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Zoukei Mura 1/48 F-4G - Philippine Phantom

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Hello everyone. It's my first time posting here on this board here. I just wanted to post my progress on Zoukei Mura's hot new kit of the F-4G Wild Weasel Phantom.


It didn't take that long at all to paint the cockpit, prep the internal components and glue the fuselage together. Fit was quite good, save for the part on the bottom where the front of the lower fuselage meets with the intakes. I used thin strips of wide styrene glued to the front of the steps created by the join to help blend in the join to the fuselage and rescribed any panel lanes that were lost.


I added some wiring to the back of the WSO's instrument panel to give that spaghetti factory look to what exists back there.


To hide the seam in the exhaust cans I too some lengths of Plastistruct half-round styrene pieces and sanded them down to make them look like the raised lengths within the burner cans.


Intakes were put together, then I just applied putty and sanded the seams away with bits of Godhand #240 and #400 thin sanding sponges CA-glued around the tips of disposable chopsticks. Then I sprayed the interior with Mr. Surfacer Acrylic White 1000 when I was satisfied with a smooth-enough finish within the intakes.


BTW, don't bother sanding the inner-rear portion of the intakes. That part will be totally invisible when you install the intakes into the fuselage. It will just save time and prevent any further joint pain in your hand from forming.


I decided to spray the interior front intakes area with the colors I needed. I'm building this bird in the colors of a 3rd TFW F-4G based at Clark AFB in the Philippines during the mid-80's. The SEA wraparound scheme is by far my favorite USAF scheme, especially with a sharkmouth and low-viz insignias are involved!


The paints used are from this fairly new brand of acrylics from Japan called Vic Hobby. They were offering a set that gave you all the colors needed to paint the USAF SEA scheme. After spraying on the colors I have to say they are really nice paints! They take longer to dry than Vallejo paints, but give a much smoother, tougher finish than Vallejo IMO. Highly recommended paints if you can find them. Best of all you can dilute and clean them out with water.


I also wanted to show some of the details ZM included with their F-4G kit, particularly in regards to the slats and the belly-strap. I compared it to their F-4S, another project I have had in the works for a while. As you can see the design of the F-4G slats reflect more the style used by the USAF. The F-4S has deeper, more curved slats while in contrast the USAF-style slats are flatter. Also, the proper, shorter wing fence is present on the G-kit in comparison to the longer one on the S model.


I also noticed some subtle differences between the shape of the belly strap on the S in comparison to the G. ZM definitely did their research here and didn't just shift parts from the S kit into their G kit. They actually tooled new parts. Good work guys.


Finally, I have added slime lights from the Fine Molds Nano-Aviation line of plastic upgrade parts. ZM includes these, but the Fine Molds parts are much thinner and nicer detail-wise.


I also kept the slats on the inner wing closed by snipping off the actuator arms and sliding in some styrene strips to cover the small gaps on the underside of the wing where the antenna bumps meet the slats. My only real complaint of this kit is I wished ZM allowed you the option to close the slats, but it seems they want to keep them open.


In these photos I still have the main wheel bays painted but I stripped the paint. The finish didn't turn out as well as I wished so I am going to respray these areas.


In the meantime I am working on the ejection seats, wheels and landing gear as I wait for SpeedHunter to release their decals for early Wild Weasel Phantoms.












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That build is looking good. I'm currently working on the kit myself, doing the box scheme.

Only fit issue I've had is a bit of a gap at the front end of the spine. Not bad at all, just needs a touch of putty (Probably should have installed the spine before the aft hood hinge section), but I haven't got the wings on yet so we shall see. 

I'm not surprised that ZM tooled a new wing for the slatted E's. They'll actually need two of these (one for slat-upgraded E's and the G's, one for the E's built with slatted wings, which are again different from all earlier models).

Given these are among the most common E configurations out there, it's more surprising that they did a dedicated S wing than a proper slat-upgraded E wing. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you for the compliments on the build so far guys. I slowed down a bit due to the holidays but I've still been plugging away. Mostly, I focused on the smaller bits so that I have everything ready for when the Speedhunter Early Wild Weasel decal sheet arrives. I placed my order a few days ago.


I got the landing gear and wheels painted up and prepared. I've been working on the ordinance and tanks as well. Tanks are already painted and mostly ready. I have a few touch-ups here and there. Again, the VIC acrylics sprayed on real nice and smooth.


Ejection seats were painted and the cushion decals that ZM gives you were added to the bottom cushion. In retrospect, I didn't really need them since most of them are covered up by the seatbelts anyways! Oh well, a teeny bit is visible still. I used the Fine Molds Nano-Aviation Phantom seatbelts. I'm still working on the pull-handles stripe pattern.


I'm using the wing tanks from the Tamiya F-4B since they are better-shaped than the ZM kit examples. I drilled in some holes in the proper spots under the wings so that I could adapt the Tamiya tanks to the ZM kit.


I decided to use the AIM-7E's from the Tamiya Phantom kit. ZM gives you the AIM-7M, but while I was painting and decaling those I realized they were more appropriate for later F-4G's. The decals from the box are for a Spangdahlem F-4G from the late 80's in Euro 1. One complaint I have about ZM kits is I wish they gave you more decals for other varied schemes, especially if you need decals for ordinance for another possible airframe from a different timeframe. 


For example, they do give you an ALQ-119 which is what I need for this build. Unfortunately, they don't give you decals to put on it! You are given decals for the AN/ALQ-131 since that is for the Spang bird provided with the kit. I'll need to find a Hasegawa Weapons Set B so I can put decals on the pod from this kit.


On the topic of ordinance, I decided to buy both AGM-45 Shrikes and the AGM-78 Standard ARM for my kit. I dig the asymmetrical load, especially with the big mean-looking AGM-78 hanging off the pylon. While researching F-4G load-outs, I came to the conclusion that a load with the AGM-45, AGM-78, two AIM-7's in the rear, the ALQ-119 and three gas bags would an accurate load to use for a Clark-based Wild Weasel. PACAF Phantoms often needed plenty of tanks due to the long distances they carried, especially in comparison to USAFE.


I was originally going to buy the Flight Line Resin set which was right up my alley since it contained a Shrike and an AGM-78, but the international shipping cost was so prohibitively high I decided to nix that plan. Instead I decided to get some Eduard Brassin Shrikes and AGM-78's from the 48ers since they were on sale. Cyprus, unlike the US, charges international shipping prices that are actually sane. Plus, I got plenty of missiles with the Brassin sets so if I screwed one up I had an extra in reserve to build properly.


Thankfully, the Shrike went together well and it is decaled. I'm still working on the AGM-78. I really wish Eduard included pylons as well! I'll just take the pylons from the Hasegawa weapon set C and tweak the details and accuracy.


The exhausts of the ZM kit are actually pretty nice. They are an improvement from the short nose Phantom kits in detail and accuracy. However, I decided to add a little extra detail to them to make them nicer. I glued and trimmed some Hobby Base plastic strips at the exhaust petal tips and used a jeweler's beading tool to lightly press a pair of fine rivets into each tip. Tedious and precise work, but well worth it.








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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you again for the kind compliments!


As for the F-4S Mr.Happy I hope to do some more work on it after I finish up the F-4G. I need to clean up the area where the flaps meet the fuselage and do a repaint over that area.


I managed to get the AGM-78 and exhausts all painted up and done. As for the ALQ-119 I managed to grab some decals from the Hasegawa Weapons Set B while using decals from both Zoukei Mura and the Tamiya F-16CJ. The Hasegawa decals were a bit yellowed so I tried to cut as much as the film off as possible before putting them onto the pod. Now it looks much more the part and is ready to sling under the Phantom once I get to that stage. I'm still trying to find out what to paint the mounting pylon for the pod, the one that connects it to the Sparrow bay.


I've painted the nose gear doors as well. Now I'll focus on detailing the pylons for the Shrike and the AGM-78. I'll try to get as much done with little bits here and there before the decals arrive.







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I finally finished up my work with the adapters for the AGM-45 and AGM-78. For the AGM-78 adapter I added some extra scribed detail and rivets using my jeweler's beading tool and and Hasegawa razor saws. I also cut off the raised bits beneath where those connectors usually go and scratchbuilt some of those grate-like ones in their place with plastic card. Then I gave it a spray with dark green. My scribing work isn't the greatest, but it helps add more detail to the adapter. 


Just after I finished this the Speed Hunter Decals came in the mail! Looks like I'll be starting up the painting process as soon as I have the time.


The decals look great as expected of SHD decals. However, I did spot a discrepancy with one of the markings. The PACAF shield that goes on the tail has a white background instead of the sky blue one. In the instructions (and in reference photos I have seen of Clark Phantoms), the PACAF shields have sky blue BG's. Is my decal sheet the only one with this discrepancy, or has anyone else with this same sheet have the same issue?







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10 hours ago, Miramar Road said:

The decals look great as expected of SHD decals. However, I did spot a discrepancy with one of the markings. The PACAF shield that goes on the tail has a white background instead of the sky blue one. In the instructions (and in reference photos I have seen of Clark Phantoms), the PACAF shields have sky blue BG's. Is my decal sheet the only one with this discrepancy, or has anyone else with this same sheet have the same issue?







Man.  this makes me sick.  It is not just your sheet.  I had a look and it seems to be on ALL the sheets.  I'll get an insert made and get it heading your way ASAP!


I'm so sorry!!!



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  • 1 month later...

Man, its been a while. Last couple of months were busy for me, but I did manage to get this Phantom painted up.


I did a few touch-ups on the wrap-around SEA camo here and there and there are a few spots I need to fix up. Otherwise, I foresee this Wild Weasel getting the gloss coat soon and the decals as well.


The Vic Hobby acrylics went on very nice and smooth. I really like working with them and they're my new favorite brand of paints.




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  • 3 weeks later...

Jake sent me the replacement PACAF shield decals and I just got them today. While waiting for them I gloss coated the kit and stuck all the other decals on while waiting for them to arrive in the mail. Once I got Jake's replacements on they immediately went.


I almost had a major disaster when holding the kit. One of the shield's got stuck onto my finger and scrunched up! I immediately stuck it back into the water and let it soak in order to let it open back up again. With some very gentle prodding with my tweezers I managed to flatten it out back to normal and stick it back on the tail. Phew!


I just want to give my everlasting thanks to Jake for shipping out the fixed decals. Awesome customer service and a major reason why I buy his decals! A+++ all around! I'm also quite impressed how quickly the decals separate from the paper, in cold water even. Many other decals can take a few minutes to separate from the paper.


Anyways, I'm now going to focus on the panel line wash and then move on to getting the canopy masked and painted. I also need to add the tail pitot and the AOA probe.






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  • 1 month later...



Thanks, for the compliment on the paint job! I masked using rolled snakes of putty and Tamiya tape. 


Wow, its been a while since I posted last. Last month and the first half of this month were busy. I got a bit of time this past weekend to get this thing closer to the finish line.


After cleaning up the wash I sprayed a clear matte coat on the entire kit. I used Vic Hobby brand matte coat which has a nice, smooth satin-like finish. Before I did the camo work I sprayed the metallic area in the aft end of the Phantom. I used Mr. Color metallizers and tried some weathering here and there. I even tried the ribbed look in the back by using Aizu extra thin masking tape and alternating between lighter and darker shades. It ended up being a bit too subtle but I decided to go with that. Next time I'll try not to tone it down too much.


I also masked the windscreen and center section of the canopy with Hasegawa application support masking sheet. Hasegawa makes some really handy modelling finishing tools.


In the meantime I also got the arresting hook and J-79 burner cans on.


There are a few spots I need to clean up here and there in regards to slight overspray and the like. In general the finish is almost done. I applied some photo etch to the pilot and WSO canopies and need to polish both after getting some UV glue smudged onto the clear parts.








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  • 2 weeks later...

I've made a ton of progress cleaning and touching up parts here and there. I've also put the landing gear, gear doors, pylons and weapons on. Even forged ahead and got the little antennas on there too. Overall, I'm really close to the finish line. I'm going to order another canopy from ZM because I screwed up polishing the canopy parts for the pilot and WSO. Once I get those I can wrap this project up.




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