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F-4J

Revell 1/48 F-4J Phantom II 'Blue Angels' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2005 Manufacturer Revell
Subject F-4J Phantom II Scale 1/48
Kit Number 6879 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Still a nice kit, now with new decal sheet and Bert Kinzey book Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $25.98

First Look

F-4J
F-4J
F-4J
F-4J
F-4J

The McDonnell F4H Phantom II was an evolutionary growth of the F3H Demon and the F-101 Voodoo. Designed as a multi-role fighter, it represented the next generation of fighter, where missile finally replaces the gun. Little did the designers know that not only would the gun return in fighters, it would also enter the Phantom with the F-4E and F-4F!

Armed with the AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeker and AIM-7 Sparrow, the early Navy Phantoms would quickly learn their strengths and weaknesses in the skies over southeast Asia. The Air Force realized that it also needed an all-weather fighter as the F-100 Super Sabre was not equipped with a radar. Initially designated the F-110, Secretary of Defense McNamara directed the services to align their aircraft designation systems and the F-110 and F4H would become the F-4.

By the time the McDonnell and Douglas companies merged, the next generation Phantom was entering the fleet as the F-4J. This aircraft featured an improved radar, avionics and uprated J79 engines. This aircraft would also be selected to represent the Navy's aerial demonstration team, the Blue Angels, replacing the F11F Tiger. The F-4J would be the star of the airshow circuit with the Blue Angels during the 1969-1973 seasons until soaring fuel prices forced the team to transition to the more frugal A-4 Skyhawk.

Here is another nice kit from Revell (Monogram) that has been around for many years. The F-4J Phantom II kit was the best F-4 kit in any scale until the first Hasegawa Phantoms appeared on store shelves, but even then, the first Hasegawa F-4J Phantom II releases had one thing in common with the original Monogram kit, both featured raised panel lines and details!

While significantly cheaper than the Hasegawa kit, the Monogram (or in this case, Revell) kit had better cockpit detailing and a full load of external weapons (something still not offered in the Hasegawa kits for much more $$$). The rest of the Hasegawa F-4 kits were released with scribed panel lines and even the tooling for the F-4J was also revised with scribed details. The choice is yours.

Molded in dark blue styrene, this release represents one of the aircraft from the Blue Angels' team. If you opt to build this as a stock F-4J, the external fuel tanks for the outboard pylons, the triple ejector racks and twin AIM-9 rails for the inboard pylons, four AIM-9s and four AIM-7s are included in the kit. There is even one of the older ECM pods for carriage in one of the forward AIM-7 wells. Two crew figures are also included, one seated and one standing, both of which paint up into nice crew figures.

F-4J While some modelers will opt for the more expensive Hasegawa kit, this release is ideal for the average modeler and especially for the younger modeler wanting to learn about military aviation at an affordable price. To this end, Revell has been pushing up the stakes in the education department. In this release (hence the higher retail price), we have a special edition of a Detail and Scale publication by author Bert Kinzey that walks through the history of the Blue Angels. This 48 page book takes a brief look and the history, colors and aircraft of the Blue Angels, including the F6F, F8F, SNJ, F9F, TO-2, TV-2, F7U, F11F, F-4J, A-4, F/A-18, and of course Fat Albert - the C-130.

Markings are provided to represent one of the four diamond formation aircraft. You'll need aftermarket decals to do one of the solo aircraft. The decals are laid out to minimize the painting of your kit as all you'll need to do is paint the aircraft overall Blue Angel Blue, apply the decals, then apply yellow to the four dummy Sparrows.

I am happy to see this kit back on store shelves. Even with the extra book, the kit still provides an inexpensive alternative for a 1/48 F-4 Phantom II and the kit still builds up into a nice model.

My sincere thanks to Revell for this review sample!

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