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Ben Brown

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About Ben Brown

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    North Carolina, USA

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  1. Oh, now that is just too cool! Who’d have thought that ship would look so good in black? Ben
  2. Hi Flores, I think the intent of the dark underside of the wraparound camouflage scheme was to hide the plane during its new mission of low level bombing over Europe. The earlier Southeast Asia camouflage scheme, with the light grey underside, was better for the higher altitudes as used over Vietnam, making it harder for an observer looking up to see. With the low level mission, an enemy would most likely be looking down on the F-4. While he’s maneuvering, a steep bank might expose the underside of the jet, and you don’t want a flash of light grey against a dark green background to give away your position. Way back in the 1980s when I was a flight instructor, one of our practice areas was over a low level route used by 4th TFW F-4Es. There was a steep turn along the route in that area, where they’d make a large heading change, and even with their bellies exposed, the Europe 1 wraparound camouflage made them hard to see against the green vegetation below them. Cheers, Ben
  3. They didn’t. I asked Phil about it a few months ago. He said they were thinking about doing one but never got around to it. It would be nice to have a similar publication for the Blues, just to have all of the info in one place. Ben
  4. Great find, Kursad! EDIT: BTW, that would be a great subject for a Caracal 4th TFW F-4 sheet.... 😉 Ben
  5. Great photo!! Thanks for posting it! A few items of note: It looks like it still mostly has the factory camouflage pattern. The giveaways are the way the tan goes up to the national insignia on the port side and the borderless national insignia itself, which seemed to have been a McDonnell "thing." The one under the wing still had the Insignia Blue border. Some 4th jets had a diagonal break in the A, I assume from the way the stencil was cut. This one has a solid A. Based on me spending far too much time studying pictures of 4th jets so I could pester decal companys to produce some decals, the F-4Es that were sent to Vietnam had black stencils. The white ones were applied sometime after they returned from SEA. The fin tip looks like it is lighter than the surrounding paint, so it's probably a safe bet that it was light blue. This is a jet from 1979, but the color was probably similar: Ben
  6. It's kind of hard to keep track of the F-4 situation in 1972! 😀 I did a little more digging but found nothing on 0302. I forgot to post a link to this 334th TFS reunion site: 334th reunion There are some great photos there, especially in "JoeD's Scrapbook." Unfortunately, that particular series of photos is hosted by Photobucket, so best of luck viewing them/downloading them. I was able to see them when I just went there, but that may change. There are still enough photos there to give you an idea of what the jets looked like at the time. The 4th rotated the 334th, 335th, and 336th through Ubon, attached to the 8th TFW. Back in 2012, I was able to contact many of the pilots from the 334th reunion, plus a few from the 335th and 336th, including MiG Killer Fred Sheffler. They gave me a lot of good info. According to several of the pilots, Robin Olds unsuccessfully tried to take their F-4Es and give the 4th his Cs and Ds, so the 4th was often relegated to chaff bombing roles, to keep them from hunting MiGs. You'll see in the photos on the reunion site that they carried smart bombs, too. It looks like the tail codes might have been white, instead of the light grey often seen on earlier F-4s. Most of the photos show a jamming pod (ALQ-101?) in the forward port missile bay. As I mentioned earlier, Afterburner 48-040 (LINK) has the best-looking squadron and wing badges, but they're still not quite right for what Eric needs. The squadron badge should have "334th TFS in white on top and "Fighting Eagles" in white on the bottom. I don't think I've ever seen any like that. The TAC badges had the TAC script in yellow. I think some of the old Microscale/Superscale decal sheets had these. The best 1/48 hard wing F-4E currently is the Hasegawa kit, also released by ProModeler. Zoukei-Mura is about to release their hard wing E very soon, if not already. I'll keep looking, as 4th TFW F-4s are one of my favorite subjects. Ben
  7. I looked through the photos I have of 4th TFW F-4Es taken at Ubon, but nothing of 0302. Photos dated May through August '72 show both SA and SJ tail codes, so they must have been changing over during that time. I have one pic with both SA and SJ jets on the ramp. The 4th TFW and 334th TFS badges were usually present, light blue fin cap, MIDAS gun muzzle, no crew names. Most had formation (slime) lights but a few still didn't. I've only found two 4th TFW F-4Es with nose art, one with "Black Sabbath" chalked on the starboard side of the nose and another that illegible. Finding the serial numbers of these two jets, along with finding Yeager's F-4D crew chief when he was with the 4th, are my research holy grail. The only correct old-style 334th badges were found on the Afterburner Decals F-4 sheets. Microscale had a couple of sheets with 4th TFW F-4Es. They weren't very good, but you can rob them of the white SA or SJ codes. The 334th badge on one of them is useable if you repaint parts of it, since they got the colors wrong. Microscale currently list a couple of decals with 4th jets on their web site, but they both include Air Combat Command badges, among other horrific errors. They do include the SA tail codes, so there's that. 😐 HTH. Ben
  8. I’ve read that hardware store lacquer thinner mixed with paint retarder from a craft store is a cheap alternative to Mr Leveling Thinner. I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve seen people on other forums swear by it. Ben
  9. They're screen printed like Caracal, etc. I wasn't very impressed with their RF-101A/C sheet. Like Andrew says, they're very thin. The white parts on mine were translucent enough to see the blue decal paper through them. Draw Decals is an entirely different animal. As I understand it, they use a process similar to a laser printer and the ink is impervious to setting solutions. I've found heat works best to beat them into submission. I'll dip a cotton bud or paper towel in almost-boiling water and use it to press them into place. Ben
  10. I think I've asked this before, but that Thud used to be displayed at an airport in western NC back in the '90s, didn't it? Or maybe the late '80s? I can't recall which employer I was working for when I saw it. Ben
  11. Here's a shot from the 1978 T.O. 1-1-4 (Link to full manual). The radius of the star you need will be 15", as others have said. The tail codes on the F-4 were 24". I can't recall how tall the serial numbers were, but the info is in the T.O. If you're painting the jet as it looked in the early days of the SEA camouflage scheme, before tail codes were used, the serial number ("USAF, with last five of the serial below) used 6" numbers and letters. Stencils such as the aircraft data panel would be 1/2", IIRC. Kursad can correct me on that, since he's more familiar with it from his decal business. Ben
  12. Wow, beautiful! You must have the eyes and hands of a brain surgeon to be able to paint the necktie on that one person. I look forward to seeing more of your work. Ben
  13. Too late for me but maybe that would save others from that ear worm! 🤣🤣🤣 Ben
  14. Am I the only one who had that terrible '80s hair metal song pop into their hear after seeing the thread title? Now its going to be stuck in my head for days!😄 Great movie, BTW. Ben
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