1/144 Academy F-4F Phantom – Black Beauty

Gallery Article by S K Loh on Mar 11 2013



Shown here is an Academy 1/144 F-4E Phantom that has been converted to depict a F-4F of the German Luftwaffe.  I was intrigued by the story behind this special colour-schemed F-4 that I decided to built one in this scale.

This F-4F belonged to the Flug Lehr Zentrum (FLZ) stationed at Hopsten Air Base Germany.  The unit was formed in 1961 as Jagdbomber Geschwader 36 and later when the F-4's lost their Air-to-Ground role it became Jagd Geschwader 72.  The unit ended as the training unit for German F-4 pilots that arrived back from their initial training in the U.S. with the Ausbildungstaffel F-4F based at Holloman in New Mexico. 

With the induction of the Eurofighter Typhoon, the F-4s in the inventory are being gradually phased out and being replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon.  The Ausbildungsstaffel F-4F was disbanded in 2004 as the need for newly trained pilots became obsolete.  As such the fate of the FLZ was set and 2005 became the final operational year with the last live firing deployment made to Deci in September that year.  Things started to wind down rapidly thereafter.  And on Thursday 15 December 2005, the Flug Lehr Zentrum F-4Fs were formally disbanded.  Together with the disbanding of FLZ, it's home base, Hopsten AB was closed down and ceased as an operational air base. 

For the official disbandment ceremony that was being held on December 15 the FLZ had painted a Phantom 37+11 in an all black color scheme with the famous unit badge painted broken under its belly with the outline of the horse alongside the air intake ending on the F-4's tail.  It took the honour of leading the fly past in the ceremony.  All was not lost as this “Black Beauty” was retained and put on permanent display at Wittmund.


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The kit was a straight forward built as there are not many parts to it.  Aside from the usual re-work on the gun fairing and the inward positioning of the drop tanks as mentioned on this Academy kit before, I scratch built the forward slats, added the pitot tube and antennas as well as the reinforced rib for the drop tanks as seen on the F-4Fs.  The slats took quite a bit of time to build and fit to size.  I tried to make it to scale as best as possible.  What took the longest time was actually the self-made decals.  I painted the fuselage and the tail a shade of pre-mix acrylic colour of Light Ghost Gray.  I did a light weathering on the gray colour.  Then I applied the decals and carefully mask and paint in the black.  I gave it a final coat of dull to give a flat finish.

I was glad it turned out alright.  I can imagine the pride the crew had on that “Phawell” flight.  Enjoy!

S K Loh

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Photos and text © by S K Loh