1/48 Hasegawa F-4G 

‘Wild Weasel’

by Greg Leszczynski (lgl007)



I have always wanted to build a ‘long-nosed’ Phantom and couldn’t resist building Hasegawa’s F-4G considered, at the time of writing, to be the best 1/48 F-4G on the market.  The Hasegawa is a very good offering, certainly not perfect for those of us with ‘accuracy anality’ but with a bit of research and a bit of work the kit builds into a very nice representation.  A big BIG thank you must go out to many of the ARC members who have answered my multitude of questions related to the F-4G. 

I decided to build a late F-4G, that of the 561st FS, 57 FW after seeing the Eagle Strike decal sheet with the ‘YGTBSM’ weasel on the side of the aircraft.  The decals are a bit thick but nothing that a good base gloss coat and Micro Sol and Micro Set could not prep for… followed by 4 coats of matt to finish – to get that painted on look.  As I was unable to find any stencils for my F-4G, I had to use the stencils from the Hasegawa decal sheet as well as a few from the AirDoc decal sheet to ensure accuracy.  These are very thick so the above mentioned prep and finish become even more important.  You can save yourself the hassle and just get the AirDoc decal set which includes the decals and stencils you would need for this particular aircraft, but unfortunately I was unable to find this offering when I started the project but was fortunate enough to find what I needed just in time to complete the decaling process to ensure completeness – thanks Larry!

The project itemized:

PT9 (07209) Hasegawa 1/48 F-4G ‘Wild Weasel’

48184 Eagle Strike ‘Last Wild Weasel Phantoms’ decals

48/32006 AirDoc Gulf Warriors – US F-4s in South West Asia decals

X48-3 Hasegawa Weapons:  C – for the two AGM-88 HARM’s

48-086 Two Bob’s US Air-to-Air Missile Markings for the AIM-7M’s

48-095 AIM-120B/C and AGM-88 Missile Markings for the AGM-88’s

The build begins with the removal or various ‘humps and bumps’ on the underside of the fuselage and top of the wings.  Hasegawa included a little ‘correction’ insert, so please be sure to read this carefully so that appropriate steps are taken to ensure you don’t have to revisit such corrections at the wrong stage of the build process.

The tub assembly was next.  I don’t like using resin parts so I decided to do a lot of scratch building to ‘elaborate/enhance’ on the already very nice Hasegawa pieces, namely the ejection seats and side wall panels.  Much of this detail is extremely hard to see on the completed project but the ‘suggestion’ of a busy ‘place’ remains very evident even in final photos.  I also spent some time in making the rear of the navigator’s instrument panel looking very busy… a very distinctive and important part of any F-4 build.  The scratch-building also continued onto the ejection seats to enhance them for accuracy.  

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I decided to model this kit with the pilot and navigator in the tub but needed to get modern heads with appropriate helmets to replace the Hasegawa heads that have the old style pre-mid 80’s helmets.  Aaron, a fellow ARC member, was kind enough to mail me a couple of these from his Hasegawa F-18F kit… THANKS AARON!!!  I also had to add appropriate seat belts/harnesses to the seated pilot and navigator for accuracy.  I use very thin brass foil for such details as it is very thin, plyable, can be easily cut with scissors, and retains it shape as you bend it as any metal would.  Once painted looks the charm!  I made the mistake of putting the oxygen hoses on the outside of the pilot and navigators arms when in reality they should go under the right arm.  So I had to go back and correct this error at the very end of the build.

Once the tub was in, the fuselage halves were glued in place, and further cockpit enhancements were added.  Including further detailing of the busy panels at the rear of the pilot and navigator tub sections and enhancing the front ‘dashboard’ with more detail.

I now took the time to work on the inner main armament pylons.  Not only did I have to re-scribe them as these came with raised panel lines, but I had to correct the chaff/flare dispensers and retaining/protection plates that are absent from the kit.  This does take some time but adds to the accuracy of the model.  I also had to fill in the gaps left for the insertion of the kit’s existing weaponry - totally inaccurate for the timeframe of the F-4G I am building.  I had to then scratch-build some anti-sway braces as on the real aircraft.  I also had to get some LAU-118 missile racks (once again thanks Aaron J)… all this in preparation for the AGM-88’s I planned for the jet to carry.  See the before and after shots below.  The AGM-88 HARM’s were from the Hasegawa Weapons Set C and I used Two Bob’s fine decals to finish them off.  Likewise the AIM-7’s that were use were the ‘M’ variant and once again the Two Bob’s decals did the trick for the two mounted at the rear of the aircraft.

Next came the filling of the side plates between the fuselage and the air intake housing.  For some reason Hasegawa decided to save on the use of plastic and decided to mould these with a nice unfinished side… which unfortunately is very evident in any Hasegawa F-4 build if left uncorrected. 

Next came the ALQ.  As the ALQ provided in the kit is an old variant (ALQ-119) I needed the new ALQ-184’s to maintain accuracy of the timeframe this aircraft would represent.  I was once again fortunate to have a fellow ARC’er forward me a spare from their F-16CJ model.  The actual placement of the original ALQ is accurate for the F-4G… so I removed the mounting bracket from the original ALQ, added a bit of detail to the mount points, and remounted it onto the new ALQ-184 in the proper location.

Now came the air intakes… take some time with these as I think Hasegawa has made some big errors in design here.  The assembled air intakes with the use of instructions will leave some very evident gaps on the inside … I would highly recommend either getting resin air intakes for this kit or to at least fool the eye, take your time, and fill in the gaps to enhance the look.

The nose cone required quite a bit of sanding as there was a very evident ‘step’ when it was glued to the fuselage, and some panel lines had to be re-scribed.  I would highly recommend leaving the ‘pitot’ tube to the end of the build as it is EXTREMELY fragile and will break off several times during the build process.  I broke it off for the 4th time on the final stages of the build and decided to drill a hole and make a brand new pitot tube from a sewing needle, cut to size, sanded round, inserted, then painted appropriately.

I used my standard painting technique for the aircraft using both Gunze Sangyo Acqueous Hobby Color Acrylics and Tamiya Acrylics.  I would have used all Gunze paints but there seems to be a shortage of them in North America in the later half of 2007.  I also airbrushed on the walkways onto the jet.  I don’t like using such large and awkward decals on jets where they must lie flat on a convex surface that tapers off to the sides as well as front to back… to me that’s just a recipe for disaster even with the use of Micro Set and Sol… As you can see from the photos the airbrushed walkways look spot on.

  1. I airbrushed on the base color(s) (I used Gunze Sangyo Acrylics - Acqueous Hobby Color)...
    *        I put in about 5% Tamiya Acrylic Paint Thinner to each batch of Gunze Acrylics I airbrush on.
  2. I airbrush on clear gloss (again Gunze Acrylic) - not too heavy because I don't want to seal too many of the panel lines with too much paint;
  3. I use Citadel acrylics and mix my own panel wash (approx 80% water 18% black Citadel paint and 2% dishwashing detergent - I kinda eye this bit and add more paint if the panel lines are not coming up as vividly as I like)...
    *        I don't apply the wash too liberally in fact I try to get it in the panel lines as much as possible... let dry for 2-10 minutes then I rub of excess with paper towel (Citadel paints dry very quickly)... apply a bit of moisture to stubborn spots on the paper towel... you may need to re-apply wash if you rub it out of panel lines. The clear gloss coat ensures that the excess panel wash comes off quite nicely;
  4. Apply another thin coat of clear gloss to seal panel lines in preparation for decaling;
  5. Apply decals with Micro Set and Micro Sol;
  6. Apply matt coat (Gunze acrylics again)... actually I applied 3-4 coats.

But I let the model dry at least 24-48 hours between any coats... again I was going for the painted on look of the decals.

The landing gear was just airbrushed matt white (Tamiya) then panel washed (Citadel - as above) into crevices, then dry brushed with Citadel white.  

Overall I’m very pleased with the build and would highly recommend this kit to anyone with moderate to advanced modeling skills.  I would not recommend this kit to a beginner… as it does require quite a bit of elbow grease in terms of sanding, re-scribing of panel lines – including some awkward shaped re-scribes, and filling with both putty and plexicard.  The spine of the jet has very nasty seam that is evident when the fuselage halves are glued together where there also happen to be circular panel lines.  Once sanded round the circular panel lines are all but totally removed.  So for accuracy they need to be put back in.   

Build process and photos can be found here:  http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index.php?showtopic=132389&hl=lgl007  

Final photos can be found here:  http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index.php?showtopic=144317&hl=lgl007  

…and all my photos and other works can be found here:  http://s98.photobucket.com/albums/l249/lgl007/  

Thanks to all the ARC members who have helped me with this build and thanks for looking.  



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Photos and text © by  Greg Leszczynski