Eduard 1/48 Good Evening Da Nang Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2015||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Subject||F-4C Phantom II||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||1193||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Academy kit with Eduard flourish||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$100.00|
In the early days of the Vietnam airwar, MiGs were able to engage strike aircraft over North Vietnam with little effective resistance. The Air Force's primary air defender was the F-100 Super Sabre which lacked an air intercept radar to engage MiGs hiding in the clouds. The F-104 Starfighter was considered but it lacked the range and even with its radar, it couldn't engage targets that hid in the clouds. The interceptors in the USAF inventory lacked self-sealing fuel tanks for air combat. In short, the USAF didn't have a fighter to escort the F-105s and B-52s 'downtown'.
The US Navy had a similar problem with the F8U Crusader and already had the F4H Phantom II in development. As the Navy transitioned from the initial XF4H-1 (F-4A) into the production F4H-1 (F-4B) mission-capable aircraft, a number of of these airframes were loaned to the USAF for evaluation.
The Air Force adopted the type and issued their revisions to McDonnell Douglas for the F-110 Spectre. In 1963, when all branches of the military were directed to standardize their aircraft nomenclatures, the F4H-1 became the F-4B and the F-110 became the F-4C. The F-4C was flowing into squadron service as the Vietnam airwar was underway but many units were still not yet operational. The first squadron to reach Vietnam was the 555 TFS in December, 1964. The Phantom may have been late to the party, but the MiGs were forced to change tactics as the F-4C entered the fight.
Eduard followed last year's 'Good Morning Da Nang', which provided some nice flourish to the Academy 1/48 F-4B kit, with this 'Good Evening Da Nang which provides the same treatment to the Academy 1/48 F-4C kit. Among the kit's features and options:
- Fuselage is molded in one part, just like the Tamiya 1/32 kits
- Cockpits are nicely detailed including color photo-etched instrument panels and side consoles
- Nice Brassin Martin Baker ejection seats w/photo-etch crew restraints
- Optional seated crew figures
- Optional boarding ladder
- Positionable canopies
- Nicely detailed main gear wells
- Main wheels and tires molded separately for ease of painting
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable speed brakes
- Outer wing panels molded separately and can be folded (wing hinges not included)
- Intakes have ducts to the compressor faces
- Choice of styrene or Brassin resin afterburner chambers with turbine faces and nozzles
- New inboard Air Force pylons
External stores included for this version:
- 4 x AIM-9B Sidewinder
- 4 x AIM-7D/E Sparrow
- 12 x Mk.82 Slicks
- 2 x 370 gallon wing tanks
- 1 x 600 gallon centerline tank
- 2 x triple ejector racks (TER)
- 2 x multiple ejector rack (MER)
The instructions would have you arm this kit with the AIM-9J but the F-4C came to the USAF with the existing US Navy AIM-9B armament. The F-4D would be further developed into a proper USAF fighter and was armed with the AIM-4 Falcon in place of the AIM-9. When the Falcon fizzled in combat, the F-4D was hastily modified to employ the AIM-9E/J series which would also arm the F-4E, but that story comes later.
There are a number of other notable items not mentioned in the instructions including an SUU-16/23 20mm gun pod which was typically carried on the aircraft centerline station to compensate for the lack of an internal gun. In high maneuverability air combat however, the gun oscillated on the pylon enough that the safest place to be was in the middle of the gunsight pipper as the rounds would go everywhere but there.
This kit provides markings for five examples:
- F-4C, 64-0726, 557 TFS/12 TFW, XC, Cam Rahn Bay AB, 1968
- F-4C, 63-7500, 390 TFS/366 TFW, BB, Da Nang AB, 1967
- F-4C, 64-0676, 45 TFS/2 AD, -, Ubon RTAFB, 1966, 1 MiG kill
- F-4C, 64-0752, 480 TFS/35 TFW, -, Da Nang AB, 1967, 1 MiG kill
- F-4C, 64-0776, 389 TFS/366 TFW, AK, Da Nang AB, 1967, 3 MiG kills
The decal sheet not only provides the distinctive markings for this aircraft, it features a very thorough set of maintenance stenciling for the airframe and a nice set of stencils and markings for the weapons as well. Nice!
I was skeptical that Academy could unseat Hasegawa as best F-4 kit maker in 1/48 scale but now I am convinced. Eduard takes the kit several steps above the standard Academy release. You may wish to use Eduard's Brassin weapons as they too build up nicer than the stock kit parts. With the Brassin details, color photo-etched cockpit parts, and nice markings options, these Eduard F-4 kits (Good morning and good evening Da Nang) are the best in 1/48.
For a look at the Academy F-4B kit built-up, take a look at our quick-build review.