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VT Red Sox Fan

1/72 Monogram F-4C/D Build

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Here is a F-4 in Vietnam showing the speed brake partially open"

 

AIM-7 missile loaded with CBU's on centerline rack.

 

Jari

 

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Posted (edited)

@Finn—Thanks Jari—that is a great photo.  An additional benefit of this shot is the weathering around the AIM-7 bays/rear wing.  The streaks from airflow in flight/rain from sitting on the ground are interesting—question for the weapons crew monitoring the thread—aircrew welcome to opine😉😎—is the white cover on the back of the missile still on when the acft takes flight and blown off when the one time use motor is ignited?  When I paint an AIM-9B, should this cover also be on?  Based on this picture I am now planning on leaving the back of the missiles white or aluminum— FWIW, I decided on using 2Bobs paint guide for the bands/color of the AIM-9B/AIM-7s—thank you all for the great inputs!  Cheers Erwin 

Edited by VT Red Sox Fan
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Posted (edited)

While this project is taking a long time, I am very happy with the results--this update will cover the last month which saw the final weathering, putting the F-4 on its wheels (I would copy @giemmeif I knew how to do the dancing emojis 🙂 )--trust me it was a very satisfying moment.  Following decals, I used a gloss coat to seal everything up and then did a Tempera paint wash.  Overall, I used black toned down with white & based on @giemme's build, plus photos from @Gene K, I made a black, white and brown wash around areas where the beed air went over slats and around the front of the stabilators.  I felt the wash really assisted in smoothing out sprue repairs on raised panels, and binding everything together while highlighting the amazing complex system of systems the F-4 was--once I was done, I sealed it all up with a flat coat (finally).  I learned something doing this.  When I build my F-105s, I encountered the frosting problem @billn53 experienced on his F-105--on this build I airbrushed simple Testers Dull coat and was amazed at the results!  No frosting and it seemed to "thin" the coats down.  From now on, I believe I will airbrush my models entirely--I know I got a lot of inputs from the gallery regarding my spray can use 😉  Putting wheels on this Phantom, the metalized afterburners and stabilators went on with out error.  I would like to thank @giemme for his thorough build--I believe the main wheels are a highlight of this build and I based my work off his (the afterburner cans are the same story)--this simply would not have been as effective for me with out him making the time to share knowledge.  For the leading edge of the intakes, I used Tamiya's metal weathering silver to provide a worn feel to the edge as I believe based on inputs from across the community this was metal that was exposed when the paint wore off. Finally I painted the AIM-9Bs, AIM-7s, ALQ-87 ECM, and ALQ-101 ECM pods (FWIW, my research indicated Monogram made a spectacular early ALQ-101 for their F-4C/D).  Surprisingly, I found it difficult to find period photos of the stores, so I went with Eduard's painting instructions for the bands on the air - air missiles.  I have since completely painting the ECM pods based on Lou Drendal's Air Force in Vietnam book--the ALQ-87 is white, with a glossy main body and flat nose, tail and attenas--clearly there was differentiation between these parts on the real pods, but, I felt radome tan was to stark of a contrast.  The ALQ-101 is overall white, with a gloss black nose/tail cones and a flat black gondola.  I did not have stencils, but I liked the results of masking and air brushing the air-air weapons.  Next up is canopies (will be lowering the hooks as @Gene K pointed out needed to be done while trying to replicate the canopy cutter work that @giemme did)  Special thanks to everyone who has provided input--please keep it coming--I can take it and the Phantom thanks you 😉  I know someone will notice--I will be making the 3rd kill star a half star 🙂 Thank you all for making this a project which has turned out better than I would have thought--best to all, Erwin

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Edited by VT Red Sox Fan
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Posted (edited)

Weapons:  I decided to go with the out of the box air to air configuration provided by Monogram consisting of the gun pod, AIM-9B x4, AIM-7 x4, ALQ-101 and ALQ-87. As described above, I used the Eduard’s 1/48 painting instructions for AIM-9B & AIM7 missiles.  The ALQ-101 and ALQ-87 painting was based on photos from Lou Drendel & Norm Taylor’s “Air Force Legends 216//Unites States Air Force in Vietnam”.  Of note I finally found a picture of “The Saint” in that book—maybe it will be my next F-4 project.  Finally, I drilled out the backs of the AIM-9Bs, and rear AIM-7s and dabbed Alclad 2 Aircraft Aluminum as most references indicate these one use missiles had natural metal nozzles.  Finally, I painted the data bus on the AIM-9Bs Tamiya Rubber Black (XF-85), painted the gyro stabilizers Model Master Gunmetal and the IR seekers Tamiya Gloss Black.  I thought I had captured pictures of the gun pod construction—I failed in this regard and apologize--as @billn53 points out making the time to write makes us all better--will work on getting better next time--your B-58 build is going awesome by the way.  In line with my research, I decided to build the gun pod out of the box—the front cover was painted Alclad 2 Steel and the gun muzzle was painted gun metal.  I took a cue from @giemme used a pin to make the vent holes in the muzzle--I must say his idea produces impressive results and highly recommend this technique--will be using the future.  The rest of the gun pod was painted Tamiya Olive Drab in line with my research which confirmed the work @giemme did on post #735 in conjunction with @Gene K. I decided to leave the gun pod pylon came grey instead of white, because the photo evidence did not indicate a great deal of color differentiation between the aircraft fuselage and this node for the weapon to my eye.  The ALQ-87 is white, with a glossy main body and flat nose, tail and antennas--clearly there was differentiation between these parts on the real pods, but, I felt radome tan was to stark of a contrast.  The ALQ-101 is overall white, with a gloss black nose/tail cones and a flat black gondola.  While I did not have stencils for the weapons, I felt the bands looked convincing.  Once complete, I attached  the weapons to the model.  

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Edited by VT Red Sox Fan
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I shamelessly leveraged @giemme's build for the canopies!  (Well, one might say I did that this whole build, but if you are new to the Phantom, he & @Gene K made this a go to center of knowledge for anyone looking to build a USAF F-4C/D from Vietnam--thank you both for making the time--along with the entire team that made @giemme's build over 1000 posts of knowledge!  Anyway, on to my build and the canopies 🙂 1st up was to fix the issues @Gene K pointed out with interior rails riding too high up on the canopies.  Since I used white glue, this fix was very easy to make--the big lesson learned for me is photo etch works really well on clear parts with white glue.  Once dry, I completed the canopy rails by following @giemme’s build for the emergency canopy cutters, magnetic deviation cards and other stenciling.  This biggest difference was that instead of aluminum from a can, I used heavy kitchen foil the canopy cutter holder.  Once done it was on to final touches.  Next blog will be finishing touches and my impressions of Monogram's F-4 kit, which will be a pretty positive run down.  Thank you all for your posts, suggestions and ideas for improvements--I am very happy the way this has turned out & have learned a lot about both the Phantom and upping my aircraft modeling game 🙂 Best, Erwin 

 

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Superb detailing, Erwin - it's gonna make a great effect  on the whole final aspect of your model :clap:

 

Ciao

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Posted (edited)

I like to think this build grew me in the most important way—building e-friendships with fellow modelers who have helped me greatly improve—but most importantly I love following their current builds—it is what our hobby is all about.  Special thanks goes to @giemme@Gene K, @billn53, @f111guru, and @RidgeRunner for their awesome support and contributions. 🙂   I hope the pictures of the finished model provide some satisfaction in how much you can build on potential for growth!  The final portion was simply bending the intake air speed probes out of copper wire and painting the Alclad 2 Airframe Aluminum.   

 

Ok, on to my observations for Monogram’s F-4C/D kit.  In my humble opinion, it is the one to beat in 1/72—its major let downs are incomplete intake trunking (shared with Hasegawa F-4s and solved with @Gene K intake technique), a canopy that requires some work to fit properly—my one piece canopy also cracked, and I have to say the kit's clear plastic is extremely brittle—this model uses a canopy from another Monogram F-4.   I purchased a Rob Taurus canopy set designed for Hasegawa's kit for my next Monogram F-4 build--I plan on building it w/ the canopy closed so I think the Hasegawa lines can work towards a clean fit.  The vari ramps are also need work OOB to be accurate & they are weakest part of my build since I did not improve them—on my next build, I will likely junk them in favor of a Hasegawa.  It would be great if Academy scaled down their 1/48 F-4C/D, but until I believe the advantages of Mongram’s effort nudge out Hasegawa’s (barely)

 

Some will argue the raised panel lines are a major detractor and give a big advantage to Hasegawa—to my the eyes the finesse of Monogram’s work does not let the overall project down.  I probably did not do the Monogram Mafia justice with my sophomoric stretched sprue work—but hey, I am getting better and do not run away from raised panel lines like I once did.  If building a Vietnam war Phantom, one must also check their resources as Monogram clearly used a post Vietnam F-4 to base their 1/48 and 1/72 kits given the reinforcing plate on the stabiliator.  On my particular version, I sanded this off and leveraged foil and stretched sprue to rebuild the detail after looking at a lot of pictures and video clips of F-4s in Vietnam.

 

In my opinion, strengths of Monogram's kit abound—the cockpit rivals aftermarket sets required to bring Trumpeter’s F-105s up to date—not too bad for a kit over 30 years old!  One could argue that not providing cockpit boxes for the LORAN antenna is a major oversight given the amount of effort Monogram put into this project—I would agree, but for those interested, Detail and Scale’s F-4C/D volumes covers these upgrades well.  I was also impressed with the ECM stores—I cant argue with those who say the quality of the weapons stores is about average, but to me they look the part.  Monogram is to be commended for including the gun pod on the kit--@giemme used it as a basis for opening up his gun pod, and it looks accurate to my eyes out of the box.  I do wish Monogram had scaled down their 1/48 camera to 1/72.  Special thanks to @f111guru  for sharing his period weapons loading pictures which played an important role in arming this Phantom. 

 

I believe Monogram’s wheel wells, drooped flaps, wing fule dumps and air breaks are strengths over their Hasegawa cousins.  Some might argue that Monogram should have done the air break struts as a separate parts—I would agree, and am considering drilling this part out and working a replacement strut as @giemme did in a future build.  The natural metal tail section is impressive and looks awesome with foil and Aclad II—I believe Alcald 2 would have been fine overall, but I still like a foil base.  The landing gear are impressive and with help from @giemme build, @Gene K and Scott Wilson’s rundown in ARC the main wheels ironically became my favorite and most satisfying part of this project—no resin, just friendship, air brushing and research!

 

As far as after market additions and techniques go, here is my run down.  The Airwaves photo etch worked fine for me in this build—perhaps my expectations were low going into the build, but I believe they look the part—I do acknowledge that without @giemme and @Gene K pulling me out of the fire, the modifcations required for a Vietnam bird might not have happened.   The Aires Hasegawa burner cans fit without issue and are a major strength of my build—kit cans just cant compete. 

 

Painting—ok, I am going to catch flak—but I still liked the Top Notch vinal masks to start my camo scheme.  Please note I said start—I found it very doable to modify the scheme based on historical pictures.  Now the biggest slam on me—this will be my last spray can camo scheme—the layer of paint out of the can is simply too thick for this scale.  The tons of valuable feedback I receved me have convinced me te airbrush is the way to go 🙂  While the washes reduced contrasts and scaled the camo, I believe it would have turned out better with an airbrush.  I might still do the very light underside greys in a spray can, but I am now a full airbrush convert.  I was especially impressed with how I got a nice dull with simple Testors lacquer flat with an airbrush vice the frosting  @billn53  & I experienced on our Thuds.  This Phantom benefitted immensely from it.

 

I was very happy with Print Scales decals—the fonts seemed spot on and I appreciate they pursued some unordinary subjects.  Based on my research over the last 6 months, the only things they missed on '601 were the final kill mark was a half vice a full star & there was no "601" on the front strut door.  One other shortcoming was the red and white stripe did not extend the near full length of the canopy as photos indicate it did—Tamiya Red and white easily solved this problem.  My only issue with Print Scale is that they insist on not sharing the resources of their research on the markings.  This would be very helpful in accurizing the paint schemes for their markings.  @RidgeRunner and I discussed this in my last build.  For what its worth Martin, I included the The Honey Pot II with its kill marking based on the picture you provided following my build—thus proving its never too late 😉 Got to say I think it looks awesome with 601—thank you for your help!  I was also overall happy with Microscale’s F-4 stencils, although I think they could have supplied the prominent stencils on the landing gear and air breaks. 

 

I believe a fair criticism of my observarions would be that I have not built the Hasegawa kit.   I think my bias is based primarily on the fact that, 1) raised panel lines are not a detractor for me & 2) the cockpit, wheels, wheel wells, air break and flaps did not require the elevating work @giemme needed to initiate on his build.  I believe, where my build fell short is more a critique of my skills and not of the kit’s. TO be clear,  I am a fan of Hasegawa and have 2x F-4Cs in the stash—one could call me out here—I am saving them for a light gray scheme as I believe the engraved panel lines will work more in my favor vice the forgiving nature of the Vietnam scheme with stretched sprue repairs.

 

Revell Germany or Revell (whoever owns the molds), if reading, please consider re-releasing this classic F-4C/D—you did the F-4J—why not the F-4C/D—you’d give the competition a run  for their money!  (I had heard Accurate Miniatures was loaned the molds)  Better yet, maybe I is time for an updated F-4C/D in 1/72 given the impact of this work horse in the Vietnam War.  Academy—please consider making a C/D version of your F-4 family with full intake trunking!  I am toying with a couple next Phantom Ideas—converting and Academy F-4J into a D (use unslotted stabilaotrs/engrave a air- air refueling receptacle while eliminating probe door/update cockpit--is that all I need to do?)--I am also thinking of pulling an @giemme and integrating a Monogram F-4C/D wing onto an old Hasegawa F-4E for a more accurate Vietnam long nose, or diving head first into Airfix’s Fg.1 (been tracking @Gene K's comments closely).  Then I go back to wanting to build “The Saint” now that I have a refrence!  All that said, I know this for sure, my next Phantom will be better than this because all of you have made the time to help me!  I am about to pick up the family and move based on our recent promotion, so I will be a lurker until we unpack out of carboard—but I guarantee you will all inspire me to build—I think the starter project for our next place will be a Paul Boulton Defiant—it is Britmodler after all and I need to pay homage to those who linked us together!  That said, I might just take a crack at the Airfix FG1 kit with my Big Ed Set since I might be going through Phantom Phreak with drawl—lurking on @Gene K's blogs convinced me the Big Ed would be a wise investment 🙂  Thank you all again for your inputs and help in making this project a satisfying build that I love to look at on my shelf.  It has been an awesome build--and I am sure you will be happy to hear that my wife and kids are still staying with me after all this 😉 Hope all is well & build on! Erwin

 

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Edited by VT Red Sox Fan
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Very nice that indeed. I've a plan for one of these down the road, I shall shamelessly plunder this thread for information & inspiration. :)

Steve.

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8 hours ago, stevehnz said:

Very nice that indeed. I've a plan for one of these down the road, I shall shamelessly plunder this thread for information & inspiration. :)

Steve.

Thank Steve--means a lot coming from a fellow builder.  I hope I was open minded in my thoughts about the different Phantom kits and my growing skills--tried to find your latest build to grow my knowledge but couldn't find it--pls let me kow--I bet I can learn a lot from you!  Best, Erwin 

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Very nice build. The only thing that I would like to notice is that since you have done such a good job with both kits it would be good to invest in buying a small display case to protect your models from dust and other "dangers"!

 

👍

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19 hours ago, VT Red Sox Fan said:

Ok, on to my observations for Monogram’s F-4C/D kit. 

Excellent summary of your observations ... and your plans for future Phantom builds. 

 

Hope you give the new mold Hasegawa Phantoms a try since they are great kits (don't bother with the older kits). As for your comments about the Has kit: speed brakes and aileron don't start to creep open/down until the airplane has been sitting, so without hassle, the model is correct right after shutdown;  you already have experience making seamless intakes, so that will  be easy;  the wheel wells can be detailed with a little plastic and wire; and the cockpit can be dressed up with an inexpensive Eduard colored etch set.  The kit does require careful building, and in that regard, I can send a little (incomplete) summary of "tips" I did many moons ago ... but you have the skill to trial fit and make small adjustments as necessary!

 

Looking forward to whatever path/kits you take for your next Phantom, Erwin.

 

Gene K

 

 

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Gene K said:

Excellent summary of your observations

Agreed 100%, great job :thumbsup: 

 

20 minutes ago, Gene K said:

Hope you give the new mold Hasegawa Phantoms a try since

I agree even more

 

20 minutes ago, Gene K said:

I can send a little (incomplete) summary of "tips"

My advice is to take advantage of this offer, Erwin - plenty of little and not so little pieces of advice that will help you upping your game in building Phantoms :thumbsup:

 

Ciao

Edited by giemme

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5 hours ago, Shalako said:

Very nice build. The only thing that I would like to notice is that since you have done such a good job with both kits it would be good to invest in buying a small display case to protect your models from dust and other "dangers"!

 

👍

Shalako--I do believe you are correct on the display--working on my marketing techniques!  Thank you for the thumbs up--Best, Erwin 

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12 hours ago, VT Red Sox Fan said:

tried to find your latest build to grow my knowledge but couldn't find it--pls let me kow--I bet I can learn a lot from you!

Not much to see for a while, the last couple of years or so have been somewhat inconvenient so no building, but lots of observing & filing away ideas till I get back to it at some yet to be determined time in the future. :( In spite of Gene's excellent advice, I believe there is a place for older, less complex kits, they're great for doing different scheme where the appearance is more important than the ultimate detail, that kind of spells my modelling philosophy, lots of different schemes with adequate (for me) attention to detail, but in all things, whatever works for you. My last build, nearly two years ago.

Steve

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Posted (edited)

@Gene K, @giemme & @stevehnz--great points by all!  I do think Monogram's cockpit is very detailed OOB--it is hard to beat.  By the way your silver Mosquito looks awesome!  Steve--I totally get it with the moving and fast paced lives we live that frequently keep us away from our workbenches and brushes--I am not looking fwd to packing up my workshop--the only consolation will be unpacking it 🙂   Thank you all for the awesome feedback & thoughts on how to improve

Edited by VT Red Sox Fan
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Erwin,

Great finish. Especially along side your F-105. I can say I don't recall loading an F-4 with a gun pod and missiles. Loads I do recall are the SUU-23 centerline and what we call a flat two CBU-58's on the inboard station TERS with 2 AIM-7E's aft wells and ECM pods in the forward 2 missile wells. Far to many years ago. Talking June to December 1972.

Took this just after finishing an upload. Udorn RTAFB Thailand Sept 1972

F-4D-PN-64-0977-CBU-Mk-82Udorn72

Again great finish.

 

Ron VanDerwarker

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Ron, thank you for compliments!  The perspective is very valuable--FWIW, I did see a few pics in Drendel's book Air-Air load outs ant gun pod--I believe they were in 67 - 69 time frame.  That said, not having served during this time frame I do not have your bench of knowledge.  Was it normal for air to ground missions for ECM pods to go into the AIM-7 wells?  Great photo!  Best,Erwin

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As memory serves, I've seen and had to deal with ECM pods attached to the inboard pylons as well. Generally with a MER rack load of what ever the bombload on the centerline. The one load I had not been given was the station 1 and 9 (outboard pylon) MER load. Ever load I was assigned had outboard fuel tanks. BTW headed your direction the end of May for a wedding, NE New York state. If time permits, I might drive to Burlington to see if the VT ANG has any of there aircraft on display.

 

Ron VanDerwarker

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@f111guru--very interesting info on bomb loads and ECM locations--from photos, the seems MER loads on stations 1 & 9 were the exception to the norm.  Grew up in VT, but now am in the South East, heading to Mid-Atlantic.  If you are hunting VTANG F-4D display, it has been relocated to the VT militia museum at Camp Johnson--believe the EB-57 is at the ANG base--its been a while...  Best, Erwin

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