Zoukei-Mura Inc. 1/48 F-4J Phantom II Marines Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||May 2018||Manufacturer||Zoukei-Mura Inc.|
|Subject||F-4J Phantom II||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||48008||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Beautiful molding, excellent detail||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$75.00|
The Navy flew the F-4J extensively in Southeast Asia as the aircraft featured the AWG-10 radar system and up-rated engines over its predecessor, the F-4B. 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-4J received avionics updates and was 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. The F-4S soldiered on until the F-111B replacement, the F-14A Tomcat, could enter the fleet in sufficient numbers.
Zoukei-Mura first released their first F-4 Phantom II kit almost two years ago, and the subject of that first release was the F-4J. Since that time, Zoukei-Mura has released the F-4C, F-4D and F-4S, and has hinted that the long-nosed Phantoms are coming next. In the interim, here is their F-4J again, but is it a simple reissue? No. One detail that they didn't have in the first F-4J release was the stabilator-fuselage hinge plates which were added to all subsequent releases. Those plates are in this box as well. There are also two additional parts trees included, but more on them later. This time around the kit offers markings options for USMC F-4Js. Let's take a look. This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 11 parts trees plus one tree of clear parts (duplicate trees not shown). This kit does have some amazing detail yet is laid out for relatively simple construction. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Beautiful front and rear cockpits
- Stick, throttles and even canopy lock handles provided
- Detailed Martin Baker ejection seats (no crew restraints provided)
- Canopy can be posed in open or closed positions
- One-piece canopy provided for closed option
- Nicely detailed J79 engines
- Optional engine stand provided
- Intake ducts to the compressor faces
- Intakes include pitots
- Exhaust nozzles molded in open position
- Detailed wheel wells and landing gear
- Leading and trailing edge flaps molded separately but depicted in up/neutral position
- Ailerons molded separately but depicted in neutral position
- Tail hook molded separately but depicted in up/stowed position
- Speed brakes molded separately and depicted in open position
- Ventral aux air doors molded separately and depicted in open position
- Positionable air refueling probe
External stores include:
- 4 x AIM-7E Sparrow
- 4 x AIM-9D/G Sidewinder
- 2 x 370 gallon external tanks
- 1 x 600 gallon centerline tank
Decals are provided for two subjects:
- F-4J, 155822, VFMA-232, WT/11, MCAS Iwakuni, 1974/5
- F-4J, 155833, VFMA-232, WT/13, MCAS Iwakuni, 1974/5
The decal sheet is printed by Cartograf and provides an extensive set of markings and stencils for the airframe and weapons.
The original F-4J release had nine parts trees plus one clear, this one has 11 plus one, but two of these trees (Tree N) contain USAF weapons and a USAF boarding ladder, so none of the parts on these two trees are used in this build. You'll have some nice weapons for your next USAF 1/48 project.
The kit is designed for easy building and is modular to allow for other variants to be released in our future. While it is modular, it doesn't have the multitude of inserts and overlays that other 'modular' kits have employed, the exception is an insert along the dorsal spine which also covers most of the dorsal seam line.
These Zoukei-Mura Inc. F-4 Phantom kits are the best Phantoms in this scale and arguably in all modeling scales to date.
My sincere thanks to Zoukei-Mura Inc. for this review sample!