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Harry_the_Spider

British Phantoms Airfix or Fujimi/Italeri?

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I don’t need any more kits and I don’t need another Phantom. I really don’t.

 

However, Christmas is coming and I’ll be asked what I want, so obviously after 0.02 seconds of umming and ahhing I’m going to say “PHANTOM”.

 

So, which should I go for, the Airfix of the Fujim / Italeri re-box? 

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The matter's been discussed at length here on BM in the past, 

 

However... IIRC, the general concensus is that if you're an Airfix phanboy (see what I did there), then Airfix is the way to go. If you're not, then Hasegawa still has the detail edge. They both have issues, Airfix's being soft detail, crevasses for panel lines and some missing vent details on the intake (represented by decals, of all things) and also near the exhausts, and possibly other things, while Hasegawa's problems are their fussy construction and the price (although Italeri's reissue will most likely negate that problem), as well as the lack of ordnance (as is typical for Hasegawa) and possibly an 80s cockpit(ie a bit short on detail). Both will give you a nice model, final choice is up to you and may hinge on the markings in the box if you have a preference for something in particular. I've got a few of each and to my mind, either would be a nice build - Airfix might be simpler and quicker, Hasegawa the more rewarding FOR ME, you may feel differently.

 

No doubt others who are better informed will chime in and give you differing opinions. Do with the information what you will.

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The short answer is the Fujimi/Italeri re-box.

I have made over 200 1/72 Phantoms, including 40+ Fujimi British Phantoms and 2 (new) Airfix ones

 

The positives of the Airfix kit are the decal sheet, the intakes, arguably the cockpit and the construction of the fuselage which removes the seam along the spine. You also have the option of strap or no strap on the under-wing and can angle the tail planes for take off.

 

The negatives are legion.

The plastic is soft and the panel lines far too deep - I have regular access to a F-4 in a museum and the kit lines are deeper than the 1:1 a/c. Construction is peculiar in that the lower wing has 2 boxes which protube into the fuselage and can catch on the underside of the intake trunking leading to gaps. There are 2 fin options (rather than just 1 with a choice of fintips ala Hasegawa) and the engineering of the kit leads to a 3 way join which is not easy to get right (lots of filler). The Airfix one comes with 3 pairs of outer wings, folded, extended and with front slats deployed for take off - the join line is on the line of the outer pylons meaning a problem if the a/c is built "naked".  Undercarriage door and airbrake detail are poor compared to the Fujimi/Italeri one. Various vents are missing on the Airfix kit and the outer-wing fuel tanks are "soft", and inaccurate because they have the strengthening strip on both sides rather than just the left side. At the end of construction you end up with a lot of unused plastic. The RN version shouldn't have the ILS aerials.

 

The Italeri re-box is the revised Fujimi moulding with better detailed exhausts and air brake cut outs.

 

As they are the same price, apparently, and unless you need the intakes and under-wing strapping I'd go for the re-box with home made intake blanks (which add colour anyway).

 

@Rob G appears to have got the Fujimi and Hasegawa ones mixed up - and for that argument give me the Esci/Italeri rebox anyday for the C/D and the Italeri one for the F-4E/F/G

 

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Don't quite know what the relevance of the Hasegawa kit is in this comparison as their  1/72 FG.1/FGR.2 as also released by FROG dates back to the second half of the 1960s and does not compare to either the Fujimi or Airfix kits.       

 

Built several of the Fujimi kits and own but have not built a couple of the Airfix and the general impression is that the Fujimi mouldings were quite literally a good bit sharper than the Airfix which as mentioned above are a bit soft in several ways.     As  well as having much finer panel detail in general Fujimi also managed to cater for several small but significant minor details which Airfix either deemed irrelevant or were beyond their 21st. Century scanning technology.     It is worth the extra care to ensure a smooth fit for the Fujimi air intakes and the dip between the engine bulges on the lower rear fuselage could be a little deeper. 

 

Depending on version the Fujimi kits offer either an air-to-air including gunpod or air-to-ground weapons load including recce pod , reasonable cockpit detail for the time with multi-part seats and decals for panels but they do not include the folding options of the Airfix of which the IFR probe option especially is a bit basic and not quite connected.      Also seem to recall that some of the Fujimi UK variants included optional single/multi-part canopies.     FG.1s from both offer the extended nosewheel leg which some seem to get excited over but is of very limited use other than during catapult launches and airshow static display.

 

Having seen the Airfix kit and depending on price I think in any future purchases I would favour the Fujimi/Italeri kit although back with the initial release I found that the extensive decal sheets were prone to silvering but that may have changed in later batches and should not be an issue with the Italeri rebox.

Edited by Des
those bugles were actually bulges

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37 minutes ago, Harry_the_Spider said:

Thanks all, I have to ask why you have built 200+ Phantoms though.

Because he hasn't made it to 300 yet.

 

Regards,

Murph

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This talk of Italeri reboxing the Fujimi kit is music to my ears indeed. I picked up another Fujimi one when  HLJ had them at a good price recently, unsurprisingly, they'd sold out when I went back for another. I don't think I could manage 200+ but I'd still like another couple. Other than the pair I got from Lucky Model early in the year, the Airfix one is a bit on the spendy side out here.

Steve.

 

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Fujimi Phantom is by far the best kit for surface detail and finish etc.

The main advantage in the Airfix kit is the option for deployed flaps and leading droops etc.

 

Personally I much prefer the finesse of the Fujimi/Italeri.

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Fujimi. 

 

If I laid out the Airfix kit parts and the Fujimi kits parts on a table for you and asked you to point to which kit you thought was produced in the 21st Century I would put money on you picking out the Fujimi kit. The Airfix kit looks like it was produced from moulds that were actually designed for a diecast model. The surface detail is soft with huge panel lines, the level of detail on the undercarriage legs, for example, is just nowhere near as good as the corresponding Fujimi parts. I would have remortgaged the house to buy Airfix Phantoms by the lorry load if they had been any sort of improvement over the Fujimi kit but the truth is they don't come close, detail has been sacrificed for novelty features. Airfix really missed a huge opportunity to produce the definitive 1/72 scale F-4 Phantom.

 

If you really want a folded up Phantom then there are conversion sets out there for the Fujimi kit that will cost you less than buying all the aftermarket parts to make a half decent Phantom out of the Airfix kit. Harsh but true in my opinion.

 

Duncan B

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2 hours ago, Harry_the_Spider said:

Thanks all, I have to ask why you have built 200+ Phantoms though.

I have every USN squadron in the days when they were really colourful, every RAF and RN unit done including 11 (at the last count) of XV 470 from her first days to last, every nationality, every camo scheme, most of the ANG units in their colourful markings, most of the USMC units etc etc. At one point before SWIMBO decided enough was enough all were displayed in my den/library/model room/ the fourth bedroom, now I only have about 100 on the shelves. 

My dad had an 11 By 11 room built on the back of his garage as his model room; sadly on his passing 200 phantoms and about 300 other completed kits went into a skip - but he had enjoyed them.

 

oh that,s forgetting the 30 or so in 1/48 that are on shelves in the loft.

 

care to guess what’s on my workbench at the moment?

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I've built a half dozen in the past couple years. My favorite for USN or early USAF are the old

1/72 Monogram F-4J and F-4C/D kits. I did a British F-4K Phantom, Yellow Bird using the 1/72

Fujimi kit. It was among the most impressive Phantom builds I had ever done rating right up

there with my F-4J Showtime 100. I have looked over the new Airfix kit but if I ever do another

British Phantom it will be a 1/72 Fujimi kit. I find the details are far superior to Airfix's overly deep

panel lines. JMO---John

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10 minutes ago, iainpeden said:

I have every USN squadron in the days when they were really colourful, every RAF and RN unit done including 11 (at the last count) of XV 470 from her first days to last, every nationality, every camo scheme, most of the ANG units in their colourful markings, most of the USMC units etc etc. At one point before SWIMBO decided enough was enough all were displayed in my den/library/model room/ the fourth bedroom, now I only have about 100 on the shelves. 

My dad had an 11 By 11 room built on the back of his garage as his model room; sadly on his passing 200 phantoms and about 300 other completed kits went into a skip - but he had enjoyed them.

 

oh that,s forgetting the 30 or so in 1/48 that are on shelves in the loft.

 

care to guess what’s on my workbench at the moment?

I have to admire your patience to be able to complete your collection. I can fully understand why you would build that many as I would too if I thought I could finish them.

 

Duncan B

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I shared my dad’s passion for Phantoms - initially fuelled by early micro scale sheets and th e original Airfix F-4 - but started again when I got married 33 years ago.

Started with 2 USN a/c and went from there.

50 unmade in the loft , boxes full of decals and at about 8 a year .........

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Impressive stuff Ian, seems like we now all know who to go to should we be looking for 1/72 Phantom spares (just kidding!).
 

To add to what’s been written above, I’m building an original Fujimi British Phantom now (prior to the later RWR fairing and airbrake mods) and the fit is very impressive. I’m just racking my brain trying to work out how best to paint the Royal Navy EDSG / White demarcation line  behind and below the engine intake splitter plates? Seems like I might have masking issues should I assemble this whole section prior to painting.. anyone got any tips? 

oh.. I agree Fujimi over Airfix, unless you want all the extra bits and can live with those panel lines. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

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7 hours ago, iainpeden said:

@Rob G appears to have got the Fujimi and Hasegawa ones mixed up - and for that argument give me the Esci/Italeri rebox anyday for the C/D and the Italeri one for the F-4E/F/G

 

 

I have no idea why I wrote Hasegawa. I can but blame old age and idiocy, and possibly a misspent youth. I meant, of course, Fujimi. I don't have any Hasegawa Phantoms that I know of. I DO have a number of the Esci kits - quite nice, even if they're the 'wrong' version. :)

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6 hours ago, Harry_the_Spider said:

Thanks all, I have to ask why you have built 200+ Phantoms though.

What better subject to build?  :)

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3 hours ago, Rabbit Leader said:

Impressive stuff Ian, seems like we now all know who to go to should we be looking for 1/72 Phantom spares (just kidding!).
 

To add to what’s been written above, I’m building an original Fujimi British Phantom now (prior to the later RWR fairing and airbrake mods) and the fit is very impressive. I’m just racking my brain trying to work out how best to paint the Royal Navy EDSG / White demarcation line  behind and below the engine intake splitter plates? Seems like I might have masking issues should I assemble this whole section prior to painting.. anyone got any tips? 

oh.. I agree Fujimi over Airfix, unless you want all the extra bits and can live with those panel lines. 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

I masked and painted the white then remasked and did the DSG. HTH---John

IMV6SwA.jpg

WsHLX0g.jpg

ZrR63tW.jpg

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Thanks @Johnv... that's looking lovely. So it's obviously quite doo- able. I'll build on. 

Cheers.. Dave 

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@Duncan B has absolutely nailed it in his description.

 

I have seen some superb builds of the Airfix kit, but the panel lines really do look like a Corgi diecast.

In contrast, Airfix's new Buccaneer is quite superb, so it shows that on a good day that they can still do it!

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5 hours ago, 71chally said:

I have seen some superb builds of the Airfix kit, but the panel lines really do look like a Corgi diecast.

 

On another modelling forum I got called names (that I can't repeat here) for pointing that out.  I am glad I'm not alone in that view.  People claim (and they may be right) that the Airfix kit is more accurate in some ways than Fujimi's, but to my mind that is more than offset by the quality of the surface detail and parts fit on the Fujimi kit.

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2 hours ago, Jordi said:

 

On another modelling forum I got called names (that I can't repeat here) for pointing that out.

 

Got to be careful when casting aspersions on good old British (Made in India) engineering.

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Apparently so.  Not sure why so many are so defensive about Airfix quality.  Objectively speaking, the newer Airfix kits have very spotty quality.  Some are excellent, and others are not.  The Sea Fury is missing its very obvious compass and gun sight, and every one of the four I have purchased has had a short shot fuselage (in two different places).  Between the four of them I can get one good fuselage but cutting and gluing.  And as you noted, the panel lines often look like Corgi die cast models.  The 1/72 P-40B kit has panel lines on the vertical fin that are too deep that one of them on my kit actually goes completely through to the point that you can see light passing through it!  

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On 11/1/2019 at 5:38 PM, Harry_the_Spider said:

Thanks all, I have to ask why you have built 200+ Phantoms though.

He's not the only one, I'm over 200 as well.

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I was just reading you guys going on about the Airfix panel lines and, frankly, not believing that they are really THAT bad.

 

Well, I’ve just looked at a build (a nice one too) in WIP and holy moley they are positive trenches. I can’t believe that, when the grande fromage at Airfix saw them, he said, “yep, they’re great, just what we’re aiming for”. 
 

If I was making one I’d have to fill the whole lot.
 

Graham

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This morning I compared the Airfix Buccaneer and Phantom kits, now that both are to hand.

Both need a box 20% less wide, but hey-ho. F the storage, put a tiny kit in a small suitcase-long box with inadequate width so instructions and decals have to be curled. Yeah, that's clever. 

 

But comparing the plastic, the Buccaneer surface detail is so exquisite compared to the rough-as-guts Phantom.

Why Airfix? 

There are kits made for gentlemen and others made for hooligans. 

 

Tony 

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