Academy 1/72 F-4J Phantom II Quick Build Review
|Date of Review||October 2015||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||F-4J Phantom II||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||12515||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy construction, nice detailing||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$42.00|
If you'd like to take a look at the kit as it comes out of the box, check out the in-box review previously published here on Cybermodeler Online. When Academy released their 1/48 scale F-4B Phantom II kit three years ago, it was met with a great deal of skepticism about its accuracy against the (then) Hasegawa 'gold standard'. I decided to do a quick-build of the Academy F-4B kit and then compare it to a quick-build of the Hasegawa 1/48 F-4B kit. What followed was an interesting online debate on the various modeling forums which found the Academy kit was indeed more accurate in shape. Fast forward to this year and Academy released their first installment in the F-4 series, the F-4J in 1/72 scale.
What was interesting about the 1/72 release is that they again used multi-colored plastic with the idea that you could build this model without painting. They didn't get that quite right with the 1/48 scale kit, but they seemed to be closer this time. In addition, this kit uses a snap-kit approach to assembly though with some of the small parts, I wouldn't give this to a new modeler without a few other kits for experience. Even with the snap fit, I'd still recommend using glue to keep all the many parts in this kit together.
After doing a quick build of Academy's recent T-50 trainer kit, I wanted to see how this kit assembles in comparison. As with any quick build we perform, I don't use any paint or filler in the assembly of this model nor any special tools - just Tamiya Extra Thin Cement, Xuron Sprue Cutters, a micro-file, and a pair of tweezers. This model is far more complex than the T-50 but assembly is straightforward if you follow the instructions.
There are a few issues in the instructions to note however:
- In step 4, the instructions don't mention part F16 that should slip between the molded-in bars toward the rear of the nosewheel well as this part has the arm that attaches to the nosegear door.
- In step 13, the main landing gear retraction arms are identified as parts A22 and A23 when they are really E22 and E23.
- In step 19, the centerline tank is shown as being parts F3/F5/F11/F12 when they are E3/E5/E11/E12, but Academy did have a small slip of paper in the box with that correction that I found later.
Aside from that, no problems.
The kit goes together easily and I didn't have any problems. In facy, I am impressed with how nice the completed model looked with no gaps/seams that were causing problems. The only minor annoyance was the set of holes on the intake for the late F-4J, F-4S and F-4N ECM fairings. With this release being the Vietnam era F-4J, these holes should have been flashed over but they were left open and a set of stickers were provided to cover the holes. I put the F-4N fairings in place just to hide the holes (the F-4J/S fairings are also in the kit). I had left the radome off the model in case it needed ballast in the nose, but the kit sits nicely on the landing gear without any ballast.
In bare plastic, the kit comes closer to a model that doesn't need paint compared to the 1/48 scale kit, but I wondered how the stickers would work for a younger modeler. One thing led to another and I applied the stickers to the unpainted plastic airframe. At first glance, the model looks pretty good. They provide white background stickers for the rudder and flaps which help, but the undersides of the leading edge flaps, intakes, wheel wells and outer wing panels still need white. Of course when you start down the painting path, there are lots of other items that need paint as well, but as I said, at first glance, this looks pretty nice and would please a younger modeler.
This kit is a fun and easy build. This is a good model for younger/less experienced modelers and I do recommend using cement. The experienced and AMS modelers will still have fun with this model as there are nice detailing opportunities, especially in the cockpit though the canopy can only be posed closed. With all of the great aftermarket decal subjects for the F-4J out there, this Academy kit will make a great 'canvas' to show off as many subjects as you wish to build.
Thanks to MRC for this review sample.