1/144 Academy F-4M Phantom Conversion

Gallery Article by S K Loh on Dec 13 2013



The United Kingdom bought two versions of F-4 Phantoms for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Air Force. The RAF and RN versions were given the designation F-4M and F-4K respectively, and entered service with the Phantom FG. 1 (fighter/ground attack) and Phantom FGR.2 (fighter/ground attack/reconnaissance) for their operational roles. The main difference between the British and the US Navy Phantoms were the use of the British Rolls-Royce Spey engines and British-made avionics.

Initially, the FGR.2 was used in the ground attack and reconnaissance role, primarily with RAF Germany, while 43 Squadron was formed in the air defence role using the FG.1 that had been intended for the Fleet Air Arm on the carrier HMS Eagle. The superiority of the Phantom over the English Electric Lightning in terms of both range and weapon load. Complemented with the successful introduction of the SEPECAT Jaguar in the mid-1970s most of the ground attack Phantoms in Germany were re-deployed to the UK to replace the air defence EE Lightning squadrons. 

After their changeover to the air defence role, the RAF maintained two Phantom FGR.2 squadrons at Wildenrath in West Germany. These were the 19 Squadron (from July 1976) and 92 Squadron (from 1 January 1977) both of which had previously operated Lightnings F.2As from Gutersloh. 

These Phantoms flew with the 92 Squadron until they were disbanded in January 1992.


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About the kit
I converted the Academy 1/144 kit F-4E II Phantom originally with US markings to depict one of RAF 92 Squadron FGR.2 Phantom (F-4M) in service painted with the low-vis camouflage scheme of Barley Grey/Dark Grey on the upper surfaces and Light Grey on the undersides. When it was known that they were to disband soon, their aircraft were more brightly decorated with the red fins and rudders. On the fin a large white disc was placed the Squadron badge of a yellow cobra superimposed on two red maple leaves, the latter commemorating the large number of Canadian personnel who served with the Squadron in WWI. At the top of the fin, the RWR housing bore the red/yellow checked band of the Squadron. The white letter “P” is the individual aircraft ident. All the other markings are as standard.

The original F-4E radome was cut away and in place a scratch-built radome based on the F-4M was fitted. Scratch built shortened exhausts to depict the Rolls-Royce Spey engines. Added the RWR housing and the ILS antennas on the fin. Had to scratch-build the canopy as the original was badly blistered. The usual enhancements were made to the Academy kit for a better accuracy of an F-4 Phantom.

The camo colours were mixed from Tamiya/Mr Hobby basic colours for the closest shade and airbrushed freehand. 

Decals were custom made. The Sparrow missiles were stenciled to depict the newer British-made Skyflash missiles.

Enjoy the photos.

S K Loh

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Photos and text © by S K Loh