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Italeri 1/48th RF-4C/E "Photo Phantom II"


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My entry for this GB, the Italeri / Testors 1/48th scale RF-4C/E "Photo Phantom II" kit #810 which was first issued in 1981, a mere 40 years ago!

 

I like building old kits and, with airbrushing, modern acrylic paints and after-market decals, it is satisfying to make something that is far better than I could have done all those years ago. I have almost finished an F-4S from the same stable and I hope I can learn from that build and apply it here.

 

On to the kit:-

 

51388903208_a95a7f9186_b.jpg20210819_174510 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

The traditional sprues shot:-

 

51389665635_a2630697e9_b.jpg20210819_175052 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

Decals and instructions:-

 

51389389389_ec666f198b_b.jpg20210819_175246 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

At the moment I am minded to complete her as a USAFE RF-4C operated by the 38th TRS out of Zweibrucken AB in the mid 80's, with wrap-around SEA camouflage, using decals from the AirDOC 'USAF  Phantoms in Germany Late F-4E / Gs and RF-4Cs Markings' sheet. However I have plenty of time to change my mind 😉

 

51389389359_be18b0c20e_b.jpg20210819_175620 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

This is a very basic kit, especially compared to the modern Academy and Tamiya offerings, and it has a long list of faults. I am hoping that I can overcome some of these faults, more about that in a later post. Anyway, good to be here 🙂

 

Michael

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Love the recce Phantoms.  AirDocs are some nice decals.  I used one of their stencil sheets on my Luftwaffe RF-4E I finished a while back.

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Great project Michael!

I'm planning the same build 😃 I'm just gonna use Hasegawa's kit.

We're still on vacation and as soon as I have time for some modelling I will post my first photo. 

 

Alex

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13 hours ago, Ghostbase said:

This is a very basic kit, especially compared to the modern Academy and Tamiya offerings, and it has a long list of faults. I am hoping that I can overcome some of these faults, more about that in a later post. Anyway, good to be here 🙂

 

I have a feeling that building your Italeri kit will produce a very interesting build thread.

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Another RF-4C build to follow and the second with AirDoc decals. I didn’t even know these decal sheets existed. Looking forward to your updates.

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A little bit more about this build, I don't know when I purchased this kit but it was probably an eBay special fifteen years ago when you could pick up something like this for under £5 and that was including P&P! It is of the era before Hasegawa raised the standard with their 1/48th Phantom series of kits, the main competitors would have been Monogram and ESCI.

 

The kit's weak areas are as follows:-

 

* BLC vents on intakes depicted by decals

* Completely inaccurate cockpit and ejection seats

* Windscreen and front canopy out of proportion

* No hinge details for an open cockpit

* Inaccurate wing tanks and skinny centreline 'gasbag'

 

* Raised surface panel lines

 

Now, I *could* spend a lot on aftermarket however I prefer to raid the spares box as well as 'pirate' spare items from other kits. The ejection seats are the worst parts by far; I was thinking of maybe purchasing a pair of resin seats for one of my Hasegawa kits and using the displaced seats out of that kit. Maybe...

 

Michael

 

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A week has passed by and I really need to get started. I have already primed all of the kit parts with Halfords grey primer which helps me to see what needs attention.

 

One thing that does bug me is that on this kit the BLC vents on the top and underside of the jet intakes are depicted by decals. I decided to try scribing these vents using an old dental tool, maybe they will look better? This photo shows the underside of the intake, I have marked the lines of the vents with a fine CD marker pen, the dotted squares are the areas to be scribed:-

 

51405575137_d212347b09_o.jpg20210827_114357 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

And the same for the topsides of the intakes, just a little bit more complex...

 

51407302680_725cd21cc6_o.jpg20210827_114218 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

On to the cockpit. This really isn't the most detailed of kits and accuracy isn't great either! This is a basics look:-

 

51407081424_d6e5d78ce9_o.jpg20210827_131636 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

What are my options? I was intending to build this kit with the cockpit closed up so I could just go for the OOB option using what is in the box. If it is closed up, realistically, what can you see? Option 2 is to replace those awful ejection seats. I do have a couple of the Eduard edition Academy F-4 kits which have replacement resin ejection seats so I could liberate the original kit seats and add them here. Or, I could order a pair of Aires seats for one of my Hasegawa kits and recycle those kit seats here. Option 3 is to purchase a complete resin cockpit for one of my Hasegawa kits and drop the Hasegawa cockpit in here. I don't know, suspect the OOB option will be the one that I follow. Hopefully more this weekend...

 

Michael

 

51407302640_8b16967cf2_o.jpg20210827_131844 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

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That cockpit is a bit clunky but it will be easy to paint and as you say, with the canopy closed, what do you see? Same for the seats really, if you scratch-build some tangled harnesses you will distract the eye from the rest of the seat. 

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On 8/27/2021 at 8:29 PM, Ghostbase said:

the BLC vents on the top and underside of the jet intakes are depicted by decals. I decided to try scribing these vents using an old dental tool, maybe they will look better?

 

Have you done this yet? I had a similar issue and found that I could get a reasonable result by sawing slots with a razor saw. At least my lines were guaranteed to be straight and consistent.

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4 hours ago, Bertie Psmith said:

 

Have you done this yet? I had a similar issue and found that I could get a reasonable result by sawing slots with a razor saw. At least my lines were guaranteed to be straight and consistent.

 

Yes I did however maybe the dental tool I am using isn't strong enough for the job, a razor saw might be a better option. At the moment I am 172 miles away from the 'man cave' however I hope to pick this build up again this week.

 

Michael

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  • 4 weeks later...

Nearly a month later, life has got in the way yet again. I apologise for not following the Group for over three weeks now.

 

I decided to really get started yesterday, try as put as much together as possible so that I can spend today applying filler and preparing for the application of paint. I'm not doing anything fancy, it's an old kit, just get it built! And, in fact, it isn't looking too shabby...

 

51527497320_250ddbba08_b.jpg20210928_110836 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

I have done a bare minimum on the cockpit and I think I have some old instrument panel decals that I could put in there. Will add the seats later when I have finished them. I have joined the wings, fuselage halves and jet air intakes.

 

51527293814_2435a8d492_b.jpg20210928_110906 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

The photo nose is just three parts on this kit; a nose cone as well as two camera bay halves. There are a number of transparent windows however there is no detail inside. I am going to paint the interior matt black and maybe put some card inside and try to simulate some camera lenses. So far I am happy with the fit which is better than I expected for such an old kit.

 

The underside looks ok too.

 

51527293799_6ed89cc34e_b.jpg20210928_111053 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

Now, I might be changing my mind. The original kit does give an option for a West German RF-4E of Akg-52 in 1972. This was the original 'splinter' colour scheme with large 'Iron Cross' markings outlined in white and I think this would look pretty cool as well as standing out from all the Phantoms I have built over the years. These are the colour instructions:

 

51525766677_126d9d8b41_b.jpg20210928_111437 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

The colour call-outs are as follows:

 

Dark Green FS34079

Grey           FS36118

Light Grey  FS36440

White         (for weapons pylon)

 

Are these correct? I thought that the Germans used a different set of colour designations.

 

There is a risk regards using the original kit decals which must be 40 years old however I have just made an F-4S from the same series and the decals were fine so I am willing to take that chance.

 

Michael

 

 

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I believe that scheme was known as Norm 72 and the colour refs were RAL 7012 Basalt grey and RAL 6014 yellow olive for the splinter camo and RAL 9006 silver grey for the undersides. Those FS colours are probably close equivalents. If you haven't got the paints already, one option is the Hataka line of paints as they do these colours (separately or in a Modern Luftwaffe set) in acrylic, lacquer and I think a brushable form too.

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1 hour ago, Filler said:

I believe that scheme was known as Norm 72 and the colour refs were RAL 7012 Basalt grey and RAL 6014 yellow olive for the splinter camo and RAL 9006 silver grey for the undersides. Those FS colours are probably close equivalents. If you haven't got the paints already, one option is the Hataka line of paints as they do these colours (separately or in a Modern Luftwaffe set) in acrylic, lacquer and I think a brushable form too.

 

Thanks Filler, this is really helpful and now I know I am looking for Norm 72. I have had a quick look through my collection of Vallejo Model Color and it looks like I will be able to use 893/95 US Dark Green (as FS34079) and 869/162 Basalt Grey exact match for RAL7012 (as FS36152).

 

RAL9006 is a bit more of a challenge. I see that it is often referred to as 'White Aluminium'. I have a Lifecolor acrylic Metallic Set which has their UA793 White Aluminium so it looks like that should match RAL9006. I didn't know that the Norm 72 West German Phantoms were painted with alumimium undersides the same as the F-104G Starfighters were, have always assumed they were light grey so, as always, I live and learn 👍

 

Michael

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Did a little bit more this morning, out with the 'Perfect Plastic Putty' and fill in the gaps:-

 

51530857338_4f5413fb16_b.jpg20210929_102139 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

I have always been quite open that I dislike filling and sanding however 'Perfect Plastic Putty' is very easy to apply and can be smoothed using a cotton bud dipped in water. Not too unhappy with the results:-

 

51530612561_bf57260c6f_b.jpg20210929_105102 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

The undersides not looking too bad either.

 

51531330224_cd6972b99e_b.jpg20210929_105126 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

Looks like I might be firing up the air brush this week 😎

 

Michael

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