by: HG Barnes [ ]
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 (VMFA-232) is a United States Marine Corps squadron. Nicknamed the "Red Devils", this squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni AB, Japan in 1974. The Red Devils are the oldest and most decorated fighter squadron in the Marine Corps.
The squadron remained at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan as a force in readiness while participating in numerous training deployments and exercises. In 1974, the Red Devils received the coveted Robert M. Hanson "Marine Fighter Attack Squadron of the Year" award.
In October 1977, the Red Devils of VMFA-232 returned to MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, after an eleven-year absence. This event, in turn, marked the beginning of Red Devils participation in the demanding Westpac Unit Deployment Program. In October 1986, the Red Devils completed their sixth, and last six-month tour of the Western Pacific in the venerable F-4 Phantom. In December 1988, VMFA-232 turned in their last F-4 Phantom II to the National Air and Space Museum. ~wikipedia~
ACADEMY's usual enticing box art is accompanied by information about the F-4J, color call-outs, some markings and model dimensions. Inside five bags hold sixteen sprues with the decals and stencils being separately bagged.
The raised and recessed details are very good and should take a wash really well. The interior is nicely appointed in my opinion with excellent detail on the instruments, side walls and even the ejection seats are decent. Thumbs up to ACADEMY for the multitude of slide molded parts... WOW! Intakes, racks, tail hook nozzle and even the exhausts are cleverly molded. While you'll need a light, the exhausts are detailed all the way to the back! Missiles and fuel tanks are well done with very sharp fins! Yes I found that out the hard way...OOPS, but hey what's a little nick for the hobby right? The clear parts are passable with the normal center seam, but the frame detail is great for your masking and you definitely will see all the fine detail in the cockpit through the one piece canopy and windscreen.
Printed by Cartograf they look excellent along with there being plenty to super detail your model. However, none were supplied for the digital screens, so you'll have to paint them. You'll also have plenty of stencil data to apply. All three options are F-4J aircraft based in Japan in 1974.
The easy to follow foldout takes you through 21 steps to complete your model. Each step is not overly congested on the page and sub-assemblies are well thought out. On a separate foldout you'll find the three marking options along with the stencil guide, weapons decal application and sprue map. ACADEMY have recommended the following paint manufacturers to complete the kit; Humbrol, GSI Creos, Lifecolor, TESTORS/MODELMASTER, Revell and Vallejo.
I'll be building this kit for a future article and wanted to share a couple of thoughts. We can debate if the number of connection points is a pain, but I'd rather have them to deal with then a slew of ejector pin marks. Next is the fit for which I was pretty happy with even being a dry-fit. The seam lines are amazingly tight in some areas and non-existent in others. Just to give you some idea, please see the photos at the bottom of this article.
Man have 1/72 scale models come a long way in detail and ACADEMY are right up there with anything else I've seen on the market. Even at this smaller scale you'll get a decent sized end result and with paint, decals, a wash then some weathering you'll truly have something to be proud of displaying. That said, even with paint and decals this kit will look awesome. Thanks for reading and happy modeling!
Special thanks to the fine people at MRC and ACADEMY for sending over the kit for review. When shopping for this kit please mention your read an article about it on KitMaker Network Aeroscale.