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FineMolds F-4EJ Phantom II just a look


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Not so much as a build but more as a look at the actual plastic now that it is at hand. A lot has been said before based on what was shown by FineMolds over the past year of the making this new kit. Now there is a chance to have a look at the plastic parts first hand.

I am surprised that there are virtually no builds of the kit apart from Japanese forums, where many have been completed and painted. After all so far mostly Japanese special schemes were issued.

 

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Here are some photos of the plastic for everyone to judge for themselves.

 

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One bad news is that I found some flash on the tip of left stabilizer. Mind you this is the Kai version with the sloted stabs, so it is possible that on the early solid stabilizers there is no such error. Is it a problem, not really, it would take about 2 minutes to sand it off.

 

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Something on the good side. The intake vents on top are simply astonishing! This is 72nd scale! Have a look at that!!!!   A perfect reproduction of the real thing. This is the part that Airfix simply forgot to make on their kit.

 

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Similar detail for the vents on the bottom. Those small round lights are missing next to the vents but they are on the decal sheet.

 

 

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The trailing edge of the engine exhausts is very sharp. It is a good scale reproduction of the real exhaust unlike some resin alternatives. Remember looking with disbelief at the chunky edge on a Brassin “upgrade” part and all this in the bigger 48 th scale. More a down grade in quality it was on that Phantom. But not here. 

 

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There was a comment last year that the flaps are not movable on this kit. When one takes a look at the kit it is evident that very little is needed to deploy the outer panels. Looking at operational photos of the Phantom in most cases it is the outer panel which is hanging around. This panel is almost made as a separate part, one can see through on both sides of it. The only cut needed is at the top and a little detailing to make it perfect.

The air brake is not so simple but I think it is not out of reach for most modellers.

 

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Did a quick dry run with the forward fuselage and cockpit parts. No glue used just put the parts in their places and this is what one can see. Once again this is 72nd scale!

 

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People criticise the engraving of panel lines and some of the rivets, saying that they will not be able to use any wash to bring out panel lines. Modellers will never be happy, only recently they complained for over-scale trench deep panel lines. . .

Panel lines and rivets on the kit are fine, but what would one expect from FineMolds.  : )  : )  : )  I am sure people who put on the plastic surface millions of layers of paint will not like it.

It is a question of individual taste and modelling skills. I see no problems with surface details.

 

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Best regards

Gabor

Edited by ya-gabor
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Thanks Gabor; I really like your 'have a look' posts - almost as much as your in-progress threads! Thanks in particular for the excellent images that accompany your impressions - so clear and such good illustrations of the point you're making.

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6 hours ago, AndrewS said:

Thanks Gabor; I really like your 'have a look' posts - almost as much as your in-progress threads! Thanks in particular for the excellent images that accompany your impressions - so clear and such good illustrations of the point you're making.

Hi AndrewS,

Thanks for the comment! Try to do my best.

 

Holmes,

Sorry for the moment it is not a build but only a look at the kit to show some details of the plastic for those to see who dont have the kit and they can make up their mind based on the photos and not based on a reviewers individual opinion!

 

McFly & Falconxlvi

Thanks for having a look! Yes I like the kit too and believe it was worth waiting for. Will see what comes out of it.

 

Best regards

Gabor

 

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23 hours ago, ya-gabor said:

People criticise the engraving of panel lines and some of the rivets, saying that they will not be able to use any wash to bring out panel lines. Modellers will never be happy, only recently they complained for over-scale trench deep panel lines. . .

 

Agreed %100

 

Will follow your adventures with this kit. I've got two but trying to clear up a couple of builds before attempting. Always enjoy your opinions on modelling.

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I did not mention before but all the sprues in the Phantom kit come individually packed in plastic bags to protect them from damage on the long journey from Japan.

 

Here is the decal sheet. This is the version in the FP 38 F-4EJ Kai Phantom. Each kit comes with a new and its dedicated decal sheet. As far as I know it is not likely that this particular decal will resurface again, but who knows.

 

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In comparison to some new questionable trends (with inferiour quality) in decal production this is still the classic screen printed decal with all its advantages! Even the very small stencils are perfect and this is 72nd scale. But let the photos show what details are on the decal.

 

 

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Best regards

Gabor

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Just a quick look at some of the references to back up the look at this kit. By far the best is the Under the Skin book from the Greek Eagle Aviation publishing on the F-4E. Just as good for some common details is the Daco Publications US Navy F-4B/J/N/S Phantoms. Yes, it is about the NAVY version but again a lot of details are the same for the long nose E version too.

 

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Also a dig in my own photo archive has produced a lot of F-4 photos taken all so many years ago when the Phantoms were numerous in the European sky’s and at air shows. Those were the days . . .

 

 

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Stay Safe!!!

Best regards

Gabor

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The Phantom anniversary at RIAT was a sight to behold especially as you did not know what to expect (pre, pre, pre internet days).

 

The Finemolds F-4EJ and F-4EJ Kai have arrived to the importer in the UK so looking forward to them.

 

Regards

Robert

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Posted (edited)

Hi Robert,

 

Yes, that 1983 event was something really special! Not only dozens of Phantoms in one perfect line but also some other special aircraft in static! 

Of course also some real Brit weather. On the way to the show, just before getting in there was a rain storm, got wet, not a little but completely (no umbrella was protection from it). The camera bag was the only one fully protected. On the base the first thing to buy with some soaking wet Pounds in my pocket was a dry Phantom T shirt.  : )  : )

 

The event was  Phantastic to compare different versions of F-4's standing side by side. Just walk few meters and have a look how it is made on one and on the other version. If not clear then just step back to the previous one. A perfect research opportunity! Used up dozens of rolls of film.

 

Best regards

Gabor

Edited by ya-gabor
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On 2/23/2021 at 4:49 PM, ya-gabor said:

I am surprised that there are virtually no builds of the kit apart from Japanese forums, where many have been completed and painted.

Can you suggest some, you know as reference points for some of us that want to build the kit with Japanese markings?

Edited by SERNAK
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The ones I ave seen are on different Japanese twitter sites. It is just photos of built aircraft and not a step by step kind of report. I am sure there are detailed builds somewhere. 

For Japanese SDF aircraft there are many publications with excellent reference photo collections. Some of the internet sites also have some Phantastic photos. The retirement of the Phantom in JSDF provided a lot of opportunities for the locals to take few snaps.

 

Also some excellent print books like this one. On how to get them is another story, not so easy.

I would say it is a must for anyone wanting to get in on a serious level into the Japanese Phantoms.

 

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Best regards

Gabor

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Hi Gene,

 

The books and general overall photos are with a small and very primitive Nikon.

Now the macro is a different story. Have a big Nikon classic F90 with a super Nikkor 50mm Macro, but I havent used it for decades. It would be possible to add a digital back to it but it is a lot of money which I dont have.

 

So for the macro I use something that have fallen in love with almost 20 years ago. It is a Sony DSC F717 with a sensational Carl Zeiss lens. The quality of the macro is simply super! The only problem is the Carl Zeiss made one manufacturing defect. Was it planned or not they will not say, but certainly they are more interested in selling new products regularly so the long term usability is not so important (for them). They used a material which with time locks the lens and the camera is useless from then on. Found that using the camera in normal summer heat will make this happen faster. I dont use it anymore for any airshow events, only for Macro of kit builds. I know in todays world of tons of megabyte cameras this Sony is a relic but I dont need 20-40megapixel photos of anything (who does?). New Sony's dont have many of the functions that this cameras had!

 

In all I had 4 F717 and one original F707. Now only 2 of them are in working order. Still I love them!!!!!

 

Best regards

Gabor 

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Nothing special just showing few details of the kit. Also while I know that FineMolds is making and selling their own set of turned brass pitots for the Phantom. I feel that the Polish Masters pitot set is a far better value for money not only because an AOA sensor is also provided but also the price is the fraction of the Japanese product.

 

The 72nd scale turned brass Master M61 Vulcan set was dug out also but I think it will be only used in the second or third built kit. Some alteration will have to be made to this gun to make it a perfect copy of the original gun. It should not be a big problem.

 

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Various kit parts

 

 

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Best regards

Gabor

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I know this is a bit of a side track from showing or building the actual kit, but . . .  I would say this belongs here as it will be used in the next Phantom build. Also I like the idea of it and what can be made from it. It is a lot of fun and after all this is what this hobby should be about! 

 

So it is the Master Co.’s M61 Vulcan gun. Before going any further I have to advise everyone that this is not an easy build and one will need tons of patience for it but the end result could be magnificent!

Only those with lots of patience, steady hand and a good eye should indulge in this!

 

How big is it? One should ask how small it is in 72 nd scale. Extremely small!!!

The Master set comes with an overall build view of the gun but no real chronological step by step sequence is suggested. Everyone have their own way of building, the only thing I can do is to suggest one version. Tried few sequences but in the end this one worked the best.

One would of course need one Master set for this. : )  Good tweezers which will not propel into space the extremely small parts. I used a scrap piece of plexi glass with a blob of Blu Tack to hold some parts during construction.

 

First a decision has to be made.

Do we want to paint this gun or do something more simple and far more superior. Instead of paint I used chemical painting. Using Masters Blackening Agent I attacked all the brass parts. This included the pitot sets parts also. What this does is to attack chemically brass and develop a black layer on its surface.

One VERY IMPORTAN THING: Never touch the brass parts before using this liquid. Any grease -no matter how clean your hands are- will be transferred on brass and in these places the chemical agent will simply not work! So on opening the packing handle with tweezers every part, I even wash them in detergent to make sure (never know who has held them in hand during packing).

The blackening procedure is very simple. I use piece of small old packaging plastic “bubble” to pour the agent into. Put the brass parts into it. Make sure to agitate the parts and the liquid so a full contact is made on every surface. It takes 5 minutes or so for any result to show (absolutely no problem if brass is left in the liquid for a longer time). After this I rinse parts in clean water and dry them on a paper tissue. You will see that the black residue on the surface is very soft, so to say. Gently rubbing and rolling brass parts between two tissues will get most of the black stuff off but what we are left with is a nice metallic dark grey colour. Best to describe it is a Graphite colour.

A perfect Gun Metal colour in just 5 minutes without any painting, masking and it has a chemical bond to the surface. I use this also as a “primer” for all brass parts it is a perfect chemical bond and an excellent semi matt base for any future colour if needed.

Remember the blackening agent can attack also your metal tweezers!!!

 

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Usually I repeat this process one more time to make it better. See the photos how grey the final parts are. If one prefers a more darker black colour then he can leave off the rubbing part or only do it lightly. Actually one can perfectly adjust the level of colour with this procedure. If you don’t like the result, just dip the parts again in the Blackening solution and once again you can start from a completely black surface. One has to remember that this full black surface is a bit more delicate, so when using this version a layer or two of varnish would be needed to make it more permanent.

On the other hand I don’t recommend using masking on the treated surface. Install it at the very last stage of construction.

  

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My version of build sequence for the Vulcan is:

 

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1.   Cut the double ring Part 4, bend it over full. Insert a needle to make sure of a proper alignment of the holes. Do some dry runs here. The diameter of the holes could be a micron bigger than the diameter of the gun barrels. So if needed use a fine needle file (in my case I used the smallest Glardon Vallorbe) to make sure that the diameter is perfect.

 

2.   From many versions I found that the easiest is to start with Part 4 as a core, insert the barrels one by one. No glue at this stage. Take Part 5 and adjust the barrel ends into it. A LOT OF PATIENCE IS NEEDED HERE!!!!!!

 

3.  Once satisfied that all the barrels are in place I used the Blu Tack base to insert the set up-side-down. If level, glue Part 5 to the end of barrels.

 

4.   If everything is parallel ring Part 4 can also be glued in place next.

 

Now one of the difficult ones. The muzzle.

5.   Master suggests assembling it separately. Yes, this should be the best way but one needs to do it VERY carefully. I used a jig to make sure that front end of muzzle Part 1 and back end Part 2 are perfectly aligned. If not then you will never be able to put it on the barrels. The jig had two needles on opposite sides of the structure. The small central part was first glued to the Part 2 as a base.

 

6.   Then one by one the dividers Part 3 were glued to the base and the central part. I was trying to make them all nice and vertical. Not succeeded with every one of them, so it was back to square one. Master is providing 2 extra Part 3’s in case “something goes wrong”. Extremely small amounts of super glue are needed here.

 

 

7.   Using the needles as guides now the front “end plate” Part 1 was put on top of the construction. Be careful not to glue the needles to any of the parts! or you are in deep trouble.

 

 

8.   All one has to do now is to place the muzzle on top of the barrel assembly. Easily said than done. Once again  a lot of patience!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Here again it will pay off if one tried in advance (before building the muzzle) some dry fitting of the barrels to Part 1 and Part 2 to make sure that the holes are big enough.     

 

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All in all it took about a day to build this Vulcan. Had to put the assembly aside twice to make sure that I don’t through it away as far as possible after missing some part fits.

Speaking of missing parts, in the end managed to keep all the parts as needed. One advice here is to use a kind of tray of sorts as a working surface. Preferably white in colour so that you see easily all the parts even if they fall further during construction than anticipated. Keep that carpet monster hungry, don’t feed him! Most of the extremely small parts would never be found if they fly away!!!

 

Next step for me will be making an extension to the front muzzle. The Vulcan on the Phantom was different from all the other ones. Made some copies of the end plate with all the holes in them from 0.1 mm aluminium sheet. The barrel extensions will be from fine brass or aluminium tubes.

 

As far as I know the short muzzle version of the Phantom used the same Vulcan barrels as in this Master set, only the long muzzle version had the extra add on at the end. Phantom exterts will correct me if I am wrong on this. 

 

If one looks at the Phantom from underneath then the muzzle can be seen (should be visible) behind the deflectors of FineMolds kit Parts F9 and F10. So I will have to do a separate muzzle for the next build. The one that I am building now had the gun removed, so there is no need for it here.

 

Anyone with previous work experience as watchmaker or jeweller have an advantage with this Vulcan set!!!   : )   : )   : )

 

OK, now I have the Vulcan barrels, the difficult part of the project completed! The only thing I need next is the actual body of the gun, the big amo drum and all the links between them as well as a stand for it. Absolutely no problem. . .   : )   : )   : )

 

 

Stay Safe!!!

 

Best regards

Gabor

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Hi Falconxlvi,

Thanks! Yes it is very small and needs extra patience and some steady hands. But it is also true that we as humanity became what we are through using tools. Good tools are essential and in this case using some homemade construction jigs can help a lot!!!

 

As you say that Blackening fluid is really great and makes a change from traditional paining. The end result is far more convincing! One can play around with it, make adjustment, re do if not satisfied and it all takes just few minutes!

 

Now work is on that ammo drum and the Vulcan gun body itself. I see the ammo link as the biggest challenge in 72nd scale! I do have it in 48th from a very old Verlinden F-16 photoetch set, but nothing in 72nd. Not sure how I will do it . . .

 

Stay Safe!!!

 

Best regards

Gabor

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All sorts and various bits and pieces are getting some attention at this stage.

Here is the engine face. Have no idea how much of it will be visible or not, but at least I will know that it is there. The thing is it took about 10 minutes to make it from scrap plastic. Not exactly rocket science. Will be painted and what happens after that is anybody’s guess.

Actually some RBF intake covers are in making so . . . But then again they could be used only as extras on the ground next to the kit, will see.

 

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Fuel tanks glued, joints sanded and from one already that thick joint line of tank construction has been cut and sanded. Will make a new one to replace it. Details added to the bottom of the tanks. Later the weld lines will be also made.

 

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Little detailing to the heat resistant tail section.

 

 

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Stay Safe!!!

 

Best regards

Gabor

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