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F-4M Phantom II

by David W. Aungst


F-4M Phantom II


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This is another prototype model for the collector's toy company.

During the month of May (2002), I had to complete no less than three 1/48th scale F-4 Phantoms. Luckily, the versions they wanted were readily available and easy enough to build. This model was number two in the May Phantom Phrenzy.

I am going to state this early. I live in the US, and for me, the Phantom FGR Mk.2 is an F-4M Phantom II. With respect and appologies to all the British out there, I find the British system of aircraft designations to be archaic. For the remainder of this posting, I will be referring to this model as an F-4M Phantom II, even though I know it is more accurate to refer to as a Phantom FGR Mk.2.

At the end of the line, the RAF started to come up with lots of colorful (colourful?) Phantoms. 56 Squadron was no exception. For the units retirement of the Phantom, they painted the tails of every aircraft in the unit in red. Then they selectively picked aircraft letters and lined the aircraft up on the phlight line so the aircraft tails spelled "PHOENIX SQN". It made for a great photograph.



The aircraft in this posting was the "P" in "Phoenix". It was one of a few aircraft in 56 Squadron to get a shark's mouth, although for the actual retirement, I do not belive the mouth was applied. With the permission of http://www.f4phantoms.co.uk , I have a couple pictures that show the aircraft in the exact marking the toy company wanted. I built my model according to those pictures.





Hasegawa's British Phantoms


The is the Hasegawa Phantom FGR Mk.2 (F-4M Phantom II), kit number 07016 (P016). It is built right out of the box with no changes. For years I had wanted to build a British Phantom, but I had not taken the time to do it. I finally had a reason for it, so I dived in head first.

I concluded that the British Phantoms kits are probably the best detailed and best engineered Phantom kits of all the Hasegawa Phantoms. They are also, technically, different kits from the rest of the non-British Phantoms. Besides the obvious airframe updates to make an accurate British Phantom (which Hasegawa executes wonderfully), they re-used the assorted parts tree letters that are assigned in the other Phantom kits. The British Phantoms share the detail parts trees "D", "E", and "F" with the other Phantom kits, but all the other trees are completely different from the same lettered trees in the other Phantom kits.


I was working on this F-4M at the same time as an F-4J kit (see my "ShowTime 100" posting), so I was able to do a lot of cross comparisons between the kits as I progressed through their construction. The British Phantom kits have fully engraved scribing, raised cockpit detailing, drooped ailerons, and nicely molded engine exhuasts. The cockpit detailing is actually better done then the retooled Hasegawa F-4J kits.

Hasegawa started adding a lot of slightly raised panels on the F-4J kit. They are not overdone (like on the Tamiya 1/32nd scale Phantoms), but they are not really right. The F-4M kit has none of these. The surface scribing is top notch. The bulges in the center of the upper wings are correctly shaped (unlike the F-4J kit).





I started the project by assembling the cockpit, cleaning up all the major airframe pieces, and assembling the wings in the first night. The next night I painted the cockpit interior, painted the engine intake interiors, and assembled the fuselage. On the third night I attached the engine intakes and wings. With twenty minutes of attention to the seams, I was ready to start camouflage painting. Yes, it is really that nice a kit.




The horizontal tails are correct for the F-4M and have no leading edge slots. As a side note, the F-4K kits are correct in providing a slotted horizontal tail. There are reinforcing panels on the horizontal tails that are unique to British Phantoms. Where US Phantoms have the arrow-head reinforcing panels in the center of the tails, the British Phantoms use reinforcing strips that run out the length of the tail along the two main tail spars.

The engine exhausts and the fuselage paneling around the exhausts is a thing of beauty. With a little metalizer on the surfaces, this area really captures the feel of Rolls Royce engines and the look of the British Phantoms.

The weapons in the F-4M kit are similar to the F-4J with four Sparrow/Sky Flash missiles. There are no Sidewinder missiles, and the instruction sheet tells you to go buy the Hasegawa Weapons Set "C" to obtain Sidewinder missiles. Since the British Phantoms were updated late in their service careers to use AIM-9L Sidewinders, I chose to use a set of four AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles that I liberated from an old Monogram F-15 kit.

Additionally, the F-4M kit provides the British-style SUU-23A gun pod frequently seen mounted on the centerline weapons pylon. There is also a British-style reconnaissance pod for the centerline weapons pylon. These two additional options are welcome additions to the kit as it is unlikely to have either of these provided in any other places. I chose to use the gun pod on my model.

There are a number of minor detail pieces in the kit. One that the instruction sheet actually tells you to ignore for this kit looks to be the left side periscope. Late in their service, most all British Phantoms were updated to include this periscope on the left side so that the Guy-In-Back (GIB) could have some forward view. I am unsure exactly for what purpose the GIB used the periscope. As British Phantoms do not have flight controls in the rear cockpit, the periscope was not used to fly the aircraft. It is nice that Hasegawa chose to provide this detail. As the aircraft I was building had the periscope, I attached it in place on the left side of the canopy.



Painting and Markings



I painted the exterior camouflage using Humbrol enamel paints. Surprise! I bet you thought I was going to say Testor's Model Master. Sorry, Testor does not make these colors in their Model Master line.

I did use the Model Master paints and metalizers for every other color on the model, though.

The camouflage colors are Medium Sea Gray (BS381C/637), Barley Gray (BS4800/18B21), and Light Aircraft Gray (BS381C/627). These are Humbrol colors 164, 165, and 166. I had squirreled away these colors some years ago to wait for finally doing a British Phantom. In the intervening years, the Light Aircraft Gray had thickened up to the point of being un-usable. This is not the thing to find out when working on a time limit. I was able to secure a new tin of this color from a friend (thanks Buzz) and keep the project on track with no interruption.

On painting the model, the Light Aircraft Gray seemed way too dark as compared to the other two colors. Hence, I cut the Light Aircraft Gray with white in a 50:50 mixture. It still seemed too dark, but I was not going to mess around any more with it.

The engine exhaust area is painted in two shades of metalizers. I started with a base coating of Steel, then applied Magnesium to the panels immediately behind the engine exhausts and to the center panels on the horizontal tails. After a consultation with the toy company, they relayed that no weathering should be done to the model. Hence, the exhaust area was not blackened.


The Hasegawa kit decals come with markings and full data for a shark-mouth 56 Squadron F-4M Phantom, aircraft letter "Y". The only trouble was that I needed to build aircraft letter "P" in the retirement scheme where the whole vertical tail was painted red. While most of the needed markings were in the kit, the white aircraft letter on the tail, the red letter on the nose wheel well door, and the white aircraft serial number all needed to be found. This sent me off to create some custom markings for the model. The image to the right shows my original artwork for the decals (reduced in size to save space).

While I was at it, I also created a couple other markings that I needed to make the job easier. A search of the Internet provided a couple pictures of the exact aircraft in the markings I was building. From these pictures, I was able to get the pilots' names and the crew chief's name. I also created a set of "spots" to apply to the forward fins of the Sky Flash missiles. The large trapazoidal blocks are backgrounds for the vertical fin flash. The pictures showed this flash had a thin white cheat line around its borders. Making a white block just slightly larger than the fin flash in the kit decals allowed me to give that decal a white border without having to reproduce the whole marking.

One modification of the kit decals was made for the shark's mouth on the nose. Several 56 Squadron Phantoms had this mouth applied in a couple styles. The kit decals provide a style with a thin black cheat line around the edges. The aircraft I was building did not have the black trimming. Hence, I carefully cut away the black border on the mouth prior to applying the decal to the nose.


I used Solv-a-set as a setting solution for the decals. I had no silvering of the Hasegawa decals, and the shark's mouth actually was made to conform to the compound curve of the nose without having to cut any relief slits in its edges.

For weathering, as I mentioned earlier, the toy company had instructed me to not do any. I used my typical style of thinned down enamel paint washes and only highlighted the edges of the control surfaces. I also applied a light black-wash to the landing gear. I left the rest of the model otherwise clean and un-weathered.





British Phantoms are cool! There is a subtle bulkiness to their lines that is a result of the airframe changes needed to install the Rolls Royce Spey engines. This gives the airframes a different feel from their leaner cousins in the US. I will definitely need to build another British Phantom in the near future to add to my permanent collection.



Additional Images and Project Summary


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Project Statistics

Completion Date:

18 May, 2002

Total Building Time:






Painting (includes creation and printing of custom decals):


Decals / Markings (includes creating and printing custom decals):


Extra Detailing / Conversion:


Model, Description and Images Copyright 2003 by David Aungst
Page Created 25 March, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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