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F-4B/N and early RF-4B Airframe Conversion

Cutting Edge 1/48 F-4B/N and early RF-4B Airframe Conversion First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2007 Manufacturer Cutting Edge
Subject F-4B/N and early RF-4B Phantom II Airframe Conversion Scale 1/48
Kit Number CEC48508 Primary Media Resin
Pros Very straightforward conversion to backdate the Hasegawa 1/48 F-4J to either an F-4B (with scribed panel lines) or a never before offered conversion to the F-4N. Will also work nicely to backdate the Hasegawa 1/48 RF-4B kit to an early configuration airframe. Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) OOP

First Look

Coming soon to a workbench near you, Cutting Edge has just released their 1/48 scale F-4B/N Phantom II conversion for the Hasegawa kit. But wait a minute, Hasegawa already produces a 1/48 F-4B Phantom II kit. Why do we need a conversion? Well I'm glad you asked! The Hasegawa F-4B kit was (I believe) the first of the famous 1/48 Phantoms to be released and it was patterned after other kits of the day - with raised panel lines. This was the only Phantom to see the raised panel lines as subsequent versions were all designed with scribed panel lines. For whatever reason, Hasegawa never went back to bring their F-4B up to the same standards as the rest of their broad range of phantastic Phantoms.

F-4B/N and early RF-4B Airframe Conversion

Cutting Edge to the rescue. Having done all of the engineering to backdate the Tamiya 1/32 (huge) F-4C/D or F-4J kits into either the F-4B or F-4N, they set their sights on the 1/48 scale Hasegawa kits. The good news is that Hasegawa continues to turn out the F-4J Phantom II kit on a regular basis (with different decals) and like the others in the series, features nicely scribed surface details. With the wide availability of this kit on store shelves (and likely one or two on our own shelves) Cutting Edge focused on this kit for the backdate conversion.

This set provides new upper wing halves with the main wheel well bulges removed, new trailing edge flaps and ailerons, new speed brakes, narrow main wheels, and the fuselage extenders for the shorter J79 engine nozzles.

If you're building the F-4N, you won't use the replacement horizontal stabs as these are the unslotted versions used on most F-4Bs. You will want the new fin cap fairing and the ECM antennas that mount to the intake trunk shoulders. The nicely cast radome is molded in F-4N configuration.

If you're doing the F-4B, you will use the stabs, you won't use the fin cap nor shoulder fairings (but always check your references for the inevitable 'exception' to the rule), and the instructions will show you the feed horn fairing to remove from the radome underside to backdate the radome to F-4B configuration.

Update: This detail set hadn't been out long before some folks discovered that this set will also backdate the Hasegawa 1/48 RF-4B kit into an early airframe configuration as well. Here are the revised instructions. One other note from Meteor Productions, the best seamless intake to work with this conversion is CEC48474.

When you're finished, you'll have a scribed Hasegawa F-4B or a never-before-released F-4N to add to your scale flightline. Your F-4B or F-4N will actually have a nicer shaped radome than the one in the kit plus you'll be able to drop the flaps with no effort! All you need to wrap the conversion up is a set of short J79 nozzles!

My sincere thanks to Meteor Productions for this review sample!

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