1/48 Monogram EF-4C Phantom

Gallery Article by Ramon R. Lomeli on Mar 6 2014

 

 

Hello ARC!  I present my Monogram/Revell F-4C Phantom, converted to EF-4C configuration with some scratch built parts and decals from TwoBobs.  I wanted to portray a jet deployed in support of air operations over Vietnam.

 

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Starting with Monogram's (now Revell) 1/48 scale F-4C Phantom model, I built it initially as per instructions, adding and modifying as I went along.  First off, I wasn't happy with the big step between the pieces where the burner cans met the fuselage, so I took my Dremel and ground down the plastic inside the fuselage.   That helped but the cans themselves still had a bit of a step between the exhaust petals and the mounting ring, so I cut out a strip of sheet plastic and wrapped it around the forward outer portion of the burner cans to make it a bit more level with the aft fuselage.  I also didn't like that there was no detail inside the cans where the burner ring should be, so I cut off the inside bit of plastic and attached some J-79 burner rings from my spares box.

Next, I had to back-date the stabilators.  Out of the box, they come with an arrowhead-shaped structural reinforcement plate molded on where the heat-resistant unpainted portion meets the painted outer portion.  This modification was added on to the aircraft in the late 70's and I wanted to depict a bird from the late 60's/early 70's so it had to go.  I very carefully shaved it off using a brand new #11 blade, being careful to preserve as much of the raised surface detail (and my fingers) as possible, and re-scribing the rest after sanding and polishing it smooth enough to not leave too many visible scratches in preparation for a bare metal treatment

After making those modifications it was time for some scratch-building to actually make it a Wild Weasel Phantom.  I started off with some easy confidence builders - I cut out 4 diamond shaped bits of sheet plastic to represent the 4 ER-142/ALR-53 homing antennas mounted around the nose cone just aft of the radome.  Next I cut out a pair of square shapes and attached them to the intakes just above the wing root to represent the ER-142/ALR-53 direction finding antenna blister.  After that, I had to get a bit more industrious.  In order to finish off the blister antennas on the intakes, I had to make a tapered cylindrical shape somehow.  Somebody somewhere on the ARC forums (apologies for not remembering who) had the brilliant idea of chucking a bit of sprue in a Dremel and using it as a lathe so I did just that, shaping the plastic into a tapered hockey puck.  Using the same technique I made the AN/APR-25 blister antennas, carving out a half-sphere with a donut shaped base.  This took a few tries as the pieces are really small in this scale and would break off and go flying if I didn't cut it correctly (wear eye protection!).  When I had 4 consistently shaped pieces, I managed to attach them to the intakes, IR nose fairing and parachute housing without too much trouble, despite having pudgy hot dogs for fingers!

Finally, it was time to build the strike camera that was mounted in the forward left missile well.  This was actually simpler than I thought it would be. Using the little strike camera that came with the kit as a base, I cut out sheet plastic sides to extend it to the length of the entire missile well and shaved, sanded and puttied it into place.  Once all that was done, it was finally time to apply the finish.

Paints used were Model Master enamels, and weathering was done with water colors and weathering powders. For the bare metal section in the back of the plane I used Model Master Metalizers shot through my airbrush and weathered with pastels and powders in various layers, then scrubbed with a used dryer fabric softener sheet. I applied the same treatment to the stabilators in the attempt to make them look heat stressed and weathered. I also used water colors and weathering powders to make the underside look grungy and dirty, and after the decals were applied I went back and post shaded the upper surfaces of the aircraft with lighter shades of the camouflage colors to make it look like it has been out in the sun for a while. Lastly, I used some AGM-45s from the Hasegawa weapons set and the ECM pod and Sparrows came with the kit.

After it was all said and done, finishing this project was a real wrestling match. Lots of errors and re-do's and moments of clumsiness to overcome, but I think I managed to channel my inner Bob Ross and pull it off, provided you don't look TOO closely. I want to thank the ARC community and forums for the research. I think I read every article and thread regarding the EF-4C out there, and hopefully I interpreted the data correctly! I also want to thank my friend Larry Quintana for taking the photos - thanks Larry, and Thank You For Your Service!

Cheers! 

Ramon R. Lomeli

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Photos and text by Ramon R. Lomeli