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McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG.1

1:72 Airfix

 

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A true cold war icon, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II was conceived as an all-weather, long-range fighter bomber for the US Navy. It flew for the first time in 1958 and, over fifty years later, it is still in service with modern air forces such as that of Greece. More than five thousand Phantoms have been built, making it one of the most successful post-war fighter aircraft. The F-4K, known in Royal Navy/RAF service as the FG.1, was developed from the F-4J, itself a development of the original F-4B used by the US Marines Corps and US Navy. The FG.1 was heavily Anglicised, with Rolls Royce Spey engines, a redesigned rear fuselage to accommodate the larger engines, and British avionics. The Phantom served successfully with The Royal Navy and RAF from the late 1960s, finally passed out of service in 1992.

 

As you might expect of an aircraft that was so widely used over such a long period of time, a huge range of Phantom kits are available in all of the major scales. British Phantoms in this scale are somewhat thinner on the ground, however, with the ancient offering from Hasegawa/FROG, the slightly less ancient but still not very good kit from Matchbox, and the quite old but actually rather good Fujimi kit. Thanks to Airfix, there is finally a new kid on the block. Inside the red top-opening box are seven frames of grey plastic and a single clear frame. The mouldings are clean and crisp with plenty of detail, but the panel lines are something of a throwback to Airfix's earlier efforts, being both broader and deeper than those of the Fujimi kit, which is some thirty years older.

 

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Assembly begins with the cockpit. Each of the Martin Baker ejector seats are nicely detailed, with the seat chassis and headbox moulded separately to the cushion and harness. The tub, instrument panels and side consoles are nicely detailed, although decals, rather than moulded details, are used to represent the controls. Before the cockpit can be sandwiched between the fuselage halves, there are small fillets that have to be added at the rear of the fuselage. There are different parts to use depending on whether you want to finish your model in wheels up or down configuration. The engine air intakes also have to be assembled at this stage and fitted inside the fuselage halves. Once complete, the fuselage halves can be joined together and the part for the fuselage spine fitted in place. 

 

The engine turbine faces and the internal parts of the jet exhausts can be fitted from the underside of the fuselage before the central portion of the fuselage, which is moulded with the inner wing halves. The internal structures of the undercarriage bays are added prior to fitting this part in place. With the fuselage and inner wing largely complete, construction turns to the rest of the flying surfaces. The upper parts of the inner wing just fit to the lower wing and but up against the fuselage. The tail planes can then be added and the separately moulded rudder fitted into place. The flaps/ailerons and slats are all moulded separately to the wing, which poses some intriguing possibilities for finishing your model. 

 

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Turning the now largely complete model over, the undercarriage is quite nicely detailed. despite the fairly large number of superfluous parts, you have to cut away the torque scissor link on one side of the nose gear leg in order to depict the leg in non-extended position. A range of ordnance is provided, including four Skyflash missiles, four dummy Skyflash missiles (I've never seen dummy missiles included with a kit), four Sidewinders, drop tanks and the centre line gun pod. The in-flight refuelling probe can be finished in open or closed position and a choice of canopies are included so you can finished yours open or closed. In one last flourish, you can finish your model with the radome folded to one side. The radar unit can then be added, with the radar scanner itself exposed or tucked into the folded part of the radome. You will have to carefully cut the radome away to build the model in this configuration, but the results should be well worth it. 

 

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Two options are provided on the decal sheet:

  • XV582 'Black Mike' of No. 111 Squadron, Royal Air Force, September 1989; and
  • XV573 of No. 43 Squadron, RAF Leuchars, 1974. 

The first aircraft is, of course, finished in overall black, while the second is finished in Dark Sea Grey and Dark Green over Light Aircraft Grey. The decals themselves look thin and glossy and a staggering quantity of stencils are included.

 

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Conclusion

 

Airfix's Phantom caused no small amount of excitement when it was first announced, but when the kit finally arrived the reception was somewhat muted. Although accurate in scale and outline, the panel lines are suprisingly deep and some small details such as the engine air intake bleed air vents being depicted by decals rather than moulded detail. Nonetheless, it's still good to have another UK Phantom to choose from, and I'm sure it will build up into a pleasing replica of the real thing. 

 

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Review sample courtesy of 


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Thanks!  You may have just changed my plans from doing a US Phantom to doing a British version instead.  I love that dark paint scheme.

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Glad they put 43 Squadron on the sheet. I grew up in Leuchars in the 70's and the sound of the alert phantoms blasting over the school on their way out over the North Sea is something you don't forget.

On my wish list...

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A point someone else has made is that, all things being equal and if you are intent on buying an Airfix Phantom, this is the boxing to go for as it has both the FG.1- and FGR.2-specific sprues included, so you get, for example, both the RN 2" rocket pods and radome internals and the RAF 20mm gun and EMI recce pods.  Having bought both the separate FG.1 and FGR.2 boxings, I feel ever so slightly short-changed.

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I bought both, A06016 FG.1 and A06017 FGR.2.  Have I fallen into the same trap? Is it just the decals that are different? :undecided:

Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/13/2020 at 3:40 PM, bootneck said:

I bought both, A06016 FG.1 and A06017 FGR.2.  Have I fallen into the same trap? Is it just the decals that are different? :undecided:

Sounds like it.  Don't know that it's a "trap" so much: it's just that I would have happily held off buying an RAF Phantom if I'd known that by waiting I could have had a few spare 2" rocket pods for Buccaneers and the like.  All 3 boxings are the same price, but one is better value.

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On 27/04/2020 at 13:59, Seahawk said:

.............Don't know that it's a "trap" so much

Trap was probably the wrong word to use, I'm certainly happy that I have both of these Airfix kits.

Mike

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  • 1 month later...

It's great to have another UK Phantom available, especially with that wide range of under wing stores, but I'm rather puzzled why Airfix have included such crude looking panel lines in a modern kit. If Fujimi managed delicate details over 30 years ago why not Airfix now? Definitely a throw back to the era of Matchbox! 

 

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