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1/32 Revell/Monogram F-4G  

(With a Little Help From Tamiya)

by John McCormick

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I had originally thought about attempting an F-4G conversion about four years ago, but I really wanted to incorporate the AGM-78 Standard missile as part of the armament (I've always thought the AGM-78 was a really cool looking missile).  Since the AGM-78 was not available in 1/32 scale at that time, and my scratch-building skills are non-existent, I put the idea on hold.  Once the Standard missile became available with the release of Trumpeter's F-105 kits, I put the F-4G project back on the front burner.
 
I chose the Revell/Monogram F-4E "Mig Killer" kit as my starting point rather than the Tamiya kit, as the Revell kit has the slatted wings and is about 1/4 of the price.  However, the Revell kit had a lot of inaccuracies that needed to be addressed before the conversion was attempted.  A comprehensive list of these shortcomings appears on the largescaleplanes.com website, and I found this to be a great help. 
 
The most glaring problem with the Revell kit is the nose profile.  In the past, I've corrected this by using putty to reshape the nose.  This time, I replaced the entire Revell nose section with the extra nose pieces that are included in Tamiya's F-4EJ kit.  This was a little tricky, as the cross sections of each kit are not entirely compatible.  However, with a little effort, I was able to get the pieces to fit together.  There is an excellent thread covering this topic on the ARC forums,  and I have included this link in my references below. 

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In addition to the nose section, I used Tamiya pieces for the intakes.  The detail on the upper and lower vents is vastly superior to the Revell kit, and using these pieces also addresses the problem of the kit intakes being too long.  Once again, the cross section of the Tamiya kit pieces did not match the Revell kit, so sheet plastic, Zap-a-Gap glue, and putty were used to smooth out the somewhat large gap that resulted in the mismatched pieces. 
 
The auxiliary air intake doors underneath the fuselage were cut open and repositioned in the open position, and the flaps were cut out and repositioned in a slightly downward angle.  The front landing gear strut was rebuilt, as the kit strut is too thin, and various panels on the fuselage were rescribed to make them more accurate.  To make the pitot tube more durable, it was replaced with one made from a guitar string.
 
The CAM F-4G set was used for the conversion.  I bought it directly from Brookhurst Hobbies, and when I read the invoice, I was pleased to see that I had received a discount.  After reviewing the pieces, I could see why.  The resin was full of air bubbles, and the piece for the tail fin tip was bent like a banana.  Additionally, the back side of the WSO instrument panel appears to be a copy of the piece included in Tamiya's F-4E kit; consequently, it is not accurate for an F-4G.  However, the imperfections were not insurmountable, and I was not too concerned about the back of the instrument panel, as it is not particularly visible on the finished kit. 
 
To complete the conversion, additional antennas for the APR-38 Radar Homing and Warning system that are visible on the nose, spine, and tail of the plane had to be constructed from scratch, as they were not included in the CAM set.
 
In addition to the CAM set, Paragon Inboard Extended slats were added, and I used the Verlinden F-4D set for the cockpit.  This set was made for Tamiya's kit, but the fit in the Revell kit was quite good, requiring minimal surgery.  Photo etch sets used on this project included Eduard F-4F interior and exterior sets along with F-4 placards.  CAM FOD covers round out the aftermarket goodies.
 

Once the basic construction was completed, the model was painted freehand using Model Master enamels.  The paint was allowed to dry for over three days, and once it had cured, Future was applied as the gloss coat.  I did not skimp on the Future, as I knew the greatest decal challenge of my modelling career awaited me. 

I purchased 2 sets of Icarus F-4E stencils from Meteor Productions for this kit (one set of white and one set of black).  These decals were simply beautiful, and I highly recommend them.  The photos in this article do not accurately represent the amount of decals that are on this kit, and the entire decal process took three weeks.  Tail numbers and US insignias are left over from some AirDoc sheets, and the "WW" tail code decals are from the Trumpeter F-105G kit.  These were graciously donated by Scott Craig from craigcentral.com (thank you Scott!).

The decals were sealed with a light coat of Future, and a water-based black wash was used to highlight the panel lines.  A final coat of Testors Dullcote was applied to dull things down.  The metallic sections on the tail were airbrushed last using Model Master Metalizers, and I used wet pieces of coffee filters as masks.

Click on images below to see larger images

  

  

  

  

Like the AGM-78 missile, the AGM-45 Shrike is from the Trumpeter F-105 kit.  The only modification I made to either missile was the addition of anti-sway plates on the Shrike launcher.  Both sets of missiles and launchers fit the kit wing pylons with no problems.  The ALQ-119 pod mounted in the front port Sparrow bay is from Trumpeter's A-10A kit, as the pod supplied with the F-4 kit is too blunt.

The project took 6 months, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I realized that I get much more enjoyment out of building a kit that requires a little bit of additional work than a "shake-and-bake" kit like Tamiya's F-16CJ.  No offense to the F-16 kit, it's just that it went together so well, it was almost boring!  This F-4G makes a fine addition to my ever growing F-4 collection.

References: 

John

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Photos and text by John McCormick

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