Completed : Hasegawa 1/48 McDonnell Douglas F-4G Phantom II ‘Wild Weasel IV’

Gallery

Build Report

Kit Info
Manufacturer: Hasegawa
Scale: 1/48
Media: Injection Plastic

The Subject
The USAF converted 116 F-4Es into the F-4G Advanced Wild Weasel IV for the role of seeking out and suppressing or destroying enemy radar-directed anti-aircraft artillery batteries and surface-to-air missile sites. Primary armament included the HARM (AGM-88) and the Maverick (AGM-65). The F-4G is also capable of carrying conventional air-to-air armaments and standard ‘dumb’ bombs.

By all records, the F-4G is the ultimate Wild Weasel platform. With two crew members, duties could be split among the both of them. It’s a tough airframe that could take a lot of punishment. It also had a long loiter time in the target area. It also had the capability to defend itself with its air-to-air capability intact.

It performed admirably in Operation: Desert Storm where it preceded airstrike packages heading into Kuwaiti airspace. The were records of dozens of HARM missiles in the air at one time, all fired by the F-4G.

The last F-4G was retired in April 1996, to be replaced by the F-16CJ. The F-16CJ is basically a Block 50/52 Viper with added Wild Weasel capabilities.

The Kit
The F-4G is my all-time favorite aircraft so needless to say, I had to have one in my collection. The 1/48 kit builds into a very impressive model which more often than not impresses anyone who sees it. This was only my second ever finished aircraft done properly.

Operation: Desert Storm being both its baptism of fire and swansong, I had to do up this kit as a veteran of that war. OOB, the kit depicted an early 1980s Weasel configuration so some minor changes needed to be done.

Construction
Even though the mold is at least a dozen years old (probably longer), the fit was excellent with minimal gaps and weird fitting problems. Assembly was pretty straightforward except for the fitting of the center fuel tank. In hindsight, I should have drilled holes and used pins to ensure that the fuel tanks were steadier. As it is, I only used CA glue.

I also removed certain sensor bulges on the kit that the real F-4G doesn’t have. Thanx to Andy Lee for pointing them out to me. He’s the Phantom Phreak. Not me.

The rear landing gears are very fragile affairs. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any good solution for reinforcing them. Just hope for the best I guess.

During construction, the nose gear broke off so to strengthen it, I drilled a hole and pushed a metal pin in. Nothing will break it now!

I scavenged the two pilot heads from my F-16CJ kit since the helmets included in the kit were the old clunky ones. I decided to add pilots to the cockpit because the seats were kind of bare and I didn’t feel like getting resin seats to replace them.

The ALQ-131 and HARMs were taken from the Hasegawa Weapons set. Again, the included pod and weapons were too old for the specific aircraft I was planning to model.

Finishing
I decided to model 69-0244 that operated out of the 52nd FW at Spangdahlem AB, Germany. During Desert Storm, it sported the noseart called ‘Night Stalker’ and like the other Weasels during Desert Storm, kill marks were added! ‘Night Stalker’ is the unit with the most kills during Desert Storm. As the Superscale sheet I had was old, some of the decals literally disintegrated when they touched water, so I had to replace them with the default Hasegawa ones. These included the USAF logo and the formation lights.

The center section of the front canopy is a clear blue color so I handbrushed it on in one thick stroke. This sufficiently prevents brush marks from popping up.

The camo demarkation for this unit was soft-edged, unlike the other Weasel units operating at the time. After unsuccessfully trying to do a soft mask (basically masking tape with the edges slightly lifted), I decided to freehand the lines and guess what… I finished it in less than 10 minutes when it took me almost 30 minutes just to try to mask the thing properly!

Colors were custom mixed by Mr. Nakamoto from Achtung Japan Hobby and went on pretty smoothly over a base of preshade in black.

Lastly, I weathered the aircraft with my trusty turpentine/artist oil combo and sealed it all with a semi-gloss coat.

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