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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

The Devil's Own: 1/48th Grand Phoenix FJ-4B Fury

Released in 2003, the Grand Phoenix FJ-4B Fury was a short-run, multi-media kit of this later Fury aircraft series. Loaded up with nice details with the inclusion of resin, metal and photo-etch parts to boost the plastic base components, it was bound to better the much older 1/48th Matchbox kit and provide a viable option to the Collect-Aire Models version.

Notable Kit Features:

  • Excellent cockpit and ejection seat detail provided with resin and photo-etched parts

  • Fine surface detail with engraved panel lines.

  • Good fit of plastic parts (however mating the resin...)

  • Partial intake ducting

  • Very nice wheel well resin parts

  • Nice white metal nose gear (not on the main gear though)

  • Optional drop tanks and the in-flight re-fueling probe included

Build Inspiration:

Once you have a F-86 Sabre series in the collection you feel obligated to balance things out for the Navy / Marine fans by including a parallel FJ Fury series. I got my chance when I came across this 1/48th Grand Phoenix kit at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's model show at one of the re-sellers tables. I decided to do a buildup of a couple of USMC VMFA-232 aircraft and display this build alongside a similarly marked Phantom II.

Heads-Up Report:

Note: Neither the VMFA-232 nor VMFA-451 Decals are valid for this FJ-4B as these two squadrons flew the earlier FJ-4 version (I discovered this after I committed to a VMFA-232 duo, therefore I decided to try and backdate my kit)

  • The resin intake was a problem to fit so that it would blend with the plastic nose intake and took a bit of surgery to make this happen

  • The plastic wings and resin wheel wells had to be significantly sanded down (almost to the point of being transparent) to get the parts to fit within the wings

  • Some detail incorrect shape or missing (E.g. side scoops on fuselage, fuel dump)

  • The main landing gear is a bit flimsy (too bad they didn't provide metal gear here as was the case for the front gear, The port gear failed during the photo shoot!)

  • Apparently the front & main gear doors could be open or closed when on the ground (my photo references showed it closed so that is the direction I took)

  • The weighted tires are overdone (especially for a carrier based jet aircraft)

  • Glass canopies are a bit thick and needed a good coat of Klear / Future to become decent at least

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • Backdated the kit to a FJ-4 - No antenna fairing on underside of nose gear door - No spoiler on upper flap surfaces, nor inboard pylons, nor aft speed brake

  • Cut off rear portion of resin intake and angled front end to blend with plastic parts

  • Added sufficient nose ballast to avoid a tail dragger syndrome

  • Drilled out 20mm guns in nose (for more depth)


The paint scheme on most of the FJ-4B aircraft was the typical USN Gray over white scheme with white control surfaces (except the rudder). The leading edges were painted aluminum (I just noticed I missed the black leading edge on the top of the vertical tail!) The decals were nicely done and conformed well (on a high-gloss finish) with the curved surfaces of the fuselage. Very little weathering was done on this aircraft as they appeared to be in highly maintained shape.

The After-Build Report:

This Grand Phoenix kit requires some experience and patience to complete. If you approach the kit with the expectations of a limited run, multi-media kit that will involve extra preparation time and much test fitting of parts, then you can produce a very nice display from the box contents. The Aires resin is vey nice as are the PE parts. Recommended for experienced limited run kit model makers.

The Collect-Aire Models 1/48th kit, released a year before this kit, may have been the definitive kit, however the high price point put it out of reach for a lot of modelers. Since then Hobby Boss has joined in with their version of the FJ-4B as well, albeit with some complaints of accuracy and fit. I would imagine the Hobby Boss kit to be an easier build.

Completed build #231 - December 2019 using the 1/48th scale Grand Phoenix #KT003 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

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