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Which F-4 Phantom for a F-4B?

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Hi all,


I won a set of 1/32nd USMC F-4B decals AOA 32-032 (thanks Out2gtcha!) and now I am wondering which F4 Phantom is the best kit to start from?

Is it one of the Tamiya kits (F4 C/D, F4E or F4J? or Revell kits (F4G, F4F, which I doubt really) or maybe the RF4B with a different nose?

Any help is welcome!




P.S. I know of the different conversion sets, but they are rare to find and above all very expensive and above my modelling skills!

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Hello Rob, the best kit to go with is the Tamiya F-4J "Marines" issue as it contains the outboard weapons  pylons

since most Marines missions were mud movers, but second would be the more prevalent Tamiya F-4J Navy.

Congrats on your win, only a Phantom Phanatic would Phlip over difference really, sure it'd be a nice build - enjoy!

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Are you trying to build an accurate F-4B, or do you just want something that could pass for an F-4B to put decals on, without regard to whether the airframe is accurate?  If the former, you've got a HUGE job ahead of you.  There is no 1/32 F-4B, nor anything that's easy to convert to an F-4B.  The entire wing and the lower center fuselage is different on the F-4B because it had the thin, high pressure tires and wheels, and no prominent bulges above and below the wings that were added with the wide, lower pressure tires starting with the F-4C and subsequent (including the F-4J).


If the latter is what you're after, at a glance the F-4C is your best bet.  The C was modified from the B in real life, and externally, aside from the thicker wing and wider tires, it most closely resembles a B.  The entire aft cockpit is different, mainly because Navy Phantoms had a retractable refueling probe that was stored in a well that protruded into the right side of the aft cockpit.  Air Force Phantoms (F-4C/D/E) didn't have that, so they had a proper side console in the right side of the aft cockpit.  But with the F-4C you get the "dork fairing" under the radome, which you don't get in the F-4J, and which you need for an F-4B.  The C also has the short afterburner nozzles which it shares with the B.

You can't really use any RF-4 kit, because the entire front end of the airplane is totally different.  You'd be scratch building everything forward of the wing.  RFs also lack Sparrow wells in the belly.  

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Hi guys,


Thanks for the replies!

I want to build a Phantom with the decals I won in the raffle, but don"t want to buy a expensive conversion set.

No problem to buy a pricely Tamiya kit, but I am too big of a chicken putting a saw in it and f#ck it up!

If it looks like a Phantom, it has Marines on it and a Rattlesnake, it is a Death Rattlers F4 Phantom.

But, having said that, I want my Phantom to be as close to a F-4B.


So, most likely I will start hunting for a F4C!


Thank again,


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I have to confess, i've been seriously thinking of just building the Tamiya "J" and applying the "B" decals on it. I have CE conversions for it, i'm just concerned of messing up a kit, and...i'm lazy. Builds never leave the case after being done, so accuracy honestly isn't a serious block for me. I wonder if i could do this and enter it in the upcoming In the Navy Group Build?...



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I did a conversion about 15 years ago now using the F-4C. Not too bad actually. For thin wings, I was able to cut out the humps from the wheel well and replace with styrene. Used the C variant for the IR seeker and the exhausts. I trimmed the weapons pylons to make the USN variation. Alternatively, you could find the appropriate sprues on EBay...you’d need a mix of the C and J kits anyway you do it. 

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The GT Hobbies B conversion covers everything you need to do a B.

The other conversions are good bases but miss many subtle differences as well.

The GT one came out maybe 7-8 years ago.

Its well worth getting if accuracy is a thing nothing was missed.

Sitting it beside the CE conversion shows how much was missed in the CE set.

Otherwise just get rid of the bump on the upper wing on the C and your half way there, throw in a cockpit J preferably and you will have something that looks like a B..

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As others mentioned, there's not really a cheap way to do it accurately. I've seen at least one built OOB from the C/D kit using B decals - but it looked just like that, wrong airframe in B markings. If you're looking just for a "look close enough" without much more expense and if that look works for your needs, obviously just go that route. Which I think is what you're after? Especially if you do a closed cockpit and throw the figures in there to hide some of the C/D cockpit details.
Next step up in some visual improvement with minimal additional cost would be to use some of the parts from the J boxing since the C/D kit also doesn't include the Navy related parts that you'd want to make the C/D look a little visually closer to a B (for example Navy style nose gear door, bridle recess/hooks, etc). Could also go with that J cockpit for a little bit closer to B look than the C/D even though none are really accurate for a B (again, the "look close enough" approach I think you're after). You could probably try to pick up sprues from ebay or order from Tamiya for pretty cheap.
The Real Model set would be next step up in incremental cost to make it look a little closer (externally) to a B. That conversion is a visual wing type conversion and isn't complete conversion for a B, so it's still also relatively cheap and again fits with the "looks close enough". It primarily includes replacement inner upper wings, and for the bottom it comes with flattened gear doors and speed brakes (there are other B parts included too in the set). But it doesn't include actual thin tires, cockpit, burners, seats, etc.
So with that RealModel set on the C/D kit with some J kit parts, externally you can get a relatively pretty good B approximation visually with again relatively little additional cost potentially. On the other end of cost spectrum/accuracy is the full GT conversion which should include everything you'll need in one package for the most complete B, but is about double the kit cost itself.
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21 hours ago, Jennings Heilig said:

The bulge is on the upper and lower wings, not just the top.  You need a totally new lower inboard wing/fuselage as well as the upper wings.

Yea we know that, but the guy is also after an “easy” F-4B option.

You cant get any easier than flattening a C wing, banging in a Navy cockpit(resin or Tamiya J replacement parts are widely available)and your done.

The easy option is to ignore the bottom as you cant see it anyway.
The lower wing fix is far more work for in a quick build little reward to never be seen.

Leave the speedbrakes up( they are different on the B and J due bukge)and unless you spend time looking at collections from below nobody will ever know.

Or go down the GT route or CE/Realmodel route.





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  • Kagemusha changed the title to Which F-4 Phantom for a F-4B?

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