McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II, Part 1
Zoukei-Mura first showed this kit at the 2015 IPMS Nationals and again this year in Columbia. Well, the kit has finally arrived and its beautiful. Many might have been a little skeptical with the other kits but it’s a Phantom and one of the most iconic planes made so a new kit is always welcome. In this part, we’ll look at what’s in the box and then get some parts built and painted starting with the cockpit.
In the box, the molding is excellent with engraved panel lines and rivet detail. The upper fuselage is split in the middle and has a separate insert to cover the spine (indicating more versions are coming too!). The bottom is one piece and has the same excellent engraving. The one thing that really grabbed my attention is the depth of the sprues. Most of us are used to flat sprues which limit the depth of the part being molded and creates extra parts. Parts like exhausts are usually made of multiple parts. Not Zoukei-Mura! The exhausts are a single piece. The slats are one single piece instead of the usual two pieces. The horizontal stabs are molded at an angle to give the tab the correct angle to the fuselage. Wow!
Other notable things in the box:
- External stores include four AIM-7E Sparrows; four AIM-9D/G Sidewinder; two 370 gallon external tanks and one 600-gallon centerline tank
- Two separate canopies- one for closed and multiple parts for open.
- Full intake ducting and engines which also allows the bottom air doors to be open and have something on the inside.
- One set of decals for F-4J, 155800, VF-96, NG/100, USS Constellation, 1972, CAG (Showtime 100)
Another quick note it the quality of the molding and detail. As you will see in the cockpit below, the stick, throttle and all the levers are separate pieces with raised detail on the instrument panels.
Assembly starts with the cockpit and you have an option here to use decals to replicate the side and instrument panels. After looking at the very high quality of the detail, I elected to skip the decals and paint all the parts. The fit is superb. A little paint and wash and the cockpit is done. Note that the front landing gear bay is the bottom part of the cockpit and that is built at the same time. This also has great detail. Once done, you place the cockpit sill on the top and glue it into place. This slides directly into the fuselage side. I did a little trimming the fit is perfect.
Once glued into one side, it was time to close the upper fuselage. Please be careful of the pitot tubes in the tail. Also, a note here. Read the instructions, they were written by people who understand building models and include a lot of relevant notes and tips. The sides glued right into place and I added a couple strips of tape to allow the glue time to set completely. Note that the top of the spine is a separate insert covering he majority of the seam.
This kit is fantastic. Fit and accuracy are the best I have seen in a while and the subject matter is great. In Part 2, we’ll get the airframe assembled and go from there. My thanks to the wonderful people at Zoukei-Mura for the opportunity to review the kit.