The F-4Js were used extensively by the US Navy and Marine Corps in the last stages of the Vietnam War. On May 10, 1972, Lt Randall H. "Duke" Cunningham and Lt(jg) William P. Driscoll of VF-96 Fighting Falcons, flying F-4J Phantom II with radio callsign "Showtime 100," shot down three MiGs in less than 6 minutes to become the first American aces over Vietnam. They were also the first F-4 aces, and first to make all their kills with air-to-air missiles.
I always thought the Phantom was the most impressive fierce fighting Jets ever made. So this was a must have when I saw it on sale at the local Hobby Store. And when I got it home , I must say that I wasn't disappointed upon opening the large box. Inside I found 10 large separately bagged sprues , upper/lower fuselage halves, metal landing gear struts, rubber tires, screw driver and a bag of screws. Two large decal sheets to build 3 different Aircrafts. Altogether 491 pieces of highly detailed soft gray styrene.
The best feature of the kit is it's one piece fuselage (which is bubbled wrapped.) This eliminates you of having to join the halves together, only to fill, sand and rescribe later on. Loads of rivet detail, engraved panel lines with raised lines in the right places.
The one draw back with the kit is it's intakes. There is a seam that can't filled and sanded. Seamless Suckers makes a resin set that will correct this problem. One can also scratch build the FOD covers to cover the intakes.
The metal landing gear struts are covered up with plastic overlays - this will provide the detail to the struts. They are screwed into the wheel wells for added strength.
The cockpit area seems to be accurate. Instrument panels are crisp in detail with raised knobs and buttons. You get two (2) Martin Baker Mk-7 ejection seats that are complete. When they're assembled in the cockpit tub, it too is screwed in the upper fuselage.
The canopy and refueling probe can be installed in the open/closed position.
Other added features:
Highly detailed wheel wells, Positional speed brake, 2 x 370 gallon out board tanks, 1x 600 gallon center
line tank, beautifully detailed tail pipes and movable stabilizer.
The payload consists of:
AIM-7E Sparrows / AIM-9E Sidewinders / Mk.82 MER 500lb / Mk.82 500lb TER bombs.
The two large decal sheets allow you to build one of three Phantoms:
VMF-333 "Shamrocks" No.201 USS America (Marines)
VF-84 "Jolly Rogers" No. 200 USS Roosevelt (Navy)
VMF-232 "Red Devils No. 1 Kadena Base (Marines)
All in high viz markings. The instructions only call out Tamiya paints for painting.
There are plenty of aftermarket and conversions for the super detailers. Black Box
has a nicely detailed cockpit and seats. Eduard
has a set of photo-etch and cockpit/seat combo. The Seamless Suckers can be found at Cutting Edge.
Straight from the box you get a accurate F-4J for it's size in scale. One thing for sure, you better have plenty of space to display this beautiful Aircraft. A highly recommend kit for the intermediate advanced builder.