Euro Decals 1/72 & 1/48 F-4C & F-4E Phantoms of the 57th FIS
The 57th FIS has operated out of Iceland for decades in an air defense role. Early aircraft included the F-89 Scorpion, and the unit ended its career with the F-15 Eagle. The unit was inactivated in 1995 and replaced with regular Air Force and Air National Guard units on rotation until 2002. The most common aircraft flown by the 57th FIS was the F-4 Phantom, with the first one arriving in 1973 and serving until 1985 when they were replaced by the Eagle. During their Phantom years they flew both the F-4C and F-4E variants, with the F-4E being the more common type. The aircraft also operated in two schemes, with all of the F-4Cs and the original F-4Es being delivered in SEA camouflage before the F-4Es were repainted in ADC gray in the late 1970s.
This decal sheet provides decals for four 57th FIS Phantoms: three F-4Es and one F-4C. The options are evenly split between SEA camouflaged aircraft and ADC gray aircraft. All feature the iconic 57th FIS checkerboard in some fashion. Starting with the odd one out, we'll look at the single F-4C option first. This plane is camouflaged in SEA colors of tan, medium green, and dark green over light camouflage gray. The rudder is checkerboarded white and black, with the 57th FIS emblem on one side of the fin and the ADC emblem on the other. The decal sheet also provides the tail numbers, ejection triangles, armament box, and data block, as well as the national insignias in all four positions. The specific aircraft is 64-685, which was photographed doing a barrel roll over a Soviet Tu-95 in 1974.
The second SEA-camouflaged example is an F-4E Phantom, 66-334, from May 1978. This plane has checkerboarded intake splitters as well as a checkerboard fin cap and fin stripe. The 57th FIS knight's head emblem is on both sides of the fin, and like the F-4C, the decals provide the data block and armament panel in white, as was common at the time. This aircraft would be how the F-4Es looked right before they transitioned into the ADC gray scheme, which is the subject of the next option.
Jumping into the ADC gray examples, there are some subtle differences between them. Starting with the early example first, this is overall glossy ADC gray, with a black anti-glare panel and radome. Like the previous scheme, this one has the 57th FIS checkerboards on the fin cap and as a fin stripe, and has the 57th FIS knight's head on both sides of the fin. The national insignia is much larger than on the SEA-camouflaged Phantoms, and for this aircraft the wing insignias are the same size as the fuselage. The wing also gets large USAF markings, while the fuselage has U.S. AIR FORCE on the forward intake trunk. As an added bit of interest, this aircraft has its drop tanks fancied up as well, with large lances running down the length with 57th FIS written inside them. This aircraft is 66-300 and is from 1977.
The final option shows the Phantoms as they were right as they transitioned to the F-15C Eagle. Still in ADC gray, this aircraft is 66-370, flown by Captain Tait & Captain Diaxotopoulis in 1985. By this point the checkerboards had gotten a bit simpler, with just the fin cap having them. These later F-4Es had the fin tip RHAW antennas, and the decal sheet provides extra decals to help cover those, which is nice to see. The fuselage stars & bars are the same size as the previous F-4E, but by this time the wing insignia was much larger. The USAF and U.S. AIR FORCE markings remained the same, though. Unit markings moved as well, with the vertical fin having the TAC emblem on both sides and the 57th FIS knight's head moved to the left side air intake. The right side air intake has the Air Defense (TAC) emblem. For the intake splitter, this plane gets red, white, and blue stripes, with the Air Forces Iceland emblem over the top. Basically, whatever emblem could possibly be painted on, this plane has them.
The decals are very nicely printed with excellent register and appear to have great density (always a challenge with white decals, especially when they're going down over a dark scheme like the SEA options here). Whether you prefer 1/72 or 1/48 (or even 1/32, as I see that those are also an option), these are the go-to decals for your 57th FIS F-4 Phantom. My thanks to Fantasy Printshop for the samples.