F-4C/D Air National Guard Part 3

Published on
June 17, 2014
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Base Kit
Academy F-4C
Company: Caracal Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Caracal Models - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

Caracal Models is an Austin, Texas based firm that offers high-quality decals and detail parts for scale modelers. Their subjects include a variety of military aircraft from post-World War II to the present. I have purchased several of their decals sets on my own, and their offerings are typically well-researched and interesting subjects not usually addressed by other manufacturers. The usual 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 scales are well represented. Shipping/mailing to US customers is free. If there is a subject that is not currently covered you would like to see done, visit their website at www.caracalmodels.com, and drop them a line via email or snail mail, and while you’re there, sign up for their email list to be notified of new issues. Ordering can be done on site via Paypal, or through various on line hobby suppliers and select local hobby shops. Those of us in Texas cough up an additional 8.25% for maintaining the Republic.

This particular sheet is a continuation of Caracal’s Air National Guard F-4 Phantom II series. The options on this decal sheet are:

  • F-4C 63-7556, Louisiana ANG (SEA camouflage)
  • F-4C 64-0726, Arkansas ANG (SEA camouflage)
  • F-4C 63-7411, Arkansas ANG (Euro1 camouflage) which was TACs oldest Phantom, and the subject of a Monogram issue with kit decals shown below for comparison
  • F-4C 64-0905, Missouri ANG (SEA camouflage)
  • F-4C 64-0780, Indiana ANG (Euro1 camouflage)
  • F-4C 63-7497, California ANG (SEA camouflage)
  • F-4C 63-7644, California ANG (Euro1 camouflage)
  • F-4C 64-0918, Texas ANG (SEA camouflage)
  • F-4C 64-0829, Texas ANG (Euro1 camouflage) which was based at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX – and the subject of this review build.

Caracal’s decals are printed in Italy by Cartograf. You can see from the comparison photos that they are far superior to the detail and clarity provided by the Monogram kit offering for the Arkansas ANG Phantom. The “TAC’s Oldest Phantom” artwork is clearly better, and the razorback in the blue diamond is exquisite. Vertical stabilizer bandings for the other subjects are crisply rendered as well. The set includes stenciling, walkway lines, and national insignia in addition to the aircraft specific markings.

I built a Monogram “high-tech” issue of the F-4C/D pulled from my considerable stash of F-4 kits, out of the box as a palette for this review. The subject is one I have wanted to add to my Phantom collection for some time, as it was based in my hometown of San Antonio, TX during the mid 1980s. The bird represented is F-4C 64-0829 from the 182nd TFS of the Texas Air National Guard.

The kit has the usual Monogram raised detailing, and I gave the build my standard treatments and finishing sequence. Once the kit was built and seams treated, I masked off the canopies and natural metal areas, and then primed with Alclad grey primed. That was followed by some pre-shading, and then I used Testors Model Master enamels for the three-color European One camo scheme applied free-hand with my Iwata Revolution airbrush. After a few days for the enamels to gas out, I applied a couple of light coats of Future to give the decals a gloss finish to apply them over.

The Caracal decals went down smoothly, and with a touch of Solvaset, nestled down into and over the surface detailing. After sealing everything with another couple of mist coats of Future, I removed the masking from the natural metal areas and shot them with various Alclad metal shades. I sealed the metal areas with some more Future, and when dry, gave the whole thing a rather liberal thinned oil wash for weathering. I removed the excess with a Turpenoid-moistened rag, and when dry, gave the whole model a couple of light coats of Testor’s Dullcote. The decals came through great, although I did experience some silvering on the walk-way line stenciling, which was entirely my fault for rushing the process. A little more solvaset and brushing in some future would have eliminated the problem.

The gear and other under-wing assemblies were added, and after some final detailing of nav lights, pitots, etc., and I was done. Although not a contest-calber effort, these decals made a mediocre kit look really good, and I am happy with the end result. It is a welcome addition to my Phantom collection.

Very highly recommended! Thanks to Caracal Models and IPMS for the review set.


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