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1:48 EF-4C Phantom II (Tamiya Conversion)

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@A-10 LOADER, @Mr.Happy…many thanks for following this absurdity! And thanks for your patience too. I usually wait until I have an update before acknowledging others’ responses, simply as a way to reduce bandwidth and keep the thread more concise. 

Piece by Piece, Bit by Bit…









The MLG bay work continues; slow but steady. While tedious and time intensive, I actually find this kind of labor enjoyable. That said, I’ll be happy to clear this hurdle! 

Thanks for watching.




Edited by RichB63
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Rich, very inspirational work you're doing here. Tedious and time consuming, yes, absolutely, but the rewards are so worth it! Can't wait to see more of this magic, especially since it's in 48th scale, and if I remember correctly your preference is 32nd.



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  • 3 weeks later...

And this is why I build out of the box. I've always thought there were three levels of modelers; assemblers, builders, and craftsmen. Very, very few modelers are at the craftsmen level. You sir, would be one of them. Absolutely beautiful work.

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@wardog, @A-10 LOADER, @BuNo02100, @crackerjazz, @Darren Roberts, @BillS


Thanks very much for leaving behind such kind comments…much appreciated!


Work continues on the wheel wells: most of the structural elements are complete; raised rivet detail is next - luckily, I built up a small inventory of Archer Fine Transfers resin products before they closed shop; and, finally, I’ll install the rat’s nest of hoses, tubes and wires that run throughout this area.

I’ll have more to share before the end of the month.


Thanks for watching and, once again, thanks for taking the time to post comments.




Edited by RichB63
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  • 4 weeks later...


Tanks a Lot…

I took a break from the tedium that is the MLG bay construction and assembled and detailed the centerline fuel tank. Photographs of Nellis (and later George AFB) schoolhouse Phantoms indicate a full “three bag” external fuel tank configuration was common. So that’s what I’m going with.

Tamiya provide a nice Royal Jet 600 gal fuel store depicting, appropriately, the navy style, all welded design. The USAF settled on the “nestable” variant, easily distinguishable by the long clamp bar which runs the length of the tank’s center section.


This version also lacked the oval shaped access panels (referred to as “doors” in fuel tank speak), so these were filled with CA glue. 


Sometimes, surface tension and other processes prevent the glue from settling into the smaller indentations, as was the case here with two of the fasteners. Rather than attempt a second try, I resorted to the more reliable, if involved, method of drilling out the holes and gluing stretched sprue sections in place, which are later clipped off and sanded flush.


Wooden blocks, nylon bushings and double sided tape were combined to fashion a makeshift stand. This Rube Goldbergesque contraption allows the tank to be rotated, rotisserie style, while a scribing needle is held steady against the plastic creating nice, even circumferential incisions. Three of these grooves will receive stretched sprue girth welds, while the other two depict section joins. 


For the girth welds, lengths of thin stretched sprue were tightly wound around appropriately sized metal tubing, the resulting plastic coils held in place temporarily with clear tape. These were submerged in boiling water for ten to fifteen seconds, removed and placed immediately into a quenching bowl of ice water. 

Here are the rings after removal. As you can see, they hold their shape quite well.


Cut to size, the rings are slid over the tank, clicking into place over the pre-cut grooves. After bonding with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement, a fine beading tool (appropriately) was used to distress the welds for a more realistic appearance.


The off-center flange present at the section joins was achieved by carefully taping off the belts and spraying additional layers of Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Gray.


Strips of evenly spaced Archer Fine Transfer rivets were used to depict the prominent raised fasteners along both sides of the clamp bar. 

Additional individually punched rivets were added to complete the asymmetrical pattern seen in references. Still more of these “singles” ring the air vent and fuel cap openings.





Here, the 86th and final raised fastener is pushed into position…I guess that makes me a rivet counter!



The individual rivets don’t stick very well as they shed their decal film when punched from the sheet - little more than surface tension holds them in place at first. But a sealing coat of primer firmly affixes these tiny resin dots to the surface.



The photo etched fuel cap is from Eduard. It looks great, but is slightly too large.

The cap was brought into conformity with NATO specs by temporarily gluing it atop a section of smaller diameter brass tubing, taking care to center things up. The excess, overhanging material was carefully filed away until the cap conformed to the round tubing. CA de-bonder frees the part and removes all traces of glue.


Here’s the modified cap (left) beside an untreated part, straight from the fret.


“Tanks” for tuning in…the wing mounted Sargent Fletcher gas bags are up next.




Edited by RichB63
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I just spent probably 30 minutes mesmerized by the craftsmanship on fuel tanks.  Not a cockpit, or engine or open radome for a radar, but fuel tanks.  This is next level skill.  Everything, and I mean everything is so clean.  Very inspirational 



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I must protest. 


Do you understand how your superior craftsmanship is affecting me when I compare your photos to the 1/48 Phantoms on my shelf?  My self esteem is negatively impacted and I feel bad about myself. 


Can you please put a glue fingerprint or something on the fuselage so us mere mortals can relate?  😁

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10 hours ago, AD-4N said:

Can you please put a glue fingerprint or something on the fuselage so us mere mortals can relate?  😁

I totally agree!!!


I suggest Rich to use a cyanoacrylate glue!!!🤣


Aside from the teasing part, your craftsmanship Rich is amazing. Job well done!

Edited by SERNAK
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Yeeaaah....your fuel tank just blew away my best ever build! What sorcery is this beading tool? Stunning work, I now have to wander through the rest of the day with the realization that after 40 years in the modeling world, I have the building skills of a child! Like a hit TV series, I impatiently wait for the next episode of your build!

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  • RichB63 changed the title to 1:48 EF-4C Phantom II (Tamiya Conversion)

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