Hasegawa 1/72 F-4B/N Phantom II Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2011||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||F-4B/N Phantom II||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||01566||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Very nice detailing||Cons||Unarmed (see text)|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$41.95|
Unlike most military aircraft developments, the F4H was a company-funded development that initially did little to interest the US Navy. Nevertheless, the Navy started warming to the idea of a powerful carrier-based all-weather interceptor. First flown in May 1958, the prototype displayed impressive performance with the help of its twin afterburning J79 engines. The Phantom II was born.
Developed as the guided missile interceptor, the F4H, re-designated as the F-4 in 1963, featured a powerful intercept radar, a two-man crew, and up to eight guided missiles. This aircraft was supposed to make the air-to-air gun obsolete. That didn't happen, but that's another story. Typical loadout for the aircraft was four IR-guided AIM-9 Sidewinders on the inboard stations, four radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow missiles in semi-recessed bays under the fuselage, and three external fuel tanks, two on the outboard stations and one centerline.
The Navy operated a limited number of F-4As for a brief time while their preferred initial configuration, the F-4B was under production. Combat experience with the F-4B and advancements in avionics and engine technology led to the next USN version - the F-4J. The F-4J featured the new AWG-10 radar, the J79-GE-10 engines, slatted tail surfaces and drooped ailerons. When the next Navy fighter was cancelled (F-111B) and its follow-on was experiencing some delays (F-14), the Navy performed service life updates to its Phantom fleet with the F-4B and F-4J receiving avionics upgrades and airframe life extensions. The upgraded F-4B would be designated as F-4N while the updated F-4J would be designated F-4S.
Hasegawa has had a love affair with the Phantom II family. Their 1/48 Phantom II kit line-up just about covers all of the F-4s ever produced, and is the most extensive of any model manufacturer. They are also replicating this nice selection of Phantom variants in 1/72 scale as well. This release is the F-4B/N, with parts to replicate either version.
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on ten parts trees plus a single tree of clear parts. While the kit may use the same drawings as the 1/48 scale counterpart, this isn't a scaled down version of that kit. The 1/48 scale Phantoms were developed when tooling was less expensive, so each of the Phantom variants received its own fuselage tooling (where needed). This design is based on the more contemporary Hasegawa standard of modularity with the rear fuselage common for most of the Phantom variants. The nose section is molded as a separate tree which can be used on all of the USN and USAF variants except the F-4E/G and RF-4B/C. Those will have their own forward fuselage toolings. There are a few common parts trees like those that have the wing and centerline drop tanks (including the F-15 tank used on the F-4G and not used here). The rest of the parts trees are smaller toolings containing the specialized parts including the unslatted stabilators used on these versions, pointed inboard pylons used on Navy/USMC aircraft, etc.
Looking over the model, it is clear that Hasegawa did their homework. The airframe captures numerous distinctive details:
- Nice ejection seats (need seatbelts and harnesses)
- Correct rear cockpit right console panel/wall
- Positionable canopies
- Positionable stabilators
- Centerline fuel tank
- Outboard wing tanks
- Inboard pylons with dual AIM-9 missile rails
As with many of the kits from Hasegawa, this kit comes unarmed. If you want to add missiles, bombs, rockets, whatever, you'll need to pick up one (or more) of Hasegawa's weapons sets (or raid your stash).
The kit provides marking options for three aircraft:
- F-4N, 153012, VF-111, NM/200, USS Roosevelt, CAG aircraft
- F-4B, 153059, VF-151, NF/200, USS Midway, CAG aircraft
- F-4B, 152217, VMFA-115, VE/10
The decals are nicely printed and feature walkways, anti-glare panels, and some of the more visible maintenance stencils.
This is a really nice looking kit that isn't complex, so this should be an easy build for most modelers. The early Phantoms have always had some interesting color schemes and the two included in this kit are good examples. This will be a fun build for the average modeler and provide some interesting opportunities for the AMS modeler that will want to do that little bit of surgery to fold the wings and drop in a resin cockpit. Either way, this F-4B/N kit is a welcome addition to scale flight lines everywhere.
My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!