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Zoukei Mura 1/48 F-4E Viper killer!

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Hi guys, I’m back with my next project, Zoukei Mura’s 1/48 F-4E.  I bought it late last year with the intention of using Hypersonic’s late F-4E conversion set.  Then a couple of months ago, ZM announced a late F-4E kit shortly after I purchased the Hypersonic conversion!  Regardless, I’m moving ahead with the early version ZM kit since the Hypersonic conversion looks like a pretty nice kit.  I’m also using the below detail and decal sets:




A few years ago, I picked up Speed Hunter Graphic’s USAF Gunfighter’s F-4E decal set and decided on the markings for a New Jersey ANG jet in the Euro 1 camo scheme with F-16 “kill” markings when the group deployed to Luke AFB in 1988 to fly against F-16 students. 




One item to note is that the Hypersonic set includes everything needed to model the latest, most up to date F-4E other than the single piece windscreen, which includes the TISEO  system.  Since the jet I’m modeling didn’t get this mod, I won’t need to use the backseat side consoles, right hand control stick, or the TISEO wing mounted optical side or antennas that come in the set.


My main reference book is Reid Air Publications “The Modern Phantom Guide”.  It’s incredibly helpful for anyone modeling a USAF or foreign post 1980’s to present Phantom.  Since it’s hard to find now, I paid an embarrassingly high price for a copy on Ebay.


Also, I had an old Black Box cockpit set for the Hasegawa F-4E kit.  It would be too much work to try to get this set to fit the ZM kit, but I did decide to use both instrument panels with the ZM cockpit since they add quite a bit of detail.  I also removed the pilot’s map case and airborne video tape recorder from the resin tub and added them to the ZM kit.  The ZM kit positions the pilot’s map case to the right side of the pilot’s seat, but it was moved to the left side with the F-4E.  ZM did not change this on their molding from their previous F-4 kits.  Also, in the mid 1980’s F-4E’s and F-4G’s received an “Airborne Video Tape Recorder” (AVTR).  This is a large box located where the map case was in short nose Phantoms.  I’m assuming the jet I’m modelling had this by 1988, so I used the one from the Black Box kit.  This required moving some of the switches on the right side pilot’s console using Anyz 3D switches and buttons.  I also changed a few buttons and switches on the pilot’s left console to match my reference photos.


Here’s a list of the other items I modified in the cockpit area:

-Scrachbuilt pilot’s throttle (the kit one is oversized)

-Added drag chute handle to left of pilot’s set

-Modified RIO’s throttle from the Hypersonic set

-Modified boxes at the rear of the RIO’s station.  One of these was snagged from the Black Box set.

-Added pilot’s moveable map light and located it on the AVTR

-Scratchbuilt canopy and ejection seat mechanisms behind pilot’s seat

-Removed shallow buttons from the kit circuit breaker panels and added larger ones with bits of stretched sprue.

-Added canopy linages under cockpit side sills

-Added missing details to the cockpit sides

-Rear center section of kit cockpit sill was cut out and replaced with sheet styrene since the kit part had molded on cabling that I will add later using lead or copper wire.


I’m using the Kazan 3D printed wheel well and landing gear set for this kit.  It also replaces the cockpit tub since it mimics the ZM kit design.  This also makes the wheel wells much easier to install than the Aire's style of cast resin wheel wells that require lots of sanding to fit inside the kit.

I tried to not waste time detailing areas that would not be visible once the fuselage is assembled, but I might have gone overboard 😂 . 



































Oxygen hoses added by wrapping 30 ga copper wire around 26 ga copper wire.  The intercom wires were made from 0.2mm lead wire and glued along the length of the oxygen hose.  Thin strips of masking tape were used to represent the straps attaching the intercom wire to the oxygen hose.  I used Albion tubing for the end connections of the hose and intercom wire.


The coiled 30 ga copper wire will be used for the wiring to the pilot’s map light.




That’s all for now, thanks for looking!



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This is freaking awesome! I absolutely love how you’ve repurposed the older resin cockpit tubs. Now I don’t feel the need to offload any of mine and may want to get some more since they cost less!

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Impressive amount of resin bashing and scratch building detail!

And looking forward to your conversion from an Early F-4E to a later-ish one. 

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Wow, that’s some amazing work!


I’m using the Hypersonic slat conversion on one of my F-4Es, too. I ordered a couple of them and exactly two weeks later, Z-M announced they were finally releasing their slatted version. :doh: I've been very impressed with both the kit and Hypersonic’s parts. I look forward to watching your progress!



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Thanks so much guys!  Ron, I knew in the back of my mind that the RIO term seemed wrong for an Air Force backseater.  Thanks for setting me straight!

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Great job and off to a great start.


I like your kit-bash use of the aftermarket parts into the kits cockpit.


Gotta say I’m looking forward to this build.


Keep up the great updates,

Mr. Happy 

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Thanks Mr. Happy!  


I’m back for an update now that the cockpit is finished.  I used a combination of Anyz and Airscale decals to liven up the side consoles and instrument panels.  This is by far the most amount of decaling I have ever done to a cockpit, but I think the effort was worth it.  I just hope most of it will still be visible when installed in the fuselage.  I also added some weathering with an Ammo enamel wash and some artist oils to add some grime to the cockpit floor.  I used UV curing glue on the instrument panel dials to give the appearance of the being covered in glass. 


















The ejection seats are 3D printed pieces from MCC.  I’m impressed with them as these are the first 3D printed seats I have used before.  The only modification I made to them was to add the red canister at the back of the seat which all my reference photos show.






Now it’s on to assembly.  Thanks for looking!



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Very nice job!


Those Mk.7 bang seats really are choice. The Instrument Panel really looks awesome. 

All together a excellent representation of the real cockpit of a F-4E.


Mr. Happy




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Thanks guys!  Rich, I made the stripes on the top handles of the seats by first painting them all gloss yellow.  I then cut a thin strip of masking tape and wrapped it around the handle and sprayed a coat of black paint.  That got me close, but the back stripes were narrower than the yellow ones.  So I touched up the black stripes using a 10/0 brush with black acrylic ink.  If I messed up, I could easily wipe away the ink with a sharpened toothpick over the gloss yellow base.  For the handles on the right side of the seat and between the legs, I just handpainted the black stripes with acrylic ink over the yellow base.  Again, the ink could be easily wiped off if I messed up.  When I was satisfied, I sealed it with a clear flat lacquer.

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  • 4 weeks later...


On 4/14/2024 at 11:23 PM, Major Walt said:

Nice work!



On 4/16/2024 at 1:12 PM, colargol said:

Very impressive ! 



Thanks guys!  Back for another update.  I decided to finish the cockpit area first before proceeding with assembly of the rest of the model.  With the cockpit installed in the fuselage and the fuselage halves glued together, I installed the top deck surrounding the cockpit.  As a note, before assembling the fuselage halves, I sanded down a small bit of material on both halves around the top mid-section of the fuselage.  I noticed on many other builds that the insert piece that Zoukei-Mura uses for the fuselage spine fits loosely in its pocket, which creates a surrounding gap.  Removing some material from each fuselage half closes up this area and helps the spine insert fit tighter.  The image below shows where to remove material.  As you can also see, I drilled holes under the spine insert that I could use to push up on the insert to get it level with the surrounding surface.






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Posted (edited)

With the cockpit installed in the fuselage, I could install the front and rear instrument panels.  I wasn’t satisfied with the shape of the front instrument coming that came in the Black Box cockpit set, so I ground it down and built up a new one with bits of styrene and epoxy putty.  The HUD area was also rebuilt based on reference photos.  I think the front sides of the coming are fabric covered with rivets to hold down the covering.  I replicated this with raised rivets from an Archer sheet.  I added the air ducts located at the bottom corners of the windscreen with sheet styrene. I also added the landing gear and arresting hook handles. 










The rear deck was also detailed with lead and copper wiring as well as connectors from a set of Anyz avionic connectors.




I used the Hypersonic detail set for the canopies.  I also used stretched sprue to replicate the canopy seal that runs along the bottom sides of the canopy.  Archer raised rivets were used along the top inside edge of the canopies.  I added the knife on the left side of both the front and rear canopies with strips of aluminum and stretched sprue.  I also used bits of styrene to replicate the various switches at the top of the windscreen.








With the detail work done, I painted everything up.  To replicate wear on the cockpit sills, I first painted them silver and overcoated them with a clear Gunze lacquer for protection.  I then sprayed a thin coat of black and used a sharp blade to scrape off the black paint to reveal the silver underneath.  I then dirtied up these areas with a light tan oil paint.  The details on the canopies were brought out with a light drybrushing of light gray oil paint.  I added a few decals on the instrument coaming and behind the rear instrument panel from a set of Anyz placard decals.




















With the cockpit out of the way, its time to move on to construction.  Thanks for looking!



Edited by Drew T.
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Posted (edited)

Wow! I love that forward windscreen coaming. It will feature prominently on the finished model, so all that hard work pays off in the end.


Great job!


Edited by RichB63
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