Will Nichols (“Spaced” on the AgapeModels.com forums) just received his order of Accurate Miniature’s F-4C/D Pahntom, and couldn’t wait to share it with us. And I’m glad he did- I’ve been waiting to see this one!
Much can be said and has been said about the McDonnell F-4 Phantom. “Rhino”, and “Lead Sled” are two nicknames that come to mind, along with a corny old joke about two crows sitting on a wire when a Phantom flies overhead, but it’s not repeatable in polite company. A description of the Phantom has been given that if you strap a brick to a shingle, and give it big enough engines, it will fly super sonic. The introductory article alone in the kit instructions take a full page, and list no less than eight good books and magazine articles for further reading about the Phantom.
This is the Phantoms Phiftieth Anniversary, as celebrated by IPMS Phantom Phlashers and the Metro-Atlanta IPMS chapters this summer. Somewhere around the world, a Phantom is defending the skies of its homeland, from the Middle East to Asia, and points in between.
The American Phantoms last hoorah came in the mid-nineties when the last F-4G Wild Weasels took part of Operations Northern and Southern Watch enforcing the No-Fly Zones over Iraq. But some three decades prior to those last missions, the Phantom earned a baptism of fire that few aircraft before or since has ever seen. During the U.S.’s involvement in Vietnam, the Phantom was the primary weapons platform for three branches of the service: Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. It was over the skies of South East Asia that the Phantom would earn its fame. From dropping warheads on foreheads to killing Migs, the Phantom did it all.
|Kit||Accurate Miniatures 1/72 F-4C/D Phantom II “Robin Olds”|
|Decal Options||Cartograph printed decals for 9 different Phantoms:|
171st FIS Michigan ANG 1982 William Tell Fighter Weapons Meet:
|otes||Very nice re-release of the excellent Monogram kit|
When you open Accurate Miniatures familiar yellow and white box, you are greeted by one plastic bag of parts. The 60+ plastic parts inside are molded in neutral gray styrene, and are free of flash, save for a little bit around the engine openings on my example. I will say that after first inspection, the old Monogram kit has held up very well. I do not know if Accurate had to do any cleaning or sprucing up to the molds, but the detail is very crisp, and very nice. Underneath the box tray one finds the instruction booklet, resin AN/ALQ-87 ECM pod, and separately bagged canopies. Canopy options include a single piece closed canopy, and a multi-part open canopy. All are crystal clear.
I had only seen one of these kits (the original Monogram release) built inside a display case at a friend’s house before hand, so actually seeing the nude plastic for the first time was a pleasant surprise. I am pleased to report that the level of detail is superb, so much so that some other manufacturers need to see what Monogram was doing twenty-five years ago and catch-up! The cockpit is very complete, really only needing throttle handles. The ejection seat bottoms are molded into the cockpit tub, with separate backs and ejection seat pull handles. The belts are so well molded onto the seat backs and bottoms, people will accuse you of using resin replacements!
The gear bays are very nicely done (thank you again Monogram) and the landing gear legs are more than adequate for the scale. The only downside is that there are few knockout marks on the legs, which should easily be hidden with a little Mr. Surfacer. Otherwise, the knockout marks are well placed & hidden on the remainder of the kit. Also, the short burner cans have nice detail & separate burner faces with flame holders to be inserted in the back of them. Weapon options include four AIM-9 Side Winders, four AIM-7 Sparrows, & six Mk.82 bombs with fuse extenders. Also given is a centerline SUU-16 20mm gun-pod and alternate ECM pods to the resin one.
The panel lines and rivets are petitely done, and are of the raised variety. Now, don’t moan or let this discourage you from attempting this kit. Test fit along the top of the fuselage is so tight that with a careful application of liquid cement or very thin CA glue, you will not have much a seam to deal with, there by preserving those beautiful raised lines. And if you do lose a line or two, finely stretched sprue from the kit can be used to replace them. I’ll share more about that when we get into the building of the Phantom in coming installments.
The kit gives a very nice, black & white paint guide, along with the actual technical order number for the SEA paint scheme that three of the nine markings will use. The other six including Gen. Yeager’s plane & the five Michigan ANG birds are all over all gloss ADC Gray, FS36622.
These are probably the nicest decals I have ever seen included in a kit. Expertly printed by Cartograph in Italy, they are superbly done & in perfect register. The kit alone is worth the purchase price for the decal sheet alone.
This is still a superb kit, and a great value for the price. This looks like it will be an enjoyable build, and I look forward to sharing it with everyone in the very near future.
William Nichols has been building models in one form or another since he was eleven years old. Spurred on by the Fiftieth Anniversary of Pearl Harbor and a Revell U.S.S. Arizona, a life long hobby was begun. Currently in-between jobs, William thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this time of transition.