F-4J Rockin Rhino

Published on
November 8, 2017
Review Author(s)
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Company: Eduard - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Eduard - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

Short History

The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor aircraft/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy.

Proving highly adaptable, it was also adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force, and by the mid-1960s had become a major part of their respective air wings.

The Phantom is a large fighter with a top speed of over Mach 2.2. It can carry more than 18,000 pounds (8,400 kg) of weapons on nine external hardpoints, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and various bombs.

The F-4, like other interceptors of its time, was designed without an internal cannon. Later models incorporated an M61 Vulcan rotary cannon. Beginning in 1959, it set 15 world records for in-flight performance, including an absolute speed record, and an absolute altitude record.

What’s in the Box?

The kit has 15 sprues molded in light grey plastic with light but crisp engraved panel lines and excellent rivet detail of the Academy Branded F-4 Series, 20 resin pieces from Eduard’s Brassin line and 1 clear sprue tree with 16 parts to bring the total count to 500 pieces.

There 2 sheets of photoetch which include cockpit and gunsight detail and another fret for engine detail, a small acetate film sheet for the gunsight and last but not least Eduard masking set for the canopy and wheels.


Furball has partnered with Eduard to bring you five beautifully chosen decal options for your phantom and all required stencil data printed by nonother then the respected cartograph company which means quality. I used only micro sol and micro set after clearing the model with Testors Glosscote, I experienced no silvering at all.

The aircraft I chose to model was F-4J 153882 of the Silver Kings, a CAG aircraft on the USS Constellation and flown by Captain Paul McCarthy. Honestly, it was that giant yellowtail and huge Black Ace of Spade that caught my eye, lol.

The Build Interior/Exterior

This is a relatively simple build so don’t let the parts count scare you. The aircraft's fuselage is molded as one solid piece. The build has you start with assembling the tub which is typical of 90% of aircraft and making all necessary modifications to accept the colored photo etch and the resin ejector seats remember care and safety when removing these things off the pour stubs and also getting a nice straight cut to minimize seat unevenness and wobbling.

The cockpit was very straightforward and pain-free, Eduard does a great job with a full-color instruction sheet which covers about 14 steps covering 9 out of the 20 pages. Moving on from the cockpit you move on to the front wheel bay which is also part of the cockpit instruction and the left and right wheel bay.

For those of you who have not built an Academy Phantom before the landing gear must be attached prior unless you want to put a couple hours into modifying them as I had to so they would fit. After the wheel bays are built and landing gear attached you will begin construction of the engines and intakes using either the kit provided plastic components or the included Brassin engine pieces with the matching PE, I chose to use the resin set and pe and was very pleased with the quality and night and day difference in detail compared to the plastic pieces.

Next on the list is the mating of the upper and lower fuselage halves and fitting of the outer intake covers, another tricky part honestly due to the cockpit tub/wheel bay having to be lined up perfectly and reinforced to ensure proper alignment, the second potential headache can be the intake covers which I had to use a little bit of putty on both sides, I use deluxe materials perfect plastic putty due to ease of cleanup and the stuff is just phenomenal IMHO!

After everything is mated together and had some adequate drying time it was time to move on to the flap, landing gear doors, speed brakes and rear tail fins. I decided to build the phantom with just the drop tanks installed and canopies closed, the main reason behind the canopy being closed after all that hard work in the cockpit was the RIO’s seat I accidentally snagged the PE canopy frame and kinked it and had to remove it, so no fault on the kit but clumsiness on myself.

Overall the build was very flawless and enjoyable, no real complaints outside of the cockpit/front wheel bay alignment debacle which I worked through, I’d for sure build another one of these babies!


I chose to stick to Model Master enamels for the bulk of finishing this phantom and minimal use of Tamiya acrylics. I used Alclad II on the engines and for the most part was satisfied however I’d love to one day get that burned metal look just perfect!

To get the tail the yellow I liked I first applied Model Master gloss white followed by several coats of Model Master Chrome Yellow. Flat gull gray was used on the top of the aircraft while using flat white on the bottom.

I used Model Master flat black on the edges and wheels and when all was said and done used Testor’s Glosscote to seal her up and begin decaling operations. As I stated earlier I did not have to use anything outside of warm water and Micro Sol and Set combo, the Furball decals performed flawlessly and I had zero silvering at all!

After letting my phantom dry for a day, I came back and did some weathering using a wash of raw umber with a smidge of black to give it a dirty and grimy look one would expect to see of an aircraft participating in the Vietnam war with the dirt, moisture and heat/humidity combo beating on the planes.


It’s great to see this Academy boxing ripe with pickings from Eduard’s usual treatment, making for a totally fun and enjoyable build. My thanks to IPMS, Dave Morrissette and Dick Montgomery for having the patience and understanding that was shown to me as I battled some reoccurring health problems that made this take longer than desired, and Eduard for the opportunity to enjoy their product.


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