On 10 May 1972, F-4J BuNo 155749, assigned to VF-96 on board USS Constellation was on an escort mission during the height of the Vietnam War when they engaged the VPAF
MiGs. It was flown by LT Steve C Shoemaker with RIO Lt(jg) Keith Crenshaw. It's callsign was "Showtime 111". The Phantoms from VF-96 had a field day that day, particularly F-4J Bu No 155800 flown by Lt Cunningham "Showtime 100" that numerous kits of this bird were produced and built by
These days 1/144 kits are scarce. I have only the Academy F-4E Phantom (relatively easily available from my LHS here) as my base kit to build and modify. The modifications were done using scratch-built parts to depict a F-4J Phantom variant. Besides incorporating the various external sensors and the radome change I had to scratch-built4 x AIM9 Sidewinders and another 2 x AIM 7 Sparrows as the kit comes with a standard 2 x AIM 7
I learnt that BuNo 155749 had quite an illustrious service life serving in many Navy/Marine units till its final fate in NAS Point Mugu when it crashed on 20 Apr 2002. I found some info on BuNo 155749 in transition being upgraded to F-42 while serving with VFMA-235 USMC. This will be one to-build item if not the next. I hope to find more info and pictures of BuNo 155749 in various schemes and units with AC codes to expand on the list. Perhaps some of you ARCers may have them.
S K Loh
Photos and text © by S K Loh