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Pro Modeler 1/48 F-4E Phantom II Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2006 Manufacturer Pro Modeler
Subject F-4E Phantom II Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5978 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Hasegawa kit in Monogram box Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $31.85

First Look


The McDonnell F4H Phantom II was an evolutionary growth of the F3H Demon and the F-101 Voodoo. Designed as a multi-role fighter, it represented the next generation of fighter, where missile finally replaces the gun. The F4H was redesignated as F-4 in 1962 and the initial versions (F-4A and F-4B) were designed for fleet defense in all weather conditions.

As the Vietnam air war grew in intensity in the late 1960s, the Air Force found itself without an all-weather fighter. The interceptors of the Century Series deployed for air defense duties in South Vietnam and Thailand in the early years, but they were not suited for offensive counter-air (OCA) missions. Once again, the Air Force turned to the Navy and adopted another of their aircraft.

The F-4B was delivered to the USAF for familiarization, but the initial versions build to Air Force specifications were the F-4C and F-4D. In operations, these aircraft were not the most agile fighters, but they could hold their own against the MiGs. The one major problem the Phantom faced was what to do when the dogfight drew so close that the MiG was inside minimum effective range for its missiles. The aircraft needed a gun.

20mm gun pods were developed and deployed with limited success. Whether the gun pod was suspended on the centerline or in pairs under the wings, the guns would vibrate when fired and their pods would oscillate on the pylons. The results were interesting to say the least - even with the pipper on target, the tracers are circling the skies ahead of the Phantom - everywhere except where the pipper was resting. Some pilots even 'walked the rudders' to try and get rounds on target. What was needed was an internal gun that was hard-mounted to the airframe. The F-4E was born.

I was cruising eBay one Saturday morning and spotted this interesting jewel. This is the Monogram Pro Modeler 1/48 F-4E Phantom II. Modelers in the know realize that this is really a Hasegawa F-4E in a Monogram box. What caught my eye is that this kit is being dumped on eBay at under $15 USD! I snapped on up.

This kit represents one of Hasegawa's later releases of this kit. It is molded in light gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees, plus two trees of clear parts. That is what makes this kit a later release. The first clear tree contains the individual windscreen and canopy sections, the second is the newer one-piece canopy to make the job of building this kit 'buttoned up' much easier.

The cockpit is not bad. This was one of Hasegawa's better cockpits, but many AMS modelers will want more detail and will opt for a resin 'pit' like the one from Black Box or Aires.

A pair of seated crew figures can be installed in the cockpits as an option, and these are among the nicest Vietnam-era pilot figures available.

The kit represents an earlier block F-4E with hard wings. The holes in the front of the lower wing half are for the flat blanks for the USAF Phantom or for catapult bridle hooks for a Navy Phantom. Many of the parts trees are used in multiple versions of the Hasegawa Phantom family.

The kit provides the early or late gun muzzle style (check your references for the aircraft you're modeling).

The kit provides options for positionable underwing speed brakes, positionable canopy, and optional boarding ladder.

The kit provides a basic weapons fit of the air-to-air Phantom. Two 370 gallon tanks for the outboards, 600 gallon tank for the centerline, four AIM-7 Sparrows for the missile wells, and for early AIM-9 Sidewinders for the inboard stations.

  • F-4E-35-MC, 67-0320, 476 TFS/4531 TFW, Homestead AFB, 'City of Homestead' (two versions)
  • F-4E-33-MC, 67-0210, 307 TFS/31 TFW, Homestead AFB, 'Kelley's Heroes' (MiG Killer)
  • F-4E-36-MC, 67-0362, 33 TFW, Eglin AFB, Double MiG Killer
  • F-4E-35-MC, 67-0307, 33 TFW, Eglin AFB

In addition to the distinctive aircraft markings, a full set of maintenance stenciling is also provided. You'll note that two sets of red stripes, sharkmouths, etc., are included. Evidently someone found a discrepancy in the color of red used on the aircraft and provided corrected markings.

At present, the Hasegawa 1/48 F-4 phamily are the nicest Phantoms produced in 1/48 scale, and this re-boxed Hasegawa kit is no exception. The title of nicest Phantom kit in any scale goes to Tamiya for their awesome 1/32 scale versions. Nevertheless, Hasegawa has produced just about every Phantom variant now in 1/48 scale.

At $15.00 or less, this kit is a steal. This re-box of the Hasegawa kit in a Monogram Pro-Modeler box was evidently overlooked when it was first released. Go out and do some bargain shopping!