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The Airfix Phantom - a personal view


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Mods please move to the appropriate section.

 

My Airfix Phantom arrived in the middle of January and went, of course, to the top of the pile. The box was opened, sprues washed, knives sharpened and sanding sticks flushed out and off I went.

I have been modelling for 50 years, 99.9% aircraft and, of that, about 30% Phantoms. I have over 30 Fujimi British Phantoms on the display shelves; I am not an expert modeller, doing it for fun to a standard which suits me but I can turn out a decent model at the end of the day.

My first impressions were that there was a lot of plastic in the box, too much of which wouldn’t be used, and that that plastic was quite soft and although the nose gear had a bit of flash there was a lot of detail with one exception; the inner pylons are simply a slab of undetailed plastic and can only be used if loaded with missiles and rocket pods. (Luckily I have some of the Esci ones in the spares box).

Onto construction. The cockpit goes together well and the decals certainly enhance it. At this point I diverted from the suggested order of construction. Airfix suggest constructing the intakes and attaching them before the fuselage goes together; having read the review in AMW there was the suggestion that there could be a fit problem at the cockpit end. I did not find this and the fuselage went together perfectly. I then attached the intakes and possibly made a slight problem for myself.

Going back to the 1/72 Beaufighter and Blenheim there was a lot of talk about the tolerances being so tight that a coat of paint or even a thicker dollop of cement could cause a problem. I think I got the intakes a touch out of line which led to problems getting a good fit on the lower wing.

Now, the wing construction is interesting. You have to add a box for the detail for the underside doors which also includes some of the detail for the wheel wells. Jutting down out of the fuselage is the intake trunking and the rear engine pods and on the inner face of the lower wing part (C14) there are 2 boxes which I assume are there to help alignment – in other words quite a few potential traps. I ended up taking off those boxes and carving (not sanding!) bits off the intakes and the engine pods – I now have a decent fit of the fuselage and lower wing.

I was going to wait until it was all glued together to “publish” this but I’m busy over the next few days. My initial impression is that it’s going to look good when finished but that there are pitfalls – as ever dry fit, sand, dry fit etc etc.

 

OK –Round 2 as it were. (Wife decided we weren’t going shopping so I had a bit more time than expected.

I have attached the upper wings – very good fit with no gap between wing and fuselage but I’m confused about the fit of the outer wing panels. Unlike the Hasegawa kit where the it’s basically a butt fit with a tab from the outer panel fitting into the inner wing, Airfix have used a shelf on the underside  to fit outer to inner. Dryfitting this looks like it could lead to a real step (or has the soft plastic led to a warp?) which should be hidden under the outer pylon – fine in theory but the RN Phantoms often flew with the under fuselage tank alone. I’ll have to wait and see with that one.

 

The fin is attached/inserted – no problems here.

 

I forgot to mention the long panel along the spine (ala Academy) – a good idea to cut out that seam along the top and I’m looking forward to seeing it under a coat of primer.

I’ve been looking at the various intake and undercarriage doors. A real curate’s egg here in that the intake doors appear really thick as do some of the undercarriage doors – the door which attaches to the undercarriage leg lacks inner detail – however the inner detail of the speed brakes is very good.

 

Initial conclusions.  I have always thought the Esci kit was the friendliest to make (not done the Academy one) and in many ways still has excellent detail, the Fujimi British Phantoms are still good and are far easier to put together. I think Airfix have overcomplicated their kit and have not been able to produce fine enough detail (I’m thinking Esci slats v Airfix,  Esci pylons v Airfix). £25 for Airfix against £30 for the ever diminishing Fujimi ones – afraid it’s the latter for me.

 

This is a personal view and I'll admit some of the issues are probably down to my ham fistedness.

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Iain

My first one ended in the bin, nothing seemed to fit. My second one had an FGR.2 sprue (now swapped with someone who wanted it), so that was put to one side. My third one was better, and is now in the paint shop. I found the top spine was very fiddly to get in right, but by gluing it bit by bit it went OK in the end. The belly strap was too thick and took a fair bit of sanding to get right, the same for the catapult hooks under the wings. One detail I could not find in the instructions, but that was me missing them, was the cutout for the Fletcher tanks. I did manage to sort that one OK. As you said, the top of the wings fit nicely, but the slats need careful placement.

When I was painting, the nose leg broke in half, I think the way Airfix has done it makes it fragile. CMK does a replacement (for the Fujimi kit) which may fit, but I will just pin the leg for added strength.

As you say, there is a lot of unused plastic, not sure what Airfix were thinking there.

I like the wheels with the weights, but why 2 sets of gear doors? Most modellers would be capable of cutting a single part into 3 pieces.

At least these will be more available than Fujimi.

 

That's my twopennort so far.

 

Ted

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I have assembled my first kit. So I could correctly assess it, I didn't paint anything.

 

My summary is I like it but:

 

Lots of tape needed to hold the two fuselage together before gluing.

 

Intakes ar a right fiddle to get right and I ended up using White Stuff to hide the joints.

 

Compared to the Fujimi kits, the nosewheel leg seemed  too tall (It may have been me not removing the link correctly). I don't like the two part assembly - why couldn't Airfix put in a normal and a one piece extended leg like Fujimi and even Matchbox did?

 

And who designed the pilot's coaming in three parts? Talk about fiddly.

 

And why is the top of the fuselage a seperate piece? It results in two seams to clean up instead of one.

 

However when finished it looks the job.

 

To Airfix: B+ Good effort but could have done better.

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Hello iain and all,

 

I received my example last week and I've done some "dry runs" and measuring. In my example:

- lots of bad sink marks in forward fuselage doors; some careful filling and sanding required

- terrible sink marks also on both fins

- RAT door missing

- air louvres on top and bottom of intakes missing as well the ones on rear fuselage

- "weighed" wheels; I don't know if this is true or not but a former Phantom crew chief says that tires never "bulged"

- gust locks molded on flaps

- the panel lines on bottom of the wing tips don't match photos

 

I too was wondering the spine part. Instead of one seam now you have deal with two. I'm currently building the Tamiya 1/32 F-4J Phantom. Many modellers praise that kit because there is no need to sand the fuselage seam. I would have happily sanded one straight seam if it would have helped me with the intakes for example...

 

On the positive side the decals look superb. This is propably the first kit ever to have all correct stencils, panel numbers and warning/caution markings for a British Phantom. I also like the surface detailing. It's very sharp and looks good.

 

Kind Regards,

Antti

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Funny that you should say that, I have noticed that the release of this kit hasn't caused the usual EBay dump of previous existing kits of the type (ie Fujimi!), I think that is rather telling.

It seems to me that the real advantage of the new kit is the poseable options, full depth intakes and the decal sheet.

 

For me surface detail finesse is more important, how do the two kits compare on that score?

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I've got mine and have had a good look through the parts on the sprues (although I've not started building it yet.) Here's my personal view...

 

Lots of plastic in the box to cater for many different options. Is some of it 'wasted'? Yes, if you don't want to build those particular options, but not for people who do. Me? Mine will all be displayed on the ground, possibly with the wings folded. I'm unlikely to take advantage of the radar options or the ability to pose it in the launch position so for me those are unnecessary parts, but there are plenty of people who will so I don't mind.

 

Surface detail looks good overall. Are some of the panel lines missing or incorrect? Probably, but I wouldn't know and to be honest it's a such a minor thing that for me it doesn't detract from the kit. Someone with more expertise on the Phantom will be more bothered by it, but if it bugs them that much they can always fill and rescribe it. There isn't a lot of detail on the wing pylons, granted, but mine will have ordnance loaded so this won't be noticeable.

 

Personally my first impression is that this is a top notch kit from Airfix and one that the modelling community has been asking for for a long time. Price is reasonable for what you get (imagine how much it would cost if it were made by Hasegawa or Tamiya!) and we've got the FGR.2 to come. Great stuff.

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7 hours ago, 71chally said:

Funny that you should say that, I have noticed that the release of this kit hasn't caused the usual EBay dump of previous existing kits of the type (ie Fujimi!), I think that is rather telling.

It seems to me that the real advantage of the new kit is the poseable options, full depth intakes and the decal sheet.

 

For me surface detail finesse is more important, how do the two kits compare on that score?

I'll be keeping my Fujimi kits, they are simple to make and have enough detail in all the right places for me. I did suspect the Airfix kit might be a bit fiddly to assemble with all the options they have designed in. The lack of details like the various vents and the clumsy looking undercarriage would irritate me every time I looked at the Airfix kit (I keep thinking about how disappointingly awful the Airfix 1/72 Fw190 A was and how that kit should really have had us casting off our Hasegawa ones but didn't).

A "B+" as someone put it isn't really good enough to send the Fujimi kit packing, especially if you have to rob one for the pylons etc.

 

Duncan B

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Hi all,

 

Thought I would have to butt in at this point and will probably regret doing so but after spending a pleasant few hours last weekend building my kit to the stage of primer I have to say my experience of the kit is some what different.

Regarding the missing vents and other details  I agree that its a obvious feature of the real aircraft and I would have expected these to be depicted as Airfix scanned the aircraft in question.

The build so far for me has be pain free no fit issues what so ever except of a small misalignment of the forward end of the underside plate, a swipe or two with a sanding sponge fixed that.

Once careful thought about waht was hindering the fit and test fitting was conducted all the parts offered a trouble free fit for me.

The spine insert was carefully glued in stages and once the glue dried fully a scribing tool was lightly passed along the seam line to make it blend into the rest of the model.(Made easier by the typical panel lines I have to admitt)

The same process was employed with both intakes and while they did need a little sanding to match the contour of the fuselage section nothing more than careful dry fitting and superglue was required.

The underside was slightly different in the fit was compromised by the intake trucking at the forward end and this was simply sanded until flush fit was obtained.

The wing tip approach by Airfix resulted in a large step and to overcome this all the location dimples were removed and the mating surfaces sanded checked and sanded again until a nice fit was obtained.

Not got up to the undercarriage stages etc yet, so who knows what I will find when I do.

So to sum up in total agreement with what Bobski says above.

Oh and heres the proof before any primer was applied. The one part canopy offers good protection for the cockpit as evidenced by the reaction to the superglue kicker and the tail is not glued in but those ILS aerials will need removing for a Navy airframe.

I shall get my coat...........:coat:

See you at Bolton Show

Rick G

 

Sjt5nj.jpg

 

E8Z5jC.jpg

 

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It looks great Rick. I wanted the Airfix Phantom to be the best out there (and for my Fujimi stash to become redundant) so my disappointment at a missed opportunity for Airfix shines through in my comments about the kit. However Airfix should be applauded for listening to the public and for producing one at all.

 

Duncan B

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After having received and looked over my Airfix Phantom I think the only major problem are the intakes - missing vents on top and bottom.

As far as I can see nice resin replacements for parts 5 & 6 (inner intakes/splitter plates) would solve this altogether. A replacement part like this could also deal with the missing hundreds of small holes in the rear portion of the splitter plate.

That leaves the also missing vents on the rear fuselage above the engines - a decal would do the trick for me in this area.

 

Yet - I still don't get it.....how could Airfix leave the vents off? Did they intend to do them as decals but forgot to include them? They must have known this would become an immediate and major point of criticism if they left them off intentionally.

Otherwise I quite like the kit, ok - I've never seen the Fujimi FG.1 but I like the many building options, the ordinance included, the decal sheet. Some minor issues with missing detail such as the inner pylons can be solved quickly by scribing; or add some rivets on the airbrake inner sides, a. s. o.

Not too fine panel lines I do not consider a major drawback, don't know yet if I will deal with them - and when, how. May be a coat of Tamiya spray can primer or Mr. Surfacer and some sanding.

See how it goes together...but not without a fix of those vents.....

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Hi Ingo

You're right about the intake vents but i really think people should not need to pay extra to fix a basic error.

Get back to us once you have got the thing together - be interesting to see if you have modified your views.

 

I'm just about to work on the leading edge slats and the inserts above the exhausts (whic also lack vents).

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28 minutes ago, iainpeden said:

Hi Ingo

You're right about the intake vents but i really think people should not need to pay extra to fix a basic error.

Get back to us once you have got the thing together - be interesting to see if you have modified your views.

 

I'm just about to work on the leading edge slats and the inserts above the exhausts (whic also lack vents).

I will not start it so very soon because I have two other kits to finish first. Hopefully by then someone will have addressed the vent thing.

Exactly - I like to spend extra money (if at all) rather on additions (decal sheets, weapons, etc.) than on corrections like this.

 

ps: I'd like to learn about what you're doing with the leading edge slats...

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1 hour ago, Ingo Degenhardt said:

I will not start it so very soon because I have two other kits to finish first. Hopefully by then someone will have addressed the vent thing.

Exactly - I like to spend extra money (if at all) rather on additions (decal sheets, weapons, etc.) than on corrections like this.

 

ps: I'd like to learn about what you're doing with the leading edge slats...

I am doing it with closed slats and folded wings. I removed the locating tabs and sanded the inner faces until the fit was perfect - it only took a couple of light swipes with a medium sanding stick. I have slightly drooped both ailerons.

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1 hour ago, iainpeden said:

I am doing it with closed slats and folded wings. I removed the locating tabs and sanded the inner faces until the fit was perfect - it only took a couple of light swipes with a medium sanding stick. I have slightly drooped both ailerons.

Sounds like we're doing thesame thing. Which markings are you proposing?

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1 hour ago, Rhino said:

Sounds like we're doing thesame thing. Which markings are you proposing?

It depends how it turns out; might be 892, might be NASU or I might wait for the xtradecal sheet with with checkerboard rudder of 43.

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I have here Xtradecal sheet 72-268, because I want to make two aircraft of 892 in 1978 - one of them the 'COLONIAL NAVY'.

I have noticed that the sheet got the red tail triangle wrong, at least according to their drawings - the red colour goes right to and around the fin's leading edge but this is wrong I think - Airfix got it right, the leading edge area is EDSG.

By the way - does anyone know about the under wing 'modifications' on XV590 when it was modified by the USN? My book about HMS Ark Royal says the serials were overpainted (possibliy with something like FS36440 Light Gull Gray - it doesn't look White) and they might have been replaced with something else. The book says it is not known what kind of writing this might have been.

I am already wondering what to do in this area.

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