1/144 MiniHobby F-4S Phantom

Gallery Article by S K Loh on Nov 27 2015



This is a MiniHobby Models kit depicting a US Navy F-4S Phantom (some ARCers have associated this brand to Trumpeter). The box art was quite badly done with the obvious typo error and the background scene was inverted as seen from the inverted trees. The paint guide showed an F-4S while the assembly guide depicted and F-4E, all found squeezed on the back of the box.

Upon opening the box, the mould was that of an F-4E quite similar to Revell and Academy kits of the same scale. The decals were those for an F-4S Navy bird though. I decided to build it as an F-4S Navy bird and did my search for details. Found out that the colour scheme was that of the Heather-Ferris scheme adopted by the US Navy in the 1980s. To make this kit into what looked like and US Navy F-4S massive work have to be done on it.

The details are as follows:-

  • Cut away the F-4E nose and re-build the nose for an F-4S

  • Scratch-built the slats, external antenna, RHAN and ECM sensors on the intake sides and undersides, add the missing fuel dump, centerline tank as well as the air pressure and pitot tubes on the tail fin leading edge.

  • Extensive filling of gaps on the wing root and undercarriage doors area. Sanding down the tail fin and stabilisers as they were too thick. 

  • Scribing panel lines to enhance its look.

  • Re-shape and enhance the weapon pylons and added scratch-built AIM-9.

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I created my own mix of the 4-tone Gray shades using Tamiya/Mr Hobby basic colours for the best match. Applied them using an airbrush. Instead of using the Mr Hobby silver for the metal area of exhaust and stabs I decided to burnished Mr Metal Color aluminium on it. I was pleasantly surprised by the finish and I buffed it into shades of shine. I applied a coat of gloss prior to decal placement.

I found to my dismay that the decals were not of the correct size though the quality looked good. I searched and created the decals for a VF-301 F-4S BuNo155749 instead. There were several versions of markings and I opted for one carried in 1984. Applied two coats of gloss and a final coat of flat after some light weathering.

I am quite happy with the final look of the completed kit. It was indeed challenging for me. 

Hope you enjoy the photos. Happy modeling ARCers!

S K Loh

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Photos and text by S K Loh