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Need some help with which kit for Robin Olds F-4C


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I wonder if i can get some advice, i am thinking about getting a 1/48 F-4C Phantom to model Robin Olds ride. Now i have been looking at 2 kits the Academy and the ZM kit. the ZM kit is double the price of the Academy but from what i can see detail wise there is not much in it. 

 

So which one would be best for my needs?

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Operation Bolo where Olds got his first Mig kills in Nam, 

 

Spoiler

MiG Kills

After suggesting the idea to Seventh Air Force commander Major General William Momyer, himself a former commander of the 8th TFW, Olds was directed to plan a mission designed to draw the North Vietnamese Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s into an aerial trap, and “Operation Bolo” resulted.

“Wolfpack” aviators of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing carry their commanding officer, Colonel Robin Olds, following his return from his last combat mission over North Vietnam, on 23 September 1967.

In October 1966, strike force F-105 Thunderchiefs were equipped with QRC-160 radar jamming pods whose effectiveness virtually ended their losses to surface-to-air missiles. As a result, SAM attacks shifted to the Phantoms, which were unprotected because of a shortage of pods. To protect the F-4s, rules of engagement that allowed the MiGCAP to escort the strike force in and out of the target area were revised in December to restrict MiGCAP penetration to the edge of SAM coverage. MiG interceptions increased as a result, primarily by MiG-21s using high-speed hit-and-run tactics against bomb-laden F-105 formations, and although only two bombers had been lost, the threat to the force was perceived as serious.

 

The Bolo plan reasoned that by equipping F-4s with jamming pods, using the call signs and communications codewords of the F-105 wings, and flying their flight profiles through northwest Vietnam, the F-4s could effectively simulate an F-105 bombing mission and entice the MiG-21s into intercepting not bomb-laden Thunderchiefs, but Phantoms configured for air-to-air combat.

After an intensive planning, maintenance, and briefing period, the mission was scheduled for January 1st, 1967. Poor weather caused a 24-hour delay, but even then, a solid overcast covered the North Vietnamese airbases at Phúc Yên, Gia Lam, Kép, and Cat Bai when the bogus strike force began arriving over the target area, five-minute intervals separating the flights of F-4s. Leading the first flight, Olds overflew the primary MiG-21 base at Phúc Yên and was on a second pass when MiGs finally began popping up through the cloud base. Although at first seemingly random in nature, it quickly became apparent that the MiGs were ground-controlled intercepts designed to place the supposed F-105s in a vise between enemies to their front and rear.

The F-4s and their crews, however, proved equal to the situation and claimed seven MiG-21s destroyed, almost half of the 16 then in service with the VPAF without loss to USAF aircraft. Olds himself shot down one of the seven, for which he and the other aircrew were awarded Silver Stars. Follow-up interceptions over the next two days by MiGs against RF-4C reconnaissance aircraft led to a similar mission on a smaller scale on January 6th, with another two MiG-21s shot down. VPAF fighter activity diminished to almost nothing for 10 weeks afterwards, thereby accomplishing the main goal of Operation Bolo: to eliminate or diminish the threat of MiGs to the strike formations.

On May 4th, Olds destroyed another MiG-21 over Phúc Yên. Two weeks later, on May 20th, he destroyed two MiG-17s in what one of his pilots described as a “vengeful chase” after they shot down his wingman during a large dogfight, bringing his total to 16 confirmed kills (12 in World War II and four in Vietnam) and making him a triple ace. Olds states that following the shoot down of his fourth MiG, he intentionally avoided shooting down a fifth, even though he had at least ten opportunities to do so, because he had learned in the middle of June that Seventh Air Force, at the direction of Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown, would immediately relieve him of command to return to the United States as a publicity asset if he did.

 

He was awarded a fourth Silver Star for leading a three-aircraft low-level bombing strike on March 30th, 1967, and the Air Force Cross for an attack on the Paul Doumer Bridge in Hanoi on August 11th, one of five awarded to Air Force pilots for that mission. He flew his final combat mission over North Vietnam on September 23rd 1967.

His 259 total combat missions included 107 in World War II and 152 in Southeast Asia, 105 of those over North Vietnam. Scat XXVII (F-4C-24-MC 64-0829) was retired from operational service and placed on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

 

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Posted (edited)

The Z-M kit is the best, if you want the best Phantom right out of the box. It has an aft fuselage shape issue that only the most hard core Phantom Phan will notice, but Hypersonic has a fix if it really bothers you. I’m planning to just add the fuselage fix, Hypersonic’s canopy details, and some resin seats on my kits.
 

The Academy kit is nice, but it takes some resin to bring it up to the same level of accuracy as the Z-M kit, which drives the price up. There are issues with the stabilators and ACS scoops (resin replacements are available from Hypersonic) and the intakes (DMold, XMM). The fixed center canopy part is too wide front to back, which makes the forward canopy too short, but this is only really noticeable when you park the kit next to a Hasegawa, Z-M, or Monogram kit. Out of the box, it still builds up into a nice-looking model.

 

Also, the old Monogram F-4C/D builds up into a pretty accurate replica. It has raised panel lines and needs a little elbow grease to deal with some seams, but it might be worth a look if price is an issue. 
 

Ben 

Edited by Ben Brown
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Posted (edited)

To add on to what ben mentioned, AFAIK, none of the kits cover the early model MB ejection seats that were in use at the time; that has to be a resin replacement.

 

gG3YHGY.png

 

Regards,

Murph

Edited by Murph
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I can keep reading about the Academy canopy issue, but I'm not sure this is true or if it is just something that's repeated without actually being checked. The canopies are of an identical size to the Monogram kit, which is often referred to as being very accurate if a little dated. Build and enjoy if you come across it.  Compared to the hasegawa, Academy canopies (front, centre and rear differ by a little over 0.5mm according to my Vernier, and you're a better man than me Gunga Din if you can tell the difference by eye.  Once you notice the ZM rear fuselage error, it is very difficult to unnotice it if you know what I mean...my personal inclination is to go down the Academy route. Cheaper too. Fwiw.

Cheers  Ralph. 

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30 minutes ago, Ralph said:

I can keep reading about the Academy canopy issue, but I'm not sure this is true or if it is just something that's repeated without actually being checked. The canopies are of an identical size to the Monogram kit, which is often referred to as being very accurate if a little dated. Build and enjoy if you come across it.  Compared to the hasegawa, Academy canopies (front, centre and rear differ by a little over 0.5mm according to my Vernier, and you're a better man than me Gunga Din if you can tell the difference by eye.  Once you notice the ZM rear fuselage error, it is very difficult to unnotice it if you know what I mean...my personal inclination is to go down the Academy route. Cheaper too. Fwiw.

Cheers  Ralph. 

Academy's rear framing of the front canopy is more accurate than Hase (or Monogram fir that matter) because it is correctly wider at the bottom than it is at the apex of the canopy, rather than being a constant width. I can't see from pictures whether ZM has this correct as well, bring the make I don't have. Online pictures are inconclusive. Again, FWIW. Ralph 

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@Murph What seats would i need to buy? I was just going to get PE to dress up the kit seats but if they are wrong for this plane i won't do that.

 

I ended up getting both kits in the end i brought the Academy and the other half brought me the Z-M kit. So i started out not sure which option to go with and now have both on the way. But this rear end of the Z-M worries me considering the cost of the thing. Normally Japanese kits are accurate in shape.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Harrier/ViperFan said:

@Murph What seats would i need to buy?

 

Early Phantoms used the Martin Baker Mk.5, which differs from the Mk.7 included with most, if not all, Phantom kits. 

 

Cheers,

 

Andre 

 

Edit: Scalemates link added 

 

 

Edited by Hook
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You probably already know but just in case. Fundekals has a sheet/s dedicated to Operation Bolo and I'm pretty sure Olds aircraft is in there.

TRF

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2 hours ago, Harrier/ViperFan said:

I tried those, but they didn't work and I can't remember why. Once again, Hypersonic to the rescue. He sells both Navy and USAF Mk.5s - LINK  I think The48ers.com sells Hypersonic products in Europe.

 

Re.  the canopy: Maybe I'm imagining it, but it does look different to my eye when parked next to my Hasegawa kits. Granted, it looked fine until somebody told me about the difference, so there's that.... 

 

Ben

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5 hours ago, Harrier/ViperFan said:

 

I've only seen the 1/72nd versions of them, not the 1/48th scale ones, and the parachute pack is the type carried by the F-8, not the F-4, plus the seat seemed oversize.  I have no idea how that would translate to the 1/48th version of the seats though.  I would agree with Ben, Hypersonic seats are the way to go here.

 

Regards,

Murph

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A very good reference on Old's F-4 (and others from the same unit during Bolo) can be found on the newly released Op Bolo decals from Fundekals.  

 

  https://www.hobbyzone.biz/fundekals/docs/fun_32011.pdf

 

The instructions are a mini-reference book!  Well worth downloading and saving for anyone interested in early F-4C's.  Lot of new info provided that wasn't known before.

 

 

 

 

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Congratulations on getting hold of a Zoukei Mura F-4C, they are practically unobtainable now for sensible prices; your partner's a keeper if they managed to track one down for you! The Z-M kit's rear fuselage is one of those Marmite features, some aren't bothered and some are. The Academy kit isn't without its faults  either. Since you have both kits perhaps temporarily tape the major parts together and see if you can live with the shapes. I agree with Ben Brown when he says the Academy F-4 will definitely benefit from adding the Hypersonic stabilators, nose AC intakes and one of the aftermarket main seamless intakes as these are the weakest parts of the kits.  The Hypersonic canopy details are a nice upgrade and I'd add a set of decent resin wheels, jet pipes and the Master Short Nose Pitot set too.

 

5 hours ago, Harrier/ViperFan said:

Does anyone make a 1/48 QRC-160? Closest i have found is Eduards ALQ-71 which has mods for very early mods.

Yes, you can use that pod. The QRC-160 is the version with the two bladed turbine nose. I have the same set as I too plan to do a Bolo F-4C someday. As has been mentioned above, I recommend that you download the Fundekal instructions linked by 11bravo. These collate a lot of the research on the aircraft that took part and provide a detailed description of each on the day of the mission. Best of all it's free! 😀

 

Other things to note:

 

As can be seen in the Fundekals instructions, Olds' aircraft 63-7680 didn't have the under radome sensor fairing commonly seen on F-4Cs. Both kits have a plain radome in the box;  Zoukei Mura provide a single radome with a separate shallow pod while Academy supply two radomes - one pain & one with a cut-out to cover the different sensor pod variations seen on the F-4B/C/D.

 

Hypersonic make the only proper Mk5 seats for the Phantom. I think Cutting Edge might have done them but if they did they'd be practically impossible to find now. That F-8 Mk5 version has a different parachute pack and a pouch (presumably for the seat pins) not used on the F-4 version. You might get away with it in 1/72 (as the only option since there hasn't been a proper Mk5 seat for the Phantom in that scale except the 1980s Aeroclub white metal ones) but the differences would be noticeable in 1/48.

 

The aircraft carried the orginal Navy style inner pylons with the straight edge You'll have to source a set of these pylons. You'll also need to find some Air Force style outer pylons as the Z-M F-4C kits don't have any and Academy only give you the Navy version! However Hypersonic make proper USAF outer pylons too. It's an expensive option for just a single pylon though. You could make do with modifying one of the tank pylons as a possilbe solution if you don't want to splash out for what would be a redundant pylon.

 

You can get the Hypersonic stuff direct https://www.hypersonicmodels.com/products/1-48-resin/1/1/40 or from the 48ers  in Cyprus. I'd go direct, I've ordered from Jeffery and it's always been shipped with no problems arriving in about a week from Japan. The 48ers are also great but have a minimum £135 UK order threshold.

 

Good luck with the project, I hope to see it come to fruition on here.

 

HTH,

Jonathan

 

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14 hours ago, XV571 said:

You can get the Hypersonic stuff direct https://www.hypersonicmodels.com/products/1-48-resin/1/1/40 or from the 48ers  in Cyprus. I'd go direct, I've ordered from Jeffery and it's always been shipped with no problems arriving in about a week from Japan. The 48ers are also great but have a minimum £135 UK order threshold.

 

Good luck with the project, I hope to see it come to fruition on here.

 

HTH,

Jonathan

 

I second ordering direct from Jeffery.   Fantastic service and his quality is second to none.    I'm looking forward to seeing this build as well, good luck! 

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I am gonna have to wait to get the stuff from Hypersonic as they are not taking orders at the moment and won't be till end of this month at the earliest according to site. Is there a way to make the kit seat or resin Mk.7 seat look like a Mk.5?

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On 31/05/2021 at 03:19, XV571 said:

Congratulations on getting hold of a Zoukei Mura F-4C, they are practically unobtainable now for sensible prices; your partner's a keeper if they managed to track one down for you! The Z-M kit's rear fuselage is one of those Marmite features, some aren't bothered and some are. The Academy kit isn't without its faults  either. Since you have both kits perhaps temporarily tape the major parts together and see if you can live with the shapes. I agree with Ben Brown when he says the Academy F-4 will definitely benefit from adding the Hypersonic stabilators, nose AC intakes and one of the aftermarket main seamless intakes as these are the weakest parts of the kits.  The Hypersonic canopy details are a nice upgrade and I'd add a set of decent resin wheels, jet pipes and the Master Short Nose Pitot set too.

 

Yes, you can use that pod. The QRC-160 is the version with the two bladed turbine nose. I have the same set as I too plan to do a Bolo F-4C someday. As has been mentioned above, I recommend that you download the Fundekal instructions linked by 11bravo. These collate a lot of the research on the aircraft that took part and provide a detailed description of each on the day of the mission. Best of all it's free! 😀

 

Other things to note:

 

As can be seen in the Fundekals instructions, Olds' aircraft 63-7680 didn't have the under radome sensor fairing commonly seen on F-4Cs. Both kits have a plain radome in the box;  Zoukei Mura provide a single radome with a separate shallow pod while Academy supply two radomes - one pain & one with a cut-out to cover the different sensor pod variations seen on the F-4B/C/D.

 

Hypersonic make the only proper Mk5 seats for the Phantom. I think Cutting Edge might have done them but if they did they'd be practically impossible to find now. That F-8 Mk5 version has a different parachute pack and a pouch (presumably for the seat pins) not used on the F-4 version. You might get away with it in 1/72 (as the only option since there hasn't been a proper Mk5 seat for the Phantom in that scale except the 1980s Aeroclub white metal ones) but the differences would be noticeable in 1/48.

 

The aircraft carried the orginal Navy style inner pylons with the straight edge You'll have to source a set of these pylons. You'll also need to find some Air Force style outer pylons as the Z-M F-4C kits don't have any and Academy only give you the Navy version! However Hypersonic make proper USAF outer pylons too. It's an expensive option for just a single pylon though. You could make do with modifying one of the tank pylons as a possilbe solution if you don't want to splash out for what would be a redundant pylon.

 

You can get the Hypersonic stuff direct https://www.hypersonicmodels.com/products/1-48-resin/1/1/40 or from the 48ers  in Cyprus. I'd go direct, I've ordered from Jeffery and it's always been shipped with no problems arriving in about a week from Japan. The 48ers are also great but have a minimum £135 UK order threshold.

 

Good luck with the project, I hope to see it come to fruition on here.

 

HTH,

Jonathan

 

Jonathan, just to clarify about the 135 GBP minimum order that this has to do with the new UK VAT legislation that for orders less than this threshold eshops need to collect the 20% UK VAT but in order to do that the vendor needs to be register to the UK VAT office. We are not for the moment, hence the minimum order amount above which we do not charge VAT. The latter is sorted upon arrival in UK from Customs.

 

Just wanted to clarify this.

 

Cheers,

 

Ilias

the48ers.com 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am gonna have to wait to get the stuff from Hypersonic as they are not taking orders at the moment and won't be till end of this month at the earliest according to site. Is there a way to make the kit seat or resin Mk.7 seat look like a Mk.5?

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16 hours ago, Harrier/ViperFan said:

I am gonna have to wait to get the stuff from Hypersonic as they are not taking orders at the moment and won't be till end of this month at the earliest according to site. Is there a way to make the kit seat or resin Mk.7 seat look like a Mk.5?

Victory Models in the US has the seat and pylons, but I have no idea of their shipping policies or cost. 

 

Gene K

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I will re-open my web shop in the coming week, I'll start some resin casting in the coming days and if there's no issue I'll be back in business real soon.

Cheers,

Jeffrey

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On 6/2/2021 at 4:12 PM, the48ers.com said:

Jonathan, just to clarify about the 135 GBP minimum order that this has to do with the new UK VAT legislation that for orders less than this threshold eshops need to collect the 20% UK VAT but in order to do that the vendor needs to be register to the UK VAT office. We are not for the moment, hence the minimum order amount above which we do not charge VAT. The latter is sorted upon arrival in UK from Customs.

 

Just wanted to clarify this.

 

Cheers,

 

Ilias

the48ers.com 

 Thanks for clarifying the VAT part Ilias 👍 It's easy to forget that aspect when you're lucky enough to have your order arrive without a hitch and no additional charges as a bonus!

 

On 6/1/2021 at 12:44 PM, Harrier/ViperFan said:

I am gonna have to wait to get the stuff from Hypersonic as they are not taking orders at the moment and won't be till end of this month at the earliest according to site. Is there a way to make the kit seat or resin Mk.7 seat look like a Mk.5?

The hardest part is to make the upper metal shroud around the soft parachute pack. You'd have to cut off the hard shell case of the Mk7 add the shroud and make a new parachute pack. There's also a small pad wedged between the top handles and the parachute. You can see the pad just behind the grab handle at the top of the ladder in the picture of Colonel Olds in Murph's post   Here's a picture from the F4H-1 Flight Manual but the basic layout is common to the USAF seat:

 

resized_e8fa324e-1768-44a8-babc-ce5606b3

The basic seat bucket is essentially the same between the two versions. You could try modifying the kit seats as the parachute pack is separate and remove the backplate from the back cushions. The only resin Mk7 seat that has the pack separate is the Eduard Brassin set otherwise you'd need to perform some careful surgery. There is then the option that if you're not happy with the results you can still go for the Hypersonic ones!

 

Another option for the straight edged Navy style pylons are the Hasegawa Japanese RF-4E kits. These have a pair of these pylons in addition to the USAF style as seen on RF-4Es included on the fuselage parts frame. I should have remembered these as I used my pair on my conversion of a Hasegawa F-4J into an early F-4C since they are superior to the original kit ones that date from their old raised lines F-4B kit! I would think a post in the wanted section could yield a set for you.

 

HTH,

 

Jonathan

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