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Wolfpack Phantom - 8th TFW F-4C


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John, I love those tones for the tan variations. I would be interested in anything you can share on what portions of the color wheel you used to mix those? Would be especially useful for those that might be replicating McDonnell factory-applied camouflage, as well...

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On 3/8/2022 at 8:25 PM, cmayer said:

John, I love those tones for the tan variations. I would be interested in anything you can share on what portions of the color wheel you used to mix those? Would be especially useful for those that might be replicating McDonnell factory-applied camouflage, as well...

I wish I could share my secrets sir.   However, it's strictly by using my Mark 1 eyeball to stare at color pictures of the real things and then stare at colors of paint from my test shots. 



Horrible paintwork but these are my shots straight from the bottle to give me some sort of baseline.   


After that, I lightened the Dark Tan (the Model Master version on the left and darkened (a very small amount) the Dark Green (also the Model Master version on the left).  From there I just made a few minor changes in tone to the base colors.  The exception being those light green blotches which is Model Master SAC Bomber Green with a bit of flat white added (5th color from left).     The other notable exception was the dark OD patches on the tail, which I just added (I'll post some pictures tomorrow of my progress).   Just a mix of Leather, Dark Green and Flat Black.   


Note - the Dark OD doesn't look as red-brownish as in the picture of the real thing above but that shot has some color issues.   I've seen multiple color pictures of other F-4's with Dark OD touchups and the color I used below seems to be pretty close.  








Edited by John1
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Just some pictures of my progress painting.    Quite a challenge, especially the tail.   It looks a bit stark right now but once I do a few final touchups, add the decals and tie it all in with a matt topcoat, I think it'll look pretty decent.   Here are the images I'm using as my guide, as noted above, the color pics can't be depended upon for accurate representation of some of the actual colors.   I think Jennings has done a pretty decent job of capturing the real thing.









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  • 2 weeks later...

So I'm back.  Lost a couple of weeks of modeling due to a business trip down to SC.  Decided to take a break from the big tasks and work on something smaller.   So next up are the drop tanks.    The kit tanks are pretty decent.  They are moulded with integral pylons (as were the real things).  Only thing I added to the tanks themselves were a couple of Eduard PE filler caps and some rivets.  On the pylons, I drilled out the ejector cartridges and a few other openings, plus added some missing rivets. 


One thing I like about my subject is that during this stage of the war, all paintwork was in flux.  The original tanks were overall gloss white.   When the jets were camouflaged, you also saw a wide variation of painting to get the tanks somewhat more subdued.   This includes a quick green overspray (the green on these tanks seemed to mostly be a darker shade compared to what was used on the jets themselves) with a wide variety of demarcations between the colors, from simple straight lines, to wavy, irregular patterns.  Most of the work was pretty sloppy but for a tank that typically would only last a mission or two, I don't think neatness / uniformity was a concern.  Some tanks also had mix and matched parts to add even more bizarre schemes. 


I opted for two different schemes to add a bit more visual interest to this already weirdly painted jet.   Note on the lower tank that the overspray was intentional (as was the very thin strip of white at the border between the front and rear sections.







Not a lot of weathering added, with the exception of a light wash on the pylons to represent a bit of grime and to highlight a few of the panel lines. 


Regarding the overall dark OD tank - a few months after the famous Operation Bolo, the 497th TFS was assigned the night attack mission (it still fly daylight sorties as well).   Only reason I can think that they painted the tanks overall dark OD was to tone them down for night ops.   Not sure what the point was since the rest of the underside was still gloss white but if anyone else has a better idea, feel free to chime in.    By late '67, these OD tanks were actually pretty common in this squadron (later in the war, when the 497th started flying the F-4D in this role, you started to see the undersides of the jets painted black).   Here's a good example of a "Night Owls" jet with the subdued tanks (note the jet behind it has a tank with the original dark green uppers and just the underside was painted OD):


Also note that this jet is another great example of the multiple shades of paint seen on the upper surfaces.


That's going to do it for today, thanks for looking in! 





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4 hours ago, jeroen_R90S said:

Sharp work so far -I take it the wings fit well, being Tamiya and all?

I'm not a great airbrusher myself, but intention overspray I find one of the most difficult things to pull off, and you made it look great!

Thanks!  Regarding the wings - I’m getting close to fitting them.  A bit nervous, I’ve heard some horror stories about getting them to fit cleanly to that big one piece fuselage.  Fingers crossed.


With regard to the intentional overspray, no skill there, just pure luck!  

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18 hours ago, John1 said:

Thanks!  Regarding the wings - I’m getting close to fitting them.  A bit nervous, I’ve heard some horror stories about getting them to fit cleanly to that big one piece fuselage.  Fingers crossed.


With regard to the intentional overspray, no skill there, just pure luck!  

Another great update John!

I am sure you will be fine with the wing join, you certainly have the skill set.  I will look forward to any tips or pointers for when I do mine.


keep up the great work

Cheers Anthony

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Thanks very much for the kind words guys, your interest means a great deal.   I've been keeping myself occupied on some painting work.    Some of it is touchups to the camo scheme, some of it is replicating the weird paintwork on those early Phantoms.  For those that haven't been following from the beginning, keep in mind that these early F-4C's were originally deployed in their navy style Gull Grey uppers over gloss white undersides.  When the order came down to camouflage these jets, they painted the upper surfaces but left the lowers in gloss white.  These jets also came with Corroguard metalic coatings on the wing leading edges.   For whatever reason, the AF decided to wrap the top colors on the wings around the bottom to cover up the silverish Corroguard.   According to the Fundekals instructions, sometimes this was a soft edge spray, other times it was a hard edge.  I went for the latter.   Does make for an unusual looking underside.


You will also note some of my pre-shading on the aft fuselage.   These jets were filthy, I'm going to have my work cut out to accurately replicate all the crap that had stained the bottom of these planes. 


You may ask what's up with the tape on the wings?   While reading through Chuck's epic F-4E build over on ARC, I noted that he discovered the mounting points for the outboard pylons / wing tanks were too far outboard.   He determined that the locating holes for the pylons needed to be 6mm in from their existing location and 7mm forward.    Having a roll of 6mm Tamiya tape, it made it pretty easy to get my measurements.   Next step will be to drill holes for the new mounts and then fill and repaint the incorrect ones.   Wish I had caught this before painting the underside but it really isn't that big of a deal.  



So that's it for tonight, thanks again for the comments and suggestions. 



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Thanks very much Tom, appreciate the compliments.


I'm kind of in a holding pattern.   Can't move forward with detailing the rest of the cockpit (upper parts of the rear bulkheads and the rat's nest of wires and general crap behind the WSO's upper instrument panel until I get the lower fuselage / wing assembly in place (which again, I'm dreading).   Can't get this installed until I detail the landing gear bays and I just don't feel like detailing the bays yet.    So....   I'm just doing some "busy work".   


I've painted the upper parts of the cockpits and installed the pilot's glare shield.   The weathering is pretty much my standard approach.   Go in heavy, clean it up, re-apply, clean up some more, etc.  So what you see here is certainly not how the finished bits will look.  It is a start though.   One thing I've noted on many combat aircraft was that the pilot's glareshields were typically not immaculate flat black.  Same goes for any other horizontal surfaces above the canopy sills.  These spots tended to get bleached out by the sun and were also a perfect area to attract dust, since it was pretty difficult for the ground crew to get in there and wipe those surfaces down.  For my initial attempt, I hit them with some pastels.  I also used the "hairspray" method to replicate the beat up canopy sills.   Flat aluminum, covered with green zinc chromate, covered with Model Master Interior Black (I really love this stuff, it is perfect for replicating the finish applied to cockpits - it just seems "blacker" if that makes any sense at all). 




With these blown up pictures, I can see a lot of spots that need clean up. No biggie.  Also, note that the weathering on the sills was heavier on the port side since that was the side that the pilots (and most ground crew) used to get into the cockpits.  Also added a small amount of staining on the top of the intakes and below the sills to replicate the constant foot traffic in these areas.   Much more to come for weathering those spots. 


Also painted the inner weapons pylons.   The original jets had the "sharp" Navy style pylons that were left in gloss white.   These were replaced by mid-67 with the standard AF curved pylons.    As these came straight from the factory, they were finished in the specified underside color of FS36622 grey (almost a white-ish grey).   It really doesn't show in these pics but this color does make a nice contrast to the overall gloss white undersides.   Just another weird color variation on this aircraft. 




Initial weathering for these consisted of a panel line wash and some black smudging in areas that were handled often during the weapons loading process.   It doesn't show very well in these pics but it's there.   Pictures I've seen of deployed jets show these pylons pretty filthy so I'll probably go back and add some more stains further down the road. 


Lastly, just some touchups to the overall paintwork.  





So that's it for now, thanks for checking in!


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Hello John 

Just caught up again( while I wait to break MY fast!).

I really love those Quinta decals in the Cockpits for the pilot  and WSO .. they look outstanding. 


They look top notch!Cockpit looks AWESOME. 



And your blue tack and paper towel method has produced a fantastic  symmetry  of the scheme. 

Color looks AMAZING. 


:goodjob:    :bow:


MARU 5137 


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John I am really loving this!  Your cockpit work is helping me press on.

As for what you are doing, it's very cool.  You know what I really like about this is that you are challenging us to see just how scruffy these jets got over there.  Instead of just weathering, streaking (errr the oil type), and chipping the paint you are going one step further and showing all the paint touch ups and mismatches.  That really adds another layer to your model.  Cant wait to your next update....and getting that lower wing on!  Mostly because when I get this cockpit of mine done I wont be far off the same process


Cheers Anthony

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