Tamiya F-4 E-J EJ (early) Phantom II

by Thierry Laurent & Ben Brown

TYPE: Mc Donnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II early production (USAF)
           Mc Donnell Douglas F-4EJ Phantom II Japan Air Self Defense Force

SCALE: 1/32

COMPANY: Tamiya

KIT Number: 60310 (F-4E)/ 60314 (F-4EJ)

MOLD CREATION DATE:
1995 for C/D sprues
1997 for F-4J sprue (J))
2001 for F-4E sprues (L,M)
2004 for F-4EJ sprues (grey M, N, P)

TWEAKS LIST VERSION 1.2 (publication date: April 2005)

Compiled by Ben Brown & Thierry Laurent

The following list is intended to help modelers in improving scale accuracy of an airplane model replica. In no way is it intended to support or be offensive towards a scale model company.

As such, it is only the result of a progressive process and is in no way intended to be absolute or even comprehensive. Hence, it is intended to focus on commonly admitted discrepancies and will probably not cover some errors. It is up to the modeler to decide whether correcting the listed issues is worth the time and money he will have to invest in the quest for accuracy process.

No aftermarket correction or detail set is mentioned in this document as the availability of such items may be very variable. Hence, refer to other LSP sections to find relevant information. Moreover, aftermarket sets do not necessarily correct all listed issues. Please refer accordingly to relevant documentation.

NOTE: Both E & EJ marks are covered in the same list as visible differences between them are really minor.

1. NOTICEABLE FUSELAGE ISSUES (from front to rear)

" Intake ducts do not match intake lips. Replace entire intake with aftermarket one or use sheet plastic/two components putty to get a smooth transition. If you do not want to use a resin correction set, the best way to obtain a smooth transition is to cut the intake duct part from the fuselage and to assemble the duct with the other parts (B26-27/42-43), smooth the joints, glue the duct to the engine front and intake parts (B11-12/17-18/A1-2/C-17) and glue the assembly to the fuselage. Another option is to use FODs to hide intake issues!

" Improve vari-ramps (air splitter plates) vents (rear of parts B17/18): thin edges and add two thin internal walls. The outboard panels of the vari-ramps were moveable, and they had a panel that slid over the inboard section on the top and bottom of the ramp. Made them with very thin styrene. Also note how the inboard edge of the ramp is angled down, not straight across like every F-4 kit ever produced has. The one on the underside is straight across.

" A small drain exhaust is missing on each fuselage side (above the root of the leading edge of the wing).

" Take care to position correctly A3 part as it is smaller than the opening. Use plastic strip.

" Add the two missing small refueling lights, side by side just forward of refueling door.

" F-4E was not fitted with Ram Air Turbine (on left side of fuselage in the center of the walkway) and just had avionics placed there under a screw-down panel. Fill ram air turbine hinge lines and rescribe as straight lines.

" There is no corresponding rectangular panel opposite the RAT panel. Fill panel lines here.

" Blade of "splitter plate" on intake at base of fin is too thick.

" Small bare metal bleed air exhaust located on each fuselage side just above the engine exhaust is wrongly shaped. (very difficult to correct)

" Post that provides mounting point for fin is too tall and interferes with brace inside of fin. Remove a couple of millimeters and fin will fit much better.

" Drill an oblong hole in the indented square located up to the front titanium area on the starboard fuselage (forward of the right stabilator). This is door 62 on the full scale airframe. Add the window and arresting hook gear hydraulic oil servicing gauge and air filler valve with a yellow cap: Some plastic sprue lengths with a spare gauge decal behind an oblong transparent part will mimic this.

" Lower aft fuselage does not fit well. Area is hard to paint after stabilators are installed. It is best to remove stabs from pivot mount and install them during final assembly. Leave the semi-circular tabs attached to the stabs.

" Add missing small drain pipe under tail, between the stabilators.

" Add V shaped part behind the arresting hook end (scratchbuilt or photo etched part).

" Add missing pull rod for opening the drag chute door, under the aft fuselage, between the stabs.

" Afterburner nozzles are much too small in diameter. Replace with correct diameter resin ones or some from Revell F-4E/F-RF-4C/E kits.

" Raised panels all over fuselage are not present on most F-4s. Sand these off and scribe panel lines where edges of raised panels used to be. BTW, these are not Battle Damage Repair panels!

2. NOTICEABLE WING/WEAPONS ISSUES

" Dihedral of outer wing panels is too great: it should be 12.5 degrees.

" Remove structural reinforcement plates on wings for sixties versions as they appeared during the seventies.

" As upper wing halves have no locations on the fuselage sides and are somewhat flexible, add thick plastic spacers between wing halves to keep the wing solid.

" To avoid as much as possible to use filler between upper wing and fuselage, dry test the fit between them and add a spreader bar between both internal fuselage sides to decrease as much as possible fuselage flexibility. However take care to avoid interfering with other internal elements such as air intake ducts.

" AIM-9E Sidewinders are hybrid: front part of 1st generation but rear part and general length of 2nd generation. Two possible solutions: use aftermarket missiles or decrease height of rear wings and add 8mm to the body to obtain correct AIM-9E. F-4EJ has correct AIM-9L missiles.

" Add Sparrows exhaust.

" Add detonator wires and cross-shaped airscrew on Mk 82 bombs body (scratchbuilt or photoetched part).

" Add connector hoses on the rear part of TERs & MERs.

3. NOTICEABLE COCKPIT ISSUES

" Front cockpit weapons selector panel represents F-4C/D mark.

" Add seat belts or use aftermarket resin seats.

" Add map reading lamp in each cockpit station (a length of sprue with a coiled wire).

" Add circuit breakers, other details and insulated panels on sidewalls if you do not use an aftermarket cockpit (OOTB there is nothing except the big starboard rear circuit breaker panel).

" Add oxygen hoses, map case as well as landing gear, brakes and other missing levers if you do not use an aftermarket cockpit.

" Add details in front of rear side of upper WSO panel (many conduits and circuits wires are missing between the stations)

" Add similar wires behind the WSO station.

" Radar display appears to be too small in diameter.

" Note that in the rear cockpit, the consoles did not go all the way back to the rear bulkhead, but stop about even with the middle of the seat. Aft of these, there were shelves with the various black boxes on them. Consequently, add missing black boxes at the rear of side instrument consoles and on rear bulkheads if you do not use an aftermarket cockpit.

" Rear bulkhead of aft cockpit should be vertical.

4. NOTICEABLE CANOPY ISSUES

" Take care removing clear canopy parts from the sprue (the way they are molded makes it very easy to damage them).

" There are no canopy hooks. Use photo-etched ones.

" Add canopy knives, data cards and other details on canopy internal sides.

" There are no holes in cockpit sills (corresponding to abovementioned hooks).

" F2 and F3 canopy retraction struts are a little bit too long (1 to 2 mm)

" Add some rear-view mirrors. (Tamiya gives no mirror for the pilot, and give them inside the central section between the two cockpits for the WSO. However, F-4s generally have the mirrors mounted to the underside of each canopy)

" The "Canopy Interdictor Block" (keeps the seat from firing until the canopy has been jettisoned) wire is missing. This is a small coiled wire that goes from the right rear of the ejection seat to the rear of each canopy.

5. NOTICEABLE LANDING GEAR ISSUES

" Nose gear strut: a lot of wiring is missing as well as a rod that is probably part of the nose wheel steering system.

" Lens in nose gear door should be slightly frosted.

" "Shrink links" (the spur-like tabs) are mounted on centerline of main gear struts. They should be mounted on outboard side of strut, with a bare metal rod connecting the tip of the link with the lower part of the strut where the oleo bolts to the strut.

" Main landing gear doors rear edge should be reshaped (kit has "Navy" doors" that have a different profile above the notch in the door)

" Add hydraulic lines, wiring & linkages detail in gear bays.

" Add hydraulic lines on gear legs.

" Possibly replace landing gear tie-down rings with new ones made from brass wire.

6. OTHER NOTICEABLE ISSUES & MISCELLANEOUS REMARKS

" Upper section of front and main landing gear legs (fixing points) is simplified to ensure model rigidity. Fixing this is very difficult but fortunately the discrepancies are not really visible. Moreover, correcting it and keeping model rigidity is far from obvious.

" No landing gear down locking jack is provided.

" No centerline fuel tank.

" Detail inside the auxiliary air intakes on the belly is very simplified. Actually, the undersides of the engines need to have various pumps, pipes, and wiring added. However, this area is far from being really visible on a model.

" Throttles should be put on the full aft ("idle/cut off") position.

" Tamiya decals are good but on the thick side. Put decals between gloss coats.

" Decals do not include panel numbers. If you want to add them, use aftermarket ones (wet or dry).

" F-4E kit depicts an early sixties type (66-XXX to 69-XXX, pre-Pave Spike, TISEO, ARNIE or other later modifications). Use a resin conversion set or scratchbuild relevant modifications to build a later plane.

" F-4EJ has a transparent or grey plastic nose option.

" F-4EJ "slime" lights panels and triangular strengthening plates on horizontal stabilators are stickers to glue on fuselage and stabilators parts.

The following sources were used to build this list. The underlined ones were used to check the Japanese version.

Modelling essentials:

" Fearis, Peter, Scott, Peter, Sands, Glen, Defenders of Nippon: F-4 Phantom II, Kaburaya books, 2002.

" Coughlin, Geoff, Ashby, Neil, Modelling the F-4 Phantom II, Osprey Modelling, Osprey Publishing, 2003.

" Kinzey, Bert, F-4E& F-4G - F-4 Phantom II Part 2, Detail & Scale, Kalmbach/Squadron Signal Publications, 1993.

" Lake, Jon (editor), Mc Donnell F-4 Phantom, Spirit in the skies, Airtime Publishing, 2002.

" Peeters, Willy, F-4E Phantom II, Lock-On series N°8, Verlinden Publications, 1990.

" Mc Govern, Tim, Mc Donnell F-4E Phantom II, Aerofax Minigraph n°20, Aerofax Inc., 1987.

Scale plans and TM extracts:

" Hughes, Kris, Dranem, Walter, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Gun Nosed Phantoms, Warbird Tech Vol. 8, Specialty Press, 1997.

" - , F-4E Phantom II, Famous Airplanes of the World n° 23, Bunrin-Do, 1972.

" - , F-4 Phantom II USAF models, Famous Airplanes of the World n° 86, Bunrin-Do, 2001.

" - , F-4 Phantom II export version, Famous Airplanes of the World n° 23, Bunrin-Do, 2000.

" - , F-4 Phantom II, Koku-Fan Illustrated, 1980.

Colour pictures photofiles:

" Cupido, Joe, "Rhino" - The immortal Phantom II, Wings n°6, Windrow & Greene Publishing, 1993.

" Dorr, Robert, Phantoms forever, Osprey Colour Series, Osprey Publishing Limited, 1987.

" Dorr, Robert, Vietnam the Air War, Osprey Aerospace, Osprey Publishing Limited, 1991.

" Dorr, Robert, Vietnam MIG killers, Motorbooks publications, 1988.

" Holmes, Tony, F-4 Phantom II, Osprey Publishing Limited, 1991.

" Shaw, Robbie, F-4 Phantom - Guardian of the free world, Airlife, 1989.

" Soulaine, Daniel, Phantom Guardians - The F-4 in the Air national Guard, Osprey Aerospace, Osprey Publishing Limited, 1992.

" Thornborough, Tony, Mormillo, Frank, Wild Weasels: Elite Radar-Killers of the USAF, Osprey Colour Series, Osprey Publishing Limited, 1992.

" Wagner, Mark, Seymour Johnson, Superbase 23, Osprey Aerospace, Osprey Publishing Limited, 1991.

Other used books:

" Boyne, Walter, Phantoms in combat, Schiffer Military/Aviation History, 1994.

" Drendel, Lou, Phantom II - a pictorial history of the Mc Donnell Douglas Phantom II, Squadron Signal publications, 1977.

" Drendel, Lou, USAF Phantoms in Combat, Squadron Signal Publications, 1987.

" Scuts, Jerry, Hunting MIGs over Vietnam, Airlife Publishing, 1987.

" Thornborough, Anthony, Davies, Peter, The Phantom Story, Arms & Armour Press, 1997.

" -, Phantom - A tribute to the F-4 Phantom Combat Fighter, Classic Aircraft series N°1, Key Publishing Limited, 2004 (?).

Other references:

" Some magazines articles (more particularly from Scale Models, Tamiya magazine, Air Fan, IPMS USA & Replic)

" Some web pages (more particularly LSP and various internet walkarounds such as ARC ones)

" "F4Sforever" newsgroup old post

© Thierry Laurent & Ben Brown 2005