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F-4EJ Kai

Hasegawa 1/48 F-4EJ Kai Phantom II Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2013 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject F-4EJ Kai Phantom II '8SQ Panthers, JASDF' Scale 1/48
Kit Number 09556 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, great details Cons Sparse cockpit detail, stencils
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $64.99

First Look

F-4EJ Kai Kit
F-4EJ Kai Kit
F-4EJ Kai Kit
F-4EJ Kai Kit
F-4EJ Kai Kit
F-4EJ Kai Kit

Japan adopted the F-4 Phantom II in the late 1960s to replace the F-104J Starfighter. They selected the F-4E which was entering production for the USAF though the F-4EJ, as this variant would be designated, was not equipped for air refueling nor air-to-ground weapons delivery. The aircraft was built in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and entered service in 1972.

By the late 1980s, Japan wanted to update the capabilities of the F-4EJ by replacing the radar with the APG-66 (the same radar in the F-16) and add the capability to launch the ASM-1 and ASM-2 indigenous anti-ship missiles and support an array of indigenous air-to-air missiles as well. These upgraded aircraft were designated as F-4EJ Kai and equipped the last three squadrons to operate the F-4: 8 (Misawa), 301 (Nyutabaru), and 306 (Naha).

Hasegawa's F-4E Phantoms remain the best kits of the type in 1/48 scale as well as 1/72. They clearly show a love affair that the kit designers have with this subject and to date have produced just about every version of the Phantom that rolled off the production line. Their F-4EJ Kai kit is essentially their standard F-4E plastic kit together with an impressive decal sheet.

The kit is molded light gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees of light gray styrene. The details on this kit (as are most of the Phantoms) are finely scribed. This kit also has a single tree of clear parts to position the canopies in the open position.

The standard external stores included in this release include:

  • 4 x AIM-9J/P Sidewinders (not used)
  • 4 x AIM-7D/E Sparrows
  • 2 x external 370 gallon tanks on the outboard pylons
  • 1 x standard 600 gallon centerline tank (not used)
  • 1 x F-15-type 600 gallon centerline tank

The box art reflects the AIM-9L/M carried on the F-4EJ Kai though none are provided in the box, but are available in their separately sold weapons sets.

Markings are provided for five examples:

  • F-4EJ Kai, 57-8354, 8SQ Panthers, JASDF
  • F-4EJ Kai, 57-8362, 8SQ Panthers, JASDF
  • F-4EJ Kai, 47-8331, 8SQ Panthers, JASDF
  • F-4EJ Kai, 27-8305, 8SQ Panthers, JASDF
  • F-4EJ Kai, 27-8306, 8SQ Panthers, JASDF

The decal sheet provides an incredible number of maintenance stencils, all for one airframe. The only problem here is that these stencils are black for the standard gray F-4EJ. As you can see in the box art, the tail numbers are blue and the stencils are white. You can certainly model the gray JASDF Phantom with this sheet, but you'll have to look to the aftermarket for the appropriate color F-4EJ Kai markings as currently used and shown in the box art.

I still recommend this kit to any Phantom lover!

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!