Phantom Blues: 1/48th Revell (Hasegawa) FGR.2 (F-4M)
This is actually a reboxing of Hasegawa's kit from 1987, and to my knowledge is still the only 1/48 scale version of a British Phantom. Despite its age, this is still a good kit with finely engraved panel lines. Revell first released this version in 2004 and again in 2019 in their "British Legends" packaging.
Notable Kit Features:
Accurate outline for the type
Decently detailed cockpit and ejection seats (Although the seats need some harnesses added (Eduard makes a nice detail set)
Seated crew figures included (2)
Finely engraved panel lines and raised detail
Separate auxiliary intake doors as well as flaps
Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan engines and larger intakes are depicted (the J-79 burners are there as well as a bonus along with some additional "J" parts
Centre line / wing tanks as well as a SUU-23 gun pod and EMI pod provided
Sparrow/Sky Flash missiles are provided however Sidewinders are not
Excellent decal sheet with three entirely different schemes for Squadrons 56, 92 and 2 included
I had wanted to add a RAF Phantom into my collection for some time, however I missed the original releases of this F-4 version and afterwards the prices rose to ridiculous levels on the secondary market. Thankfully Revell's re-release in 2019 provided the British F-4 (FGR.2) kit at a very reasonable cost. After much debate, I selected the RAF 92 Squadron's all blue scheme for its unique colouring. This scheme marked the disbandment of the Squadron in Wildenrath Germany in 1991.
The intakes are not great, as they are fairly shallow. They also have odd gaps in the interior at the bottom with no engine faces represented. Filling the gaps will at least cap off any light leak. You could improve things by printing off intake photos and gluing these to the back of the intakes (or you could go all-out with seamless intakes)
The multipiece canopy is complex (by F-4 design) although the fit is pretty good (a bit fiddly if open - not well fitting if closed, but you can make it work)
Rear stabilizers pin fit to the fuselage is a bit inadequate to secure the big tail-planes (I fit a pin that runs between the two stabilizers to hold them)
Spine of aircraft / intakes and underwing join are a bit of a challenge to get a great fit without filler and sanding (which results in challenging re-scribing) A bit of filler and sanding required but not too much - overall fit is good
I don't think the kit wheels are correct for a British Phantom (?)
The FGR.2 had a slight tail-down attitude which isn't quite represented in the extension on the front gear
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Added seat harness details
Used plastic card to fill areas on intake splitter vanes that sit against the fuselage
Added plastic card to rear of intakes to cover gap in molded parts
Plastic card topper used on division between cockpits to get a smooth appearance
The paint scheme for this aircraft was thought to be a simple one... I picked out a base blue and varied the tones slightly while spraying as most reference photos showed light weathering of paint. The problems started with an issue of a dry paint spray resulting in some pebbling / sandpaper effect. This was countered by actually sanding areas down with 600 grit sandpaper to clean this up a bit and then re-spraying affected areas. I was then debating if the blue was a bit too dark but decided to press on regardless. The metal tones of the exhaust areas were painted using titanium and again, adding in lighter and darker sections as shown in the reference photos. When that had all dried, I over-sprayed with my go-to gloss coat of Klear... and the blue got even darker - So, I debated a bit more on a fix and decided to press on again. Applied the decals and found I had lost a crew name for the rails - Someone following me on twitter offered to send me a spare and I pressed onwards again (Unfortunately the crew name never arrived from overseas but the thought and effort was there). Next problem arrived when I over-spayed with the matt coat as it appears I had my mixture incorrect or applied too heavy a layer, as the matt coat dried with a whitening effect throughout the paint. (Been a long time since I made this error and it shows up very apparently on dark colours.) So much for worrying about the paint being too dark! After experimenting a bit, an acceptable result was found by combining a heavier weathering process with a Mineral Spirits rubdown, followed by a dish soap wash and rinse. The British beauty was now really looking like it had been flown a while and I decided to learn my lesson and move along to add the finer points of construction with the addition of gear doors, antennas etcetera. Just goes to show, no matter how much experience you have, it seems you can always find a way to muck up a build at any stage along the way. ;)
The After-Build Report:
This Revell kit produces a nice model replica of the venerable F-4 Phantom II in British service. You can build it out of the box with good results or pile in the add-ons to your hearts content. The Revel decals are definitely nicer than the Hasegawa variety and typically the price is far better as well. Happily I was also able to track down a FGR.1 kit from Hasegawa so I can build that variant for the collection one day as well. If you do find this kit pick one up as they don't come along that often and who knows if any of the other makers will get to making another FGR.2.
Completed build #247 - December 2021 using the 1/48th scale Revell #04962 kit.
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