There was a time, and a long time it was, that the 1/48 scale Hasegawa F-4 Phantom model kits reigned supreme. Most Phantom variants eventually got covered by Hasegawa and they produced the F-4S version around 1998.
Notable Kit Features:
Decent cockpit details with convincing ejection seats
Seated pilot figures included
Finely engraved panel lines with sharp surface details as well
Generally speaking good fit
Photo-etch underside stiffener plates included
Sparrow and Sidewinder missiles included (unusual for Hasegawa)
Thin, clear glass with separate canopies, which can be displayed open or closed
The Keith Ferris finish on this F-4S Phantom caught my eye immediately when I purchased a "Detail & Scale" book on the USN Phantoms way back in the 1980's. One of these VF-301 "Devil's Disciples" F-4S Phantom IIs was on the cover landing on a carrier. I always wanted this particular jet in my collection, so when I came across this Hasegawa kit on sale a few years ago I started searching for the decals and finally assembled all the pieces (and hopefully the skill) to do this model justice. There are so many fantastic paint jobs on Phantoms (which is one of the reasons model makers keep building them).
The intakes are not great, with odd gaps in the interior and little depth, so you will have to deal with the shallow intakes. I dealt with mine by filling the gaps and painting the rear of the intakes black. (I considered putting a photo of the interior intakes at the back of the inlet to replicate the engine face but didn't take that path.)
The spine of aircraft is a challenge to get a great fit without filler and sanding (which results in challenging re-scribing) Your best bet is to glue the spine in sections taking care to align it as best you can along the way
I used a bit of plastic card to widen the main fuselage join at the bottom as I find it produces a better wing to fuselage fit
The front underside fuselage to wing join typically has a bit of a step and a gap to be dealt with - I usually use pieces of plastic card to shim and fill here
You will encounter pin ejector marks especially on the gear doors
I find the small pin fittings of the tail planes to the fuselage a bit inadequate
I had a bit of a step in the "S" tail cap fitting (however maybe that was just me)
I needed to adjust the main gear to get it to sit at 90 degrees - the actuators seem too short to do the job so the original hole was capped and the actuator moved inboard
The multi-piece canopy is complex (by F-4 design) and the fit is only OK (and fiddly if open - not especially well fitting if closed)
I add the intake splitter vanes post painting. The way Hasegawa has designed the kit you can do this and get a better paint application behind the plates (which is more of a challenge otherwise)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
The upper wing gear reinforcements appear to be oversized, so I sanded the kit parts down a bit to closer match reference photos I had
Rear stabilizers incorrectly have the "arrowhead" stiffeners (which need to be removed for the "F-4S")
Be careful removing the small wing fences molded into the kit so they can be replaced with the longer "S" versions
Used third-party decals from Furball Aero Design 48-064 (Highly Recommended)
For me, the Ferris paint schemes add some great variety to your aircraft collections, with their non-standard application and shift of colours. Starting from the lightest colour to darkest, the paint tones were sprayed on, each lightly weathered during the process by varying the tone a bit. The camouflage finish consisted of FS36375 Light Gray, FS36307 Gray, FS35237 Blue-Gray and FS35164 Blue. The metal look on the metal exhausts was achieved by spraying 3 - 4 tones of dark metals. A coat of gloss acted as a sealer between coats so I didn’t lift any metal flakes or finishes. Weathering of panel lines was then done with oil-base washes.
The After-Build Report:
The 1/48th Hasegawa F-4S Phantom II still builds up into a nice model with adequate detail. They have now been eclipsed by better detailed and well fitting kits, however these F-4 kits still have their place when price point is compared. In 1/48th scale the Zoukei-mura F-4S is possibly "King of the Hill" now, but you will have to decide if it is worth the extra cost.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers