1/144 Phabulous Phantoms

Gallery Article by S K Loh on Apr 30 2012



The F-4 Phantom is probably the most popular model kit among model kit enthusiasts.  In fact it is the most produced airplane with at grand total of 5,195 planes built and operated by several Air Forces. Depicted here are two kits in 1/144 scale. The first is the Academy kit from Korea and the second, a lesser known Mini Hobby Models kit from PRC. The interesting thing about the two kits is that the kits are identical in the number of parts, instruction sheet and even the decal sheet provided – that of USAF F-4E S/N 287 from 469th TFS under the ambit of 338th TFW operating from KRTAB between 1968 till 1972.  

I decided to built the Mini Hobby kit as the USAF version while the Academy kit will be done up as a Turkish Air Force  F-4E. The Turkish Air Force is still operating the F-4Es having embarked on a major upgrading to extend its operation till 2020. They are designated as the F-4E2020 Terminator pending the induction of the F-35 Lightning II then.

There were minor corrections needed to the kit. The gun fairing was not correctly moulded –it appeared scoop-like. I had it re-built using styrene rod. The drop tanks were position too far out. The original guide holes had to be filled and new holes drilled closer to the undercarriage. The pitot is too thick and breaks easily. I had them replaced with metal pins filed down to size. Building them in in-flight position was my preference.

I decided to paint the USAF F-4E in a wrap around SEA camo instead of the standard SEA scheme. As for the Turkish F-4E I did it in Hill Gray II scheme, a standard colour scheme adopted. I used Mr Hobby acrylic colours with a light white tint added to have better colour contrast given the size of the kits. I only scratch built two AIM-9 sidewinders for the USAF F-4E in addition to the two AIM-7 Sparrows provided in the kit although the F-4Es are fitted with 2 x two AIM-9s on each pylon. 


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I used the original supplied decals for the USAF F-4E supplemented with self-made decals like slime lights and stencils and ACC shield, 4th Air Force shield and the 388th badge to enhance it. Whereas the decals for the Turkish F-4E were mostly self-made save for the shark tooth. The Turkish F-4E was for S/N 68-0432 from 172 Filo (SQN) which was disbanded in Apr 2009.

I hope to built more F-4 Phantoms in the future. Enjoy!

S K Loh

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Photos and text © by S K Loh