by: Andy Appleby [ ]
The F-4B was the first variant of McDonnel's Phantom II to enter Squadron service with the U.S Navy in 1960, with a total of 649 being built. Later on in their lives, 228 were rebuilt to the -N configuration, receiving new electronics, engines and aerodynamic improvements to bring the aircraft up to the standard of the then-current F-4J. In 1962, 10 were accepted into the USAF under the designation F-110 Spectre> Shortly thereafter, the USAF's Phantoms were renamed to F-4C
On opening the box you are confronted by 14 multi-coloured sprues; 8 in white, 3 in black, 2 in medium grey , 1 clear, and a 1 piece fuselage. An 8 page instruction book is supplemented by a double sided weapon mounting sheet, a lovely double sided glossy colour decal placement plan and a superb decal sheet
The fuselage is a one piece moulding the same as the big Tamiya F-4ís so there's no joint line down the spine.
The engraved panel lines and rivets look fine and in scale and scream out for some washes.
The intakes are full length unlike the Hasegawa ones, and the inflight refuelling probe can be assembled extended or retracted.
The cockpit is very well done with the correct sidewalls. The only letdowns here are the seats with no belts (but you could always place the pilot and RIO figure in the pit) and the instrument panels have no decals for the dials but Iím sure the AM boys will come up with a ton on stuff here.
The exhausts are quite nicely done and will come up well with careful painting (or some AM resin)
There are 4 IRST pods, 4 variants of the fin tip with different ECM antennae, 2 nose cones, two pairs of horizontal stabilators plus shedloads of weapons which spell out a few more F-4ís too come
The instructions are plain, clear and easy to follow with separate a glossy sheet in colour for the decals and a 4 plan sheet for different weapon loads
The wings are again beautifully engraved and are the slim type found on the F4-B
These are marked B/N on the underside,more clues to more versions
Same as the wings,lovely molding
Superb,OOB just add some brake pipes from fuse wire
I think Academy have hit the spot with this one; at first look it seems the best in 1/48 Phantom out there
Decals and Markings
Stunning Cartograf decal sheet with over 250 individual decals to apply for a CAG aircraft from VF-111 Sundowners