Platz 1/44 F-4E Phantom II “U.S. Air Force”
By Matt Bittner
The history of the Phantom is so vast I won't go into any sort of history of the type, instead concentrating on the kit. A few years ago Platz/F-Toys released a 1/144 F-4EJ that unfortunately had some shape issues and was a pretty simple kit. Thankfully Platz has re-molded their kit resulting in this release, a most welcome addition to the world of 1/144 Phantoms.
The new Platz 1/144 F-4E consists of 57 pieces of gray, injected plastic and one injected canopy. There are parts on the sprue that aren't used for this release like horizontal tail pieces with the arrow-shaped reinforcement plates. Because this is meant for the "gashapon", Japanese market, parts attachment areas are quite large including the canopy so some refinement may be in order. But even so, this is a very nice kit that finally gets around the shape issues of the earlier release (like the shape of the nose, etc.). Plus, not just because the parts count is higher, but the parts are molded finer than the first release making it a more "too-scale" kit (aside from the large attachment points).
Oh, and you receive two kits in a box.
Construction, naturally, starts with the cockpit and out-of-the-box it's a really nice office. It consists of a one-piece floor for both the pilot and the RWO to which is attached bulkheads behind each ejection seat, an ejection seat for both pilots and instrument panels for both as well. In addition, Platz provides two really nicely-molded pilot figures so if you want to display your cockpit "populated" you'll be able to. What isn't included is any type of control stick, nothing a piece of round sprue couldn't alleviate. (Maybe we'll see someone like RetrokiT come out with some sort of resin for this kit.)
Now that the cockpit is finished it is added to one fuselage half along with a piece that is fitted to the inside, between both exhausts. Once those are added then the fuselage halves can be glued together (or not – the attachment points are meant so the kit can just be assembled like a "snap-tite" kit, although I will use glue, regardless). This instruction step is finished by adding the two-piece intakes (for each side) and the nose cone. The next step in the instructions have you add the one-piece wing, and exhaust cans (which would best be left off until the end so they can be painted separately).
You will need to make a decision as the model can be displayed gear up or gear down. If building the model gear up then add the closed wheel well covers and proceed, otherwise I would wait and add the landing gear (and whatever external stores you decide upon) after painting. If you decide to leave off any of the supplied external stores (sidewinders with pylons and wing fuel tanks) then you'll need to fill in the holes on the wings' underside as Platz supplies the kit with all "holes open". The kit also comes with Sparrow missiles for the recessed areas under the fuselage.
Decals are really nicely done – printed by Cartograf – and are for three aircraft:
- F-4E of the 34th TFS, s/n 70-0269, finished in SEA camo
- F-4E of the 421st TFS, s/n 69-0336, also finished in SEA camo
- YF-4E of the 6512th TS, s/n 65-0713, which is mainly a test aircraft in overall white with plenty of red
We finally have a really nice and mostly mainstream 1/144 F-4E provided by Platz. It will look great once built and here's hoping we see lots of aftermarket for it, like resin from RetrokiT and decals from JBr Decals. Heck, even a replacement canopy by Brengun would be an excellent addition as well.
Plenty of thanks sent to Platz for sending this to review.