Price: S$20.00 (est. US$11.00)
One of the most produced aircraft in the world, the McDonnell Douglas Phantom II is still being operated by some Air Forces (through upgrades) even though the design dates back to the 1950s. The Phantom II is only one of the few aircraft that was operated by three US services (Air Force, Navy and Marines) at the same time. In the end, over 5000 Phantom IIs left the production lines with 1387 produced in the F-4E variant.
The F-4E is the only variant (the F was basically an export version of the E) in the long line that carried a built-in gun. Before its introduction, the view was that the gun was obselete with the advent of heat-seeking and radar-guided missiles. During the Vietnam conflict however, most air-to-air engagements were close ranged, which negated the effectiveness of missiles, and brought back the importance of the gun and the concept of dogfighting. The F-4E served with the USAF from 1967 to the early 1990s, when it was replaced by the F-15 and F-16.
The F-4E can be differentiated from other variants by it’s longer tapered nose with a gun housing that extends underneath the radome.
What can I say? I’ve built one before (an F-4J) and I can safely say that this is THE ultimate 1/72 Phantom kit in the market right now. Hasegawa has a habit of reboxing the same mold with different markings and different boxart so this one’s no different.
What’s ingenious (or sneaky, depending on how you look at it) about this kit is that Hasegawa has split the parts down so that in order to do a different version of the Phantom, they only need to swap one or two part trees, and voila! Instant different Phantom! That being said however, it does make this Phantom a lot harder to put together than the other brands because this does lead to more parts than necessary. More parts = more chances of finicky fit = more assembly time. This kit is much harder to build than say, the 1/72 Fujimi Phantom, which is a pretty good kit in it’s own right.
Overall detail of the kit is very good, with very fine recessed lines. Much like Hasegawa’s other offerings of the same scale, cockpit details are decal only, but since the cockpit is so small and cramped, you can pretty much get away with it. Also much like Hasegawa’s standard practice, the kit doesn’t come with any weapons. However, what was a pleasant surprise is the inclusion of the newer center fuel tank that the F-4E carried from the 1980s onwards. As a bonus, they also included the old fuel tank, so with enough research, one would be able to, except for the blunt gun nose period, model the F-4E at every stage of its service life.
Markings-wise, Hasegawa has given the option for three units.
- The 141st TFS 108th TFW New Jersey ANG – This aircraft comes in the ‘Euro 1’ scheme and has a tiger noseart.
- Gunsmoke ’89 3rd TFW PACAF – Hill scheme with ‘Shark’s mouth’
- 110th TFS 131st TWF Missouri ANG – This is the Wing Commander’s aircraft with special commemorative markings for the Phantom II’s 30th Anniversary
Decals are typical Hasegawa quality, slightly thick but nothing some Mark Softer couldn’t tackle.
All in all, a very nice kit that will build into a very nice representation of one of the most profilic aircraft of the 20th Century.
Preview courtesy of my wallet