Many thanks to Hypersonic Models and the IPMS Reviewer Corps for allowing me to review this excellent canopy detailing set for the iconic F-4 Phantom family. Hypersonic Models (HM) is a new contributor to the IPMS Reviewer system and is based in the UK, with a Facebook presence established 17 JUL 12. The operation is a one-man show, focused on well-researched products generated from quality CAD artwork and 3D- printed molds. HM has a specialty offering of modern-jet resin accessories, decals, canopy masks and reference drawings, with an X-15 emphasis.
The clear clamshell package contained all of the parts and instructions, securely but not too tightly packed. Five pour plugs with parts are finely cast in medium gray resin, with easily-read raised part numbers and no indication of mold release. A photo etch fret has relief-etched features, thin part attachment points and arrived well-polished with no obvious chemical residue. Two 6-inch lengths of soft wire in 2 gauges (0.008 in., 0.0035 in.) are included for detailing instrumentation and ejection seat canopy links. Options for 6 F-4 variants are described in the instructions. The directions are spread over two color 8 X 5.5 inch pages printed front and back and are clear and easy to follow. The middle canopy is where most of the variant choice decisions need to be considered. VTAS parts are provided for late-model F-4J versions.
I chose a Hasegawa F-4J to use the Hypersonic canopy details on. The kit has very limited interior canopy details and is an excellent base for more work. Hypersonic provides interior canopy framing that is cast with very thin webbing allowing nearly effortless part separation from the pour plug. Small C-shaped indents in the frame tops mesh perfectly with raised shapes on the kit canopies. Photo etched windscreen, front, middle and rear canopy facings have slight relief and are thin enough be easily bent to form without being too soft. Three mirrors are mounted on the front and rear canopies, allowing the option of trimming off the ones that are not required. Trimming extra mirrors is easier than adding in more mirrors! The middle canopy area is rich with instrumentation and options. The two different wire gauges for connecting the instruments are a great detail that makes the middle canopy area stand out. Other parts that I have not used yet are the canopy cylinders and safety uplocks, since the canopies will not be attached until later in construction after painting and decaling. The included thin wire is also used to make springs that are attached on the rear corner of the ejection seats and link to the canopy. If you are modeling a late F-4J, VTAS sensors are included for the front canopy.
Some smaller parts have mounting flanges or flat spots that I managed to damage when I removed those parts from the pour plugs. Caution is needed, not only to avoid damage, but not to lose the small parts.
I highly recommend Hypersonic’s F-4 canopy detail set. The set was a joy to use. There were no surprises or brain-scratchers beyond those brought on by a second-string skill set on my bench. The base kit is progressing well; I really wanted to get this detail set reviewed and out there for everyone to use! I will add more pictures to this review when the build is complete.
Thank you Hypersonic for providing this cool accessory for review! Thank you to the Reviewer Corps for making all this happen; it is great to be part of the team.