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1/72 Fujimi F-4K Phantom
by Steve Kasza

 

Fujimi's F-4K Phantom is a nice looking kit in the box. Finely engraved panel lines, weapons choice of fuel tanks (3), gun pod, Sidewinder, and Sparrow missiles. If only a certain other Japanese company would put armament back in their kits…….Decals are included for 4 versions (all Royal Navy)

As is usual for aircraft kits, I started construction with the interior. The cockpit consoles and instrument panels have nicely raised details, but decals are also provided for these. I liked the look of the decals, so I took the easy way out - sanded off the molded details and applied the decals. Sidewall details are also provided as separate pieces. The interior pieces were painted medium gray, and the seats black. The entire interior was given a black wash, and then dry-brushed with a lighter shade of its original color. When all the painting was done, the cockpit was glued into the right fuselage half, along with some fishing weights to make sure the aircraft rested correctly on its landing gear. I could not figure out how to fit the rear cockpit sidewalls, so I left them out. The fuselage halves were now joined together. The fit of the halves was excellent. I didn't glue the "spreader" on the bottom of the fuselage because I may need to pry the halves apart to get a good fit at the wing roots.


The inside of the intakes needed to have some molding circles filled in. When this was done they were painted white. The intakes were attached, and the fit is the best I have seen on any F-4 kit! The front intakes (parts 11) were way oversized, and had to be sanded down to fit the molded on fairings.


The wings (one piece bottom and 2 piece tops) fit together perfectly. The fuel tanks also had an excellent fit (I am using all 3). In order to ensure a smooth fit on the bottom, I glued the front fuselage bottom (part 8)on to the front of the wing assembly before mating the wings and fuselage. The wing assembly was now added to the fuselage. I used .010 plastic strip along the seam of the lower front fuselage to align the upper and lower parts. A small bit of filling was also needed where the intake and wing bottom edges meet.
Two styles of nose gear are provided: one "normal", and the other extended for take-off. I chose the extended one (I always liked this look of the British Phantoms). While the landing gear is very finely molded, the parts for the main gear legs are reversed on the directions. Part 36 should be the left gear, and part 37 the right. The gear bay doors all have molding circles that need to be filled in before painting.


The fit of the canopy was excellent. Once this was masked off, I painted the F-4 white and dark sea gray. Model Master paints were used throughout. I subtly darkened the panel lines with darker shades of the base colors. The nose was painted black. When all these colors were dry, and the masking removed, I applied a coat of Future. The decals settled down after 2 applications of Solvaset, but the light colors were slightly translucent.
After the decals had dried, I sprayed on another coat of Future. The natural metal areas around the engine exhausts were painted steel. The remaining small parts were lastly added, and the model was now completed.

It really can be a pleasure building some of these "shake and bake" kits…..now where is that Airfix Do-17 I was going to build??????