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F-4J Phantom II 'Showtime 100' Kit

Academy 1/72 F-4J Phantom II 'Showtime 100' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2015 Manufacturer Academy
Subject F-4J Phantom II 'Showtime 100' Scale 1/72
Kit Number 12515 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy construction, nice detailing Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $42.00

First Look

F-4J Phantom II 'Showtime 100' Kit
F-4J Phantom II 'Showtime 100' Kit
F-4J Phantom II 'Showtime 100' Kit
F-4J Phantom II 'Showtime 100' Kit

The Navy flew the F-4B extensively in Southeast Asia and as technology improved, the Navy ordered the F-4J to replace the F-4B. The F-4J featured an improved radar and higher thrust J79 engines. When Secretary of Defense McNamara's mandated replacement for the Naval F-4 faltered in development (the F-111B), the Navy performed a life extension program on their fleet of Phantoms. The F-4B received avionics updates and the resulting aircraft was designated F-4N, while the F-4J was not only given upgraded avionics, it also retrofitted with a similar flap/slat system as the later block USAF F-4Es. These updated F-4J aircraft were designated as the F-4S. These upgraded Phantoms soldiered on until the F-111B replacement, the F-14A Tomcat, could enter the fleet in sufficient numbers.

A few years ago, Academy released the first new-tool 1/48th scale F-4 Phantom II kit in well over a decade and though many were skeptical that it could be better/more accurate than the Hasegawa 1/48 Phantoms, it turned out that Academy did indeed prevail. Since that time, Academy has released the F-4B, F-4C/D, and F-4J kits, all with great response. When Academy announced the F-4 in 1/72 scale as well, folks have been anxiously awaiting Academy's first installment in that scale. Your wait is over.

Here is Academy's new 1/72 F-4J Phantom II, the first of the Phantoms in this scale. Like the 1/48 scale F-4B and F-4J releases, Academy has produced this kit in multi-colored plastic to provide the modeler with the option of building this kit without paint (and still look somewhat reasonable). The kit is molded in white, gray, and black styrene and presented on eight parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. The surface detailing is finely scribed with no signs of mold flash. Among the features and options:

  • Basic cockpits
  • One-piece windscreen/canopies (closed)
  • J79 engine faces at end of intake ducts
  • Positionable landing gear
  • Positionable speed brakes

The kit includes the following external load options:

  • 2 x triple ejector racks
  • 6 x Mk.82 500 pound bombs
  • 4 x AIM-9 Sidewinders
  • 4 x AIM-7 Sparrows
  • 2 x 370 gallon outboard external tanks
  • 1 x 600 gallon centerline tank

The kit provides markings for the following aircraft:

  • F-4J, 155800, VF-96, NG/100, USS Constellation, 1972, MiG killer, CAG aircraft
  • F-4J, 155792, VF-96, NG/107, USS Constellation, 1972

While AMS modelers will want to add some details into the cockpits and ejection seats, this kit is engineered to be buildable by less experienced modelers. Most modelers will also want to paint their models but Academy is doing a nice job producing kits that will appeal to newer or lesser-skilled modelers. If you don't want to paint the model, Academy includes a set of stickers in addition to the sheet of waterslide decals. In any case, the release aftermarket decals for this kit have already begun.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this sample!