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K5054NZ

1/72 US Navy F-4J in 1970 - what are my options?

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Hi all,

After listening to an interview with the pilot I'm struck by a desire to build F-4J BuNo 155875/NK 201 “Dakota 201” of VF-142, as it was on March 28 1970 when LT Jerome Eugene (Jerry) Beaulier and LT Stephen John Barkley shot down a North Vietnamese MiG-21.

 

Unfortunately when it comes to non-UK variants of the Phantom I'm clueless. What is the best option in 1/72 for this aircraft in terms of accuracy and price? Is there one that comes with these markings so I don't need to shell out for an aftermarket sheet?

 

I'd be grateful for any advice!

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Regarding kits, Hasegawa is probably the best option in terms of detail and accuracy, but being a modular kit can be a bit fiddly to build.  Fujimi has a decent F-4J, although I don't know how hard they are to find anymore.  The other reasonable option is Monogram.  The biggest differences between the Monogram and Fujimi is that the latter has recessed panel lines and includes outboard pylons for weapons as well as the outboard tanks, while the former has raised detail but includes TERs on the inboard pylons and has better interior detail.  I think the Fujimi may be the easiest of the 3 main options to build.

 

Accurate Miniatures released the Monogram F-4J kit a few years back and one of the markings options was for VF-142; I believe it might be for the aircraft you are interested in but can't say for certain as I don't have my copy of the kit handy at the moment (it's at home and I'm not).

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I think markings were done by Fox One Decals (good luck finding one) and possibly by Superscale/Microscale even though earlier sheet used wrong fonts, outside that the ifs are Cam Decals, Aeromaster and Eagle Strike again OOP plus Print Scale decals but you better buy a extra set with stencils from a different brand as theirs are crappy and really I don't know how accurate they are.

 

For the kit your choice is between Academy kinda toyish due their bright decision of making it a quick assembly kit, Fujimi/Esci which are OOP, kinda pricey and very basic, lastly Hasegawa or if you don't mind raised panel lines Revell which is kinda better than Hasegawa but still it needs some work.

Hasegawa based their entire 1/72 Phantom line on a mix between USN/USAF variants, to better maximize their juju it placed lots of compromises so I suggest you to check tailhook topics, phantomphacts and a couple of other blogs to get a straight F-4J with no mistakes

 

Luigi

Edited by Mizar

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Accurate Miniatrures re-boxed the excellent Monogram 1/72 F-4J kit (okay, it has a few idiosyncrises) with superb decals for F-4Js of VMFA-333 (155526) & VF-142 NK-214 (155846) and an F-4S of VMFA-321 (153904). You may be able to use this as a basis for F-4J 155875 NK-201.  In box review here.

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Thank you gents, that's some very helpful information! As I said if it doesn't have Speys I've never looked at buying it, so I appreciate the help.

 

I'm in New Zealand so that makes the recent Academy offering a better option for me price-wise - over at Britmodeller it's been suggested to me several times as a good option - although I'll start looking at that and the Monogram kit in its various forms.

 

When looking for reference photos of Beaulier's aircraft all I found were profiles and decal sheets so I figured there would be options available. The only issue will be what I can justify paying when i only need the one option! 

Edited by K5054NZ

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A friend gifted me the Academy kit, man I was not expecting such a big box with so much plastic! It looks gorgeous in the box.

 

Now to find decals for 155875/NK-201....

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Printscale offer markings for that aircraft on their sheet 72-266, although I'm not totally convinced by their rendition of the BuNo./modexes...

 

Andrew.

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3 hours ago, AndrewS said:

Printscale offer markings for that aircraft on their sheet 72-266, although I'm not totally convinced by their rendition of the BuNo./modexes...

 

Andrew.

Thanks Andrew, I’d been told of that sheet on another forum. I’m not very familiar with USN markings - what are the issues?

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14 hours ago, K5054NZ said:

Thanks Andrew, I’d been told of that sheet on another forum. I’m not very familiar with USN markings - what are the issues?

 

Hi Zac,

 

The issues may be negligible, or I may be too fussy, but to my eyes the proportions of the numerals on the Printscale offering are sadly not quite right.... Compare those shown in the image on Scalemates with those presented by Zotz (admittedly in a larger scale) in their sheet 32-071 for F-4J Phantom II MiG Killers, as revealed in a review on Large Scale Planes. I feel that the Zotz rendering is much more accurate. Of course, the Printscale sheet would still be very useful for other markings, so I don't wish to write it off.

 

You've done well to score an Academy kit; it builds well, has excellent detail and features for the most part (the absence of separate canopies is annoying but not insurmountable) and looks good when finished. Have at it!

 

cheers,

 

Andrew.

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Thanks @AndrewS, this is likely the only USN (maybe even US, unless I get the urge to build Chico The Gunfighter) Phantom I’ll build so I’d like to get it close to right. Only issue for the time being is that I need a generous benefactor as I’m out of work and can’t even offer to pay postage...hopefully someone has just the NK 201-relevant decals from a sheet they can send to NZ.  
 

 The Academy kit looks fantastic and after reading up on it online it raced to the top of my Wants list, and I’m fortunate to have a friend in the US who sent it and another kit to me gratis. Very excited to get started!

Edited by K5054NZ

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Dutch said:

Print Scale sheet for sale on ebay for USD $9.75 + $3.50 postage.  Not a bad deal. Vendor is highly recommended.

Thanks Dutch, that’s a very reasonable price!

 

@stevez yours was one of the reviews I read several times! As it happens a friend sent me the original, coloured plastic version of kit and I started it yesterday - I also re-listened to the interview with Jerry Beaulier last night and discovered the 50th anniversary of the shootdown is later this month. Unfortunately I doubt I’ll have it done in time for the day but still, interesting timing on my part!

Edited by K5054NZ

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The fuselage is easier to assemble, top and bottom,  than hasegawa, left and right halves.

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Posted (edited)

You could have also gone with the 1/72 Fujimi F.3 Phantom (F-4J UK). The Brits bought

a bunch to replace the ones they left in the Falklands, hence the Fujimi kit is an F-4J with

British decals. jon

Edited by jonwinn

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The Academy 1:72 kit has all the errors inherited and downscaled from its 1:48 brother, i.e. the size if the natural metal area vs. painted area on the stabilators, the wrong orientation of the tabs connecting the stabilator leading edge ("slots"), weird shape of the tail, A/C intakes and canopy proportions.

As it's more detailed and sharper moulded than the older kits those issues are often ignored.

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Posted (edited)

I myself bought the Fujimi 1/72 F-4J UK as it is a standard U.S. F-4J and am using

Microscale decals for a VF-142 Mig Killer from 1972. Why Fujimi F-4J UK? I got it

dirt cheap on evil bay.....complete kit with no decals for $7.00 !!! jon

Edited by jonwinn

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Posted (edited)
On 3/5/2020 at 12:28 PM, K5054NZ said:

... a friend sent me the original, coloured plastic version of [the Academy] kit and I started it yesterday ... .

 

Well, since you've already been gifted and chosen the Academy kit, if you want more accuracy, consider the venerable Monogram/Revell kit (reissued inexpensively at around $15US), and use parts from that kit to fix some of what's wrong with the Academy kit. Besides what JeffreyK  just mentioned that needs correcting on the Academy kit ("the size if the natural metal area vs. painted area on the stabilators, the wrong orientation of the tabs connecting the stabilator leading edge ("slots"), weird shape of the tail, A/C intakes and canopy proportions"), add to that replacing the Academy skinny inboard pylons and the wing tanks (Academy forgot the prominent seams (flanges) - what a joke 😲).  As for the one piece Academy canopy --  besides having better a canopy shape, the Monogram/Revell kit will also give you a multi-piece canopy if you want to display the canopies open. 

 

Nevertheless, the Academy kit will give you a fun, trouble free build ... and you'll end up with a good representation. The fit is excellent, the intakes are an outstanding feature, and the details such as Aux Air Doors and Speed Brakes are beautiful.  

 

Gene K

 

Edited by GeneK

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On 5/8/2020 at 12:59 PM, GeneK said:

 

Well, since you've already been gifted and chosen the Academy kit, if you want more accuracy, consider the venerable Monogram/Revell kit (reissued inexpensively at around $15US), and use parts from that kit to fix some of what's wrong with the Academy kit. Besides what JeffreyK  just mentioned that needs correcting on the Academy kit ("the size if the natural metal area vs. painted area on the stabilators, the wrong orientation of the tabs connecting the stabilator leading edge ("slots"), weird shape of the tail, A/C intakes and canopy proportions"), add to that replacing the Academy skinny inboard pylons and the wing tanks (Academy forgot the prominent seams (flanges) - what a joke 😲).  As for the one piece Academy canopy --  besides having better a canopy shape, the Monogram/Revell kit will also give you a multi-piece canopy if you want to display the canopies open. 

 

Nevertheless, the Academy kit will give you a fun, trouble free build ... and you'll end up with a good representation. The fit is excellent, the intakes are an outstanding feature, and the details such as Aux Air Doors and Speed Brakes are beautiful.  

 

Gene K

 

The Navy rarely flew with the wing tanks anyway, opting for the large centerline tank usually. Not to say they never did but usually, so the issues with the Academy wing tanks may not be a build issue. 

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