Build a Better Hasegawa 1/72 F-4 Phantom II Review
By John Huggins
|Date of Review||Apr 2022||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||F-4C Phantom II||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||04104||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice subject, looks great||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||OOP|
With few exceptions (the new FineMold kits), the Hasegawa Phantoms are just about the best F-4 kits around. There are some that are better in some ways, but overall, the Hasegawa kits are pretty much the go to kit if you want a model of the Phantom. They cover just about all the different variants and even some of the test and some of the foreign built models. They have their nits and little bugs, but all are fixable for the most part with a little filler, some sandpaper, a scriber, and test fitting.
All the short-nosed and RF types had the Navy style Probe door and IFR light on the right side of the nose. If you are doing an Air Force version, fill in these lines, and for all AF types, scribe in the Inflight Refueling door on the spine. They all have Photoflash bays on the aft fuselage. If you are not doing a RF version, glue the doors on in the closed position and fill in the seam around them. If you are not doing a Navy type, do not use the bridle gooks on the wing bottom, and remove the associated antennas. You see, most of the nits are fixable by either filling seams, scribing new doors, or removing lumps and bumps.
The biggest bug with them is that when you look in the intake, about 1.5 inch back, you see a blank wall. It just wasn’t ever there on the real airplane, and over the years there have been several attempts from the cottage industry to fix the problem with resin cast seamless intakes. I have tried most of them, and all for the most part, were a pain to get done. They involved a fair amount of cutting and replacing of kit parts with cast resin parts. Most of them involved complete replacement of the intake parts that attached to the nose of the kit. This meant doing some filling and seam work where the resin and plastic parts joined. I don’t know about you, but I was never able to get both sides to look the same and never got what I would call a good join line.
I have used a paper intake system that I got from a long-time modeling friend, Phantom Guru and former Phantom Driver. He goes by speedy01 or just Gene on some of the modeling boards. Day to day, I call him Gene, but formally, it is Col. Korotky. I have known Gene for a long time, and we have swapped Phantom parts, info and modeling tips back and forth for a long time. We have even been known to share a few war stories a time or too also.
Anyway, I have been using his paper intake templates for several years, but a couple of weeks ago, I saw a couple of build articles on the web involving Phantoms. One was from a gentleman in Japan, and the other from a Gentleman in Australia. Between the two of them, they have provided a whole host of resin 3D print files for upgrade/conversions of the Phantom. Some are already in 1/72 scale. Some are in 1/48 scale, and some are in 1/32 scale. The bottom line here is that all the parts they have made and then converted to 3D printed parts have been made available to us in the form of their .stl files.
Most of these parts must be printed with a resin type printer. The detail is just too fine and the parts in some cases are just too small to print on a filament type printer. If you have a resin printer or have access to one, you are on your way to some fantastic upgrade/replacement parts. If not, there are several places that will do the printing for you, for a fee. Now, the beauty of all this is that it doesn’t really matter what scale you build in, when you load the part in the slicer program, you select the scale function, tell it what percentage you want to increase or decrease the part and push the enter key. In the blink of an eye, you have your part in your desired scale.
Now here is how we can fix the main problem with the 1/72 scale Hasegawa Phantom - the intakes. These are all the parts you need.
The intake trunks were designed by a talented modeler named Mathieu (link at bottom of article) for the 1/32 scale Tamiya F-4B kit. I scaled them by 44.44 percent and now I have a pair of 1/72 scale intake trunks. After they are printed, if you look closely, you will see a small fitting which is where the sensor probe is attached on the intake wall. The intake parts are handed, so make sure you have the correct part, and align the existing hole in the kit intake with the fitting on the resin part.
When you have the part aligned correctly, tack glue it in place with a bit of super glue along the outer front edge and along the raised ridge on the aft end of the intake part. When it is aligned correctly start gluing the sides of the resin intake to the sides of the kit intake part. Work slowly and use small drops of Super glue. Let it seep into the voids and then press the part in place to lock it down.
Now lay the back of the kit intake in place over the resin intake and mark the aft edge. This will be your vertical cut line. Then cut along the top and bottom edges of the intake to remove the section of resin.
When this done, trim the top and bottom edge back until the kit part fits flush with the edges. After it is glued in place, you can run a small bead of white glue along the seams, and they will blend in and be almost invisible when painted. You can also use this trick along the front edge as well.
Now it is time to remove a small section of plastic from the nose part. Make a vertical cut at the front of the raised area, then cut back along the upper edges of the intake area. This will open up the necessary space for the intake trunks to enter the fuselage. You will also have to remove the corresponding part from the aft fuselage area as well.
So far This has taken about 30 minutes to do. Some paint on the inside of the intake trunk and find an engine front and I will be ready to glue it all together. These intake trunks will make a big improvement to the kit.
Looking around the Internet, I have found a lot of other items as well, some must be purchased, but the cost is normally $2.00 or less. The only thing I haven’t found yet is an engine face and boarding ladder for the F-4. I found ladders for the F-105, A-4, T-33, F-16, and F-100, and a back seat ladder for an FGR-2. Someday ladders will show up for the Phantom.
Much better - no blank wall
That little gray part is what makes it a Mk 5 seat. The Mk 7 seat didn’t have the shroud around the parachute container. There are other things, but they can’t be seen when the seat is installed in the kit.
The information about the intake parts can be found here found here.
The intake files can be found here.
Other parts can be found here found here.
This is the start of a model of F-4B BuNo 149405 which was one of the 15 airplanes on loan by the Navy to the Air Force in 1963 and was all dressed up as a F-110 Spectre, FJ-405, the first Air Force Phantom. As I find more replacement/upgrade parts I will incorporate them in the build and add to this article
Stay tuned and let’s see what shows up.