailing edge of the slats
  2. I carefully opened the gap between the elevator slat and the elevator airfoil.
  3. thinned the outer wing strake....way to thick but is has to be molded this way to not warp or be damaged int he box

I used the black primer/molted white/then paint method for the first time.  I used Tamiya decanted gloss black lacquer.  I let it sit for a few hours to de-gass it and then thin with Tamiya lacquer thinner 25%.  I use several very thin coats with porch cloth between coats.






Here is how I removed the molding tabs from the slats as to not damage them.















I should add some commentary on the decals.  These are the old CAM set, and Had to go to Hannants in England. ( love that place).  I bought the last two sets they had in the hope I would get one complete model done between the two.  Well, I am very pleased to say that the old decals performed flawlessly and only one set was needed.  I applied them over two very thin layers of Future thinned 25% with windex.  I mist coat the future 1 hour after spraying with windex to further level out the layer.  I used the red  bottle Micro Sol to apply the decals and as you can see the process worked.  Nav lights were form the kit sheet.

Edited by ghatherly
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Superb build there Gary, and I just love that colour scheme on the Navy Phantoms.

Can I ask why the use of resin intakes, what is their improvement over the kit ones?

Edited by 71chally
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7 hours ago, 71chally said:

Superb build there Gary, and I just love that colour scheme on the Navy Phantoms.

Can I ask why the use of resin intakes, what is their improvement over the kit ones?



The kit ones work just fine and are the best of any model in plastic.  Essential there is one seam to deal with on the outside of the intake as the inner seam is not visible when assembled.  The kit instructions have you installing the assemble inner intake to the wing/fuselage bottom along with the engines prior to assembling the fuselage top and bottom.   The outer intakes are then installed later.   I find this awkward having built three that way as the outer intake has to be manipulated some to get ti in place.   Painting is also an issue behind the splitter plate, although you can cut it as I did.


For me  the seamless intakes are an advantage in that they infall easier and since they will come with a fan face make using the kit engines unnecessary if you use AM exhausts too.   There is no seam, they are white, and the come with a sectioned and correctly modeled splitter plates to make painting easier and give eat correct look.

I need to say though that the intakes are designed to work with the kit engines, which are installed from the back.


1 hour ago, Christer A said:

And while we're opening up for question... how much better is this kit compared to Academy?

I prefer to use the term different if I may correct your term as I think that is what you are asking.  I can nit pick the academy kit but all in all it is an excellent kit.  The ZM has more to offer in  details in tthe cockpit, wing detail, Landing gear, Canopy framing, engines , and intake design.  The Academy builds very nice in these areas, but needs help form Aries, Eduard, and others to get to the ZM level of detail.    One thing ZM offers is a separated and a one piece canopy.   The most noticeable issue with the Academy is in the canopy proportions front/rear being a little off and the Verticle fin being to thick in section.  One of the benefits ZM has was to take the Academy and Hasegawa kits apart and make something at the next level.   It really is in my opinion the best F-4 Kit in any scale, and I am a huge fan of the 1/32 F-4 kits.


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Here some of the painting pictures after decals.  I did not take any during the painting process, sorry.   I used Testors Model Master acrylics thinned 35% with Tamiya Lacquer thinner.  I use several thin coats of color and sand with 2000 grit in between. This was made more complicated by 4 colors used, but not to difficult, just time consuming.   After the Decal application and a coat of thinned Testers Gloss Lacquer, I used some lightened and darkened shades of the 4 colors to add aging affect and fading.   These Ferris schemes took on a very faded look when in actual use.  Many of the pics show them clean and waxed for a bright finish, but outside of these shots they were very dull and has a faded washed out look, and picked up the usual Phantom dirty look that they get over time.  I tried my best to duplicate this as it was the look I wanted.  Testers flat clear was the applied with each coat polished out with a micro cloth.














You can see the "Sparrow Guide Antenna" next to the AC intake and the blow by air duct in the wheel well added to the S with the Radar change.  Two small items ZM missed!




Missiles are the kit missiles and decals which are very nice




That is it,  I will have more finished pics up in the display case in a bit.  Thanks for all the kind words, support, and the enthusiasm over this new kit!!!!!

Edited just now by ghatherly
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