Academy 1/48 F-4C Phantom II 'Vietnam War' First Look Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||October 2013||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||F-4C Phantom II 'Vietnam War'||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||12294||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Another outstanding F-4 kit||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$75.00|
While the subject of this kit is 'Vietnam War', the markings are specifically for the aircraft flown by Colonel Robin Olds, commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing between September 1966 and September 1967. Olds was a warrior first and he flew over 150 combat missions, 105 of those over North Vietnam. Olds was a triple ace, though only four were MiGs - the remaining 12 kills were from his combat tours in World War II. His aircraft was F-4C 64-0829 that carried the name 'Scat XXVII' in keeping with the naming convention of his previous aircraft. Colonel Olds could have easily scored another kill during his tour, but he opted to pass them to other pilots as he had been warned that the first USAF Vietnam War ace would be sent home as a public relations asset - a horrible outcome for a warrior. You can read more about Colonel Robin Olds here.
After seeing Academy's first Phantom release last year, the F-4B (look here), there was no surprise that Academy would be following up that release with an F-4C/D given that most of the required parts were already in the box. After our quick build (look here) and our comparison to the Hasegawa kit (look here), there is also no surprise that this kit will be better than the Hasegawa kit and a joy to build.
Among the kit's features and options:
- Fuselage is molded in one part, just like the Tamiya 1/32 kits
- Kit is modular hinting at multiple variants, more on this later
- Cockpit is nicely detailed
- Nice Martin Baker ejection seats
- 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
- Nice afterburner chambers with turbine faces
- 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.
For a discussion of the other weapons in this kit, look at our F-4B first look review (link above).
This kit provides markings for one example:
- F-4C, 64-0829, 8 TFW, 'SCAT XXVII', 1967/68
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!
As I said in the beginning, I was skeptical that Academy could unseat Hasegawa as best F-4 kit maker in 1/48 scale but I am convinced. The proof will be in a quick-build soon to see if this kit goes together as nicely as it looks in the box. Stay tuned. Aside from the colored plastic which isn't a plus for my tastes and the wide open nozzles, Academy has done a great job of putting everything in this box that we've had to seek from the aftermarket world to fix in the Hasegawa kits such as intake ducts and external stores. Overall, I think we have a winner here! I'm assuming that Academy will be using the same designs to render the F-4 in 1/72 scale, so it is a safe bet that they'll dominate that scale as well.
For a look at the F-4B kit build-up, take a look at our quick-build review.
This kit is definitely recommended!
My sincere thanks to Model Rectifier Corporation for this review sample!