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McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II "HAF 40 Years of Phantoms" [Zoukei-Mura 1:48]


Alex
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For some reason I'm lacking interest in digging back into my Airacobra right now.  Hopefully the zeal will resurface - GB runs 'til the end of November so I've got time...

 

Instead, I decided to pull something I've had for a while down off the shelf.  I bought this kit (and the AM decals I'll use with it) more than a year ago, having heard great things about the kit (all Z-M kits, really) and having not built a Phantom since I was a kid and they were still in active use by the US military.  I've also never built a Zoukei-Mura kit, so that's exciting.

 

This is the kit:

 

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And this is the subject:

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There's a whole host of upgrades that the HAF did to their Phantom fleet between 1974 and 2014 (when this photo was taken).  Most of them are electronics/avionics, that won't be visible except for some updated screens in the cockpit that I may try to scratch.  But I'm going to have to figure out a good way to add those prominent doohickeys on the upper front of the fuselage just behind the intakes (anyone know what they are?).

 

And no, it's not an LSP, but these jet fighters are too big for a 1:32 model to make sense for my space.  I've decided that the prop-jet transition is going to be a hard shift from 1:32 to 1:48 for my styrene air wing...

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3 hours ago, Alex said:

But I'm going to have to figure out a good way to add those prominent doohickeys on the upper front of the fuselage just behind the intakes (anyone know what they are?).

 

Sensors or antennas of some sort, but I don't recall the specifics.

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It's very obvious that this Hellenic Phantom has slats (visible on the upswept outer wings) which as far as I can tell, are not part of an early F-4E kit.  If that's important to you, you may have to consider a different kit than what you currently plan on using.  That or seek out aftermarket mods for a slat equipped E model phantom.

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32 minutes ago, Juggernut said:

It's very obvious that this Hellenic Phantom has slats (visible on the upswept outer wings) which as far as I can tell, are not part of an early F-4E kit.  If that's important to you, you may have to consider a different kit than what you currently plan on using.  That or seek out aftermarket mods for a slat equipped E model phantom.

Hmmm.  I am going to have to look back at the instructions.  I believe, when I looked through them the first time, that there were options for both slats and flaps to be posed up or down.  But I may be mis-remembering.

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2 hours ago, Alex said:

Hmmm.  I am going to have to look back at the instructions.  I believe, when I looked through them the first time, that there were options for both slats and flaps to be posed up or down.  But I may be mis-remembering.

 

The leading edge flaps can be posed up or down, yes.  I reviewed the ZM instructions before I posted.  Leading edge flaps unfortunately are not the same thing as leading edge slats.  I'll see if I can find a photo or two to illustrate what I'm talking about.  Stay tuned....

 

Ok, below is a photo of an F-4E with the unslatted wing, notice how clean the leading edge is, no bumps or protrusions from root to tip.  I haven't found a better photo of an unslatted wing yet so I hope this will do until I (or someone else) can find one.

 

0mUZkUs.jpg

 

Now below is a photo of a slatted F-4 wing, notice the underwing bulges inboard of the slat which is itself clearly visible sitting above the leading edge of the outer portion of the wing.  This does not retract to be flush with the wing leading edge, this is in the retracted position already.

 

gVhQsdt.jpg

 

A factory photo of the leading edge slats, retracted and extended.  The slats were a modification to the Phantom's wing to enable the jet to maneuver better, i.e., turn tighter.  I don't know when the modifications were begun but I'm thinking it was in the mid-1970's after the Vietnam war.

 

QopqlNS.jpg

 

Here's a Hellenic Phantom with the slats (albeit a very small photograph):

 

E7iSnZ0.jpg

 

As I said in the original post, if this isn't important to you then continue on as planned but if it is, you may want to research if there are any mods for the ZM kit to convert it to a slatted phantom.  As an aside, I do like the looks of the Hellenic F-4's.  The grey paint with the roundels just looks really nice.  The commemorative art is also striking.

 

All photos borrowed from an internet Google search.

Edited by Juggernut
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Gotcha - that’s definitely not part of this kit.  I will have a look around and see if there are options to AM these or possibly switch to a different Z-M kit. They have done a number of Phantoms already.

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That was quick.  Hypersonic Models makes a slatted wing set for exactly this kit.  It’s on its way from Japan now…

 

Thanks for pointing this out, too - I am very much a WW2 warbird guy for the most part, so my knowledge of anything jet-era is so far pretty limited.

 

 I now have two AM things coming from Japan (also ordered a set of flexible plastic seatbelts from Fine Molds).  Depending on how long it takes for this stuff to arrive, I may have to start something else in parallel…

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My pleasure and I’m glad you accepted the input in the spirit with which it was offered.  Although rare, some aren’t so kind.

 

I’m also glad you were able to locate an aftermarket set for the slatted wing.  It will make this build that much more attractive as well as accurate.  
 

Im not a real jet guy either but have had my share of Phantoms, Falcons, Eagles, and the like over the decades.  That has also led to some expansion of my modest library which I refer to as needed.  It serves me well and although some of my titles are dated, the information therein is valid (for the most part) up until the date of publication for the jets anyway.

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This is the AM decal set I got (from a company in Germany) for the Greek Phantoms in anniversary livery.

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One thing that's notable immediately is that they supply far fewer stencils than (the massive number of them) supplied in the Z-M kit.  And none for the top or bottom of the bird.  I'll need to see what views I can get the try and determine if the full USAF stencil set is reproduced on these guys, or if not, what is.  For the sides at least there will be lots of photos and I can compare to this sheet and the kit sheet.  One thing that is clear from photos is that most of the stencils are very worn/faded:

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Most of the black text stencils are badly faded, although clearly the yellow Rescue call-out (and the national roundel) gets reapplied more often.  I will need to do the decals in steps, with the faded ones first, followed by a mist coat of the camo colors, then the ones that need to be brighter.  The roundels I will just paint on.

 

It's a bit overwhelming how much color photography there is of these planes out there, probably in part because they were the last (I believe, at least close to last) F-4s in active service.  It's quite a change from WW2 Japanese fighters, where (unless it's a Zero) you struggle to find a couple of grainy B&W images, and color is unheard of.

 

A few examples.

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I decided to start out skipping Step 1, which builds the ejection seats, because I have AM harnesses on order for them, and once built they don't get installed until much later anyway.

 

Step 2, of course, starts building the rest of the cockpit...

 

The pieces that make up the cockpit floor and integrated with it the forward LG bay fit together snugly enough that the assembly is solid and stable without glue:

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The underside (gear bay):

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The instrument consoles are all separate small pieces that have decals supplied to do the knobs, switches, dial faces, etc.  The instructions are densely drawn and a bit confusing, so I made a chart to make sure I was solid on which decals went on which part.

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Those decal numbers are indicative of how many stencils are supplied with the kit (numbers go up to about 400).

 

All the main cockpit parts ready for the paint shop.

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I started by doing the LG bay with Mr Base White 1000

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Once it dried I hit it with the recommended FS17875, which is a warmer white...

 

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Consistent with photos:

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I resisted the urge to start adding plumbing - I want to spend my scratchbuilding/detailing time on stuff that you'll see without picking the model up and flipping it over.  I will definitely add some filth to the bay once the paint is cured...

 

For the cockpit interior I went with Extra Dark Sea Gray (the instructions call out Vallejo colors, so I'm transposing into Gunze).

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On 7/30/2021 at 5:23 PM, Juggernut said:

It's very obvious that this Hellenic Phantom has slats (visible on the upswept outer wings) which as far as I can tell, are not part of an early F-4E kit.  If that's important to you, you may have to consider a different kit than what you currently plan on using.  That or seek out aftermarket mods for a slat equipped E model phantom.

 

Jeffrey Kubiak of Hypersonic is working on a Greek AUP set in conjunction with a Greek company, specifically designed to upgrade the ZM early hard wing E.  He already has a late USAF (and other) F-4E set with TISEO and slats.

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