I have finished the Hasegawa 1/48 F-4E Phantom II.
When I started out on this build, I did not realize it would be an 8 month process. That is a glacially slow build for me. And while the kit wasn’t hard, for some reason, this was one that was mentally tough to get through.
For one, there is a lot of aftermarket on this kit. The cockpit, intakes, pylons, armaments, gear struts, wheels, and exhaust nozzles are all aftermarket resin. (Except for the struts, which are those accursed SAC white “metal” parts…) And though it all fit well, it really brought home to me how much I prefer to avoid adding aftermarket. While it does often look better (often- not always), in my mind, the result versus the costs and effort don’t really work out.
For example, this kit has seamless resin intakes, with a really nice intake fan down the trunk. It looks spectacular. but only IF you place the model (literally) three inches directly in front of your face AND shine a flashlight down the intake trunk at just the right angle. And then you see it.
Now I get some folks like that level of detail, often simply for the benefit of knowing it’s there. Fine, good, wonderful. Have at it. But it really brings home to me how that is not who I am. But… this was a commission build, so I do as asked.
Anyway… enough griping.
The kit itself is remarkably good considering it is about 40+ years old. I’m sure when it was released, it was a game changer. Now, it’s not bad. A few things could certainly be improved on. Overall though, out of the box, this can build up into a really nice kit.
It all fits reasonably well. I didn’t have any problems with fit that a little sanding and a bit of Mr. Surfacer here and there couldn’t solve. Fairing in those intakes was a bit of a headache, but that’s not the kit’s fault. I think the kit pylons would have been just fine with simply a little bit of additional scribing and perhaps a bit of scratchbuild. If you build the kit, consider that part carefully. The amount of fiddling to get aftermarket pylons to fit is a bit ridiculous. I probably could have spent one-fourth the time correcting the kit parts as I did making the resin ones work. Still, they’re on. Hopefully solidly enough to ship. :O
The kit missiles were a bit poor, and an Eduard Brassin set of Sparrows worked quite well. That is an investment worth getting. Assemble, paint, mount, done. That’s the way aftermarket should be.
The cockpit is Black Box resin, and it fit well and looked great.
The colors are all Ammo of Mig, from their 60-70s USAF TAC Colors (AMig.7205). The set includes all four of the colors needed for a typical SEA type scheme. It was my first time airbrushing Ammo colors, and it took a bit of getting used to. The trick is to lay down multiple light coats. Once I discovered that, it worked nicely. The markings are a hodge-podge of sets, as they depict an aircraft flown in Germany in the late 70s/early 80s. (This model was built for the fellow who flew in the back seat of this actual aircraft!)
The weathering touches were very light, just basically a bit of shading and a few streaks. For some reason, I find doing a clean build far more difficult than a weathered one.
Overall, I’m reasonably happy with the outcome. It was definitely a build that some days just required putting my head down and doing something. And it reminded me how life can really impact my hobbies. The mental struggles you face away from the hobby desk still hang around when you get to work.
I’ve read in several places that Zouki Moura will be releasing a new tooled F-4E in this same scale, so it will be interesting to see that kit. Though I’ve not built a ZM kit, their reputation is pretty good it seems, so that may supplant this one as the F-4E to get. Still, if you have this kit in the stash, give it a go. Just avoid the urge to “improve” things that might not really need improving.