1/32 Revell F-4F Phantom II

German Luftwaffe JG 72 "Westfalen"

Gallery Article by Carl Jarosz on Nov 6 2019



Be honest, fellow modelers: Have you ever seen photo(s) of an aircraft and fell in love with it, so much so that you had to build a replica of it? That's how I felt when I read AirDOC's "Fluglehrzentrum F-4F: JG 72," by M. Vorlander and W. Zetsche. Many of the Phantom II aircraft photos within show a three color camouflage painting that accentuated the Phantom's aesthetic features to make made a lasting impression upon me. As I was fresh out of any items related to an F-4F, I had to marshal all the following materials:

Kit: 1/32 to magnify, making the unique camouflage color pattern used clear to the unaided eye. The kit also had to satisfy the basic molded detail of the F-4F.

After market accessories, including specific unit decals, as shown in the book.  Paints for the aircraft shown in the book.

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For the kit, the 1/32 Revell kit met my basic requirement for model scale size and detail. These kits are still fairly easy to locate on Ebay and/or Amazon websites, and competitively priced. I made one alteration to the natural molded plastic: I cut around the outer flap (three sides) after gluing the halves together, and dropping them about 20-30 degrees. Trouble was, when the flap section was cut out, the sides on both flap and wing were open; no side walls. I had to break out the sheet styrene and fashion side walls (six total; three on the flap, three on the wing).

Regarding after market accessories, I knew the Revell kit had so-so cockpit seats, so after market Martin-Baker seats were purchased. The resin after market seats come with all the features (belts, buckles, etc.) in place, whereas the Revell kit required one to painstakingly assemble the seat from kit parts, and some details had to be scratch-made.

The decals caused another order from abroad: the aircraft I chose to replicate was an Improved Combat Efficiency - ICE - type, which had the "ICE" emblazoned on the vertical tail. Scouring the web allowed me to find a sheet made by Peddington. I found out quickly that the decals had to be cut to near net outline, as the film was continuous, and not local for each decal detail. ` I used Peddington decals on this model because even the stencils all around the aircraft are in GERMAN!  After all, what's the point in having a German airplane if the Luftwaffe members wouldn't be able to read or comprehend the important instructions stenciled on the flying thing?!

As for the tones of gray needed, I had a harder time: The swatches from Testor and Humbrol, the two major makers of enamel paints, had a multitude of gray shades, and only by holding the sample against the aircraft photos could I determine which shades I needed. I had to order Humbrol gray shades from Hannant's, in Great Britain. I was fortunate to find the Testor gray shade at a hobby shop about 30 miles away.

The build was fairly straightforward, following the instruction booklet steps. I added Steel Beach resin intake covers to my build, as I like the detail of that brand as well as their fit. I only had to drill a hole, cut a small length of brass wire, and attach a "Remove Before Flight" red tag to each cover.

I also included a pilot ladder; this is seen in one of the attached photos.

As for painting the assembled model, I used a hard edge between colors to reflect the photo images. Also regarding painting, I went rather heavy on the weathering of the extra fuel tanks and the underside near the exhaust nozzles: Photo and photo showed severe scuffing of the tanks, from attaching and removal from the aircraft, which requires use of a cradle with raised and angled braces, to prevent movement of the tank when transporting on the ground. The weathering consisted of airbrushing black and brown washes, as well as using Black Detailer for heavier build up on recessed crevices. I used black pastel powder and a stiff bristle brush for oil streaks on the trailing wing flaps.

On a final note, I assembled, painted a pair of sidewinder air-to-air missiles. While the missile parts came with the Revell kit, I enhanced them with after market decals.

Carl Jarosz

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Photos and text by Carl Jarosz