Cutting Edge Modelworks

1/32 & 1/48 F4H-1 Phantom II Airframe conversion sets and decals

Info by David Klaus on Dec 12 2007


"How to Create an Accurate F4H-1 Phantom II Model with the
Minimum of Fuss, Effort, and Time"

Can Join Your Collection

"The Original Phantom II Variant Has Always Been
A Lot Of Trouble To Create - Now You Can Build It
For Yourself In BOTH 1/48 And 1/32 Scales!"

Howdy fellow modeler!

If you love the Phantom, this kit is for you. Finally, there is a quick, easy, and accurate way to add a gorgeous original Phantom, the F4H-1, to your collection.

But, before we go farther, I need to make sure we're not confusing you. Actually, we all have the right to be confused, because of the US Navy's strange nomenclature system of the late 1950s and early 1960s that led to TWO significantly different Phantom configurations being named the "F4H-1."

Just so we're on the same sheet of music, we're talking about the first 45 Phantom II jets built, which had short, "pointy" noses and "flat" canopies. Those Phantoms from number 46 and on were built to F-4B standards, with much larger noses and raised canopies. Yes, they were still called F4H-1s, but the detailed explanation is far too long to describe here. A great source that can clear up this confusion (or make it worse?) can be found here and here.

Our 1/32 conversion set can be applied to either the Tamiya F-4C/D or F-4J kits. The 1/48 conversion is specifically designed to fit the Hasegawa F-4J "new tool" (engraved panel lines) kits.

Yes, our new resin conversions are HUGE sets in both 1/48 and 1/32. Just look at all the stuff you get in these conversions:

The F4H-1's characteristic "flat topped" canopy IN TWO VERSIONS!

  • One-piece complete canopy
  • Four-piece "opened" canopy
  • The parts are cast in crystal clear resin

Decals for SIXTEEN markings variations!

  • Two HUGE 8.5" x 11" decal sheets in 1/32
  • One HUGE 8.5 x 11" decal sheet in 1/48

Full markings and camouflage descriptions printed in full color on the instruction sheet

And a FREE BONUS of BlackMagic(tm) Precut Painting Masks to make your painting quick and easy

  • Two HUGE 8.5" x 11" sheets of precut masks in 1/32
  • One HUGE 8.5" x 11" sheet of precut masks in 1/48

New "pointy" nose

The ORIGINAL "S" shaped engine air intakes* - SEAMLESS! (including new splitter plates)

New "flat" wing tops

The ORIGINAL perforated wing spoilers* with UNDERSIDE stiffener detail AND detailed bays!

Narrow main wheels

Flat landing gear doors & flaps


Want to check out the SIXTEEN markings schemes included on the HUGE decal sheets (did I mention the decals are HUGE)? Click any of the images below to see a larger version of what you'll get in these super sets!

Click on images below to see larger images




OK, what bits (OK, BIG bits) do we give you to convert your Tamiya (1/32) and Hasegawa (1/48) F-4 kits back to the earliest Phantom II? Hold on to your hat, because these sets are gargantuan (check out the one foot (12") ruler shown in each photo to get a feel for the size of each set)

If the ruler doesn't do it for you, let me tell you how I had to take the photos below. The dark blue paper behind the parts is 30" x 40", and it's laying on top of a white-topped banquet table that's 36" wide and six feet long. I had to stand on a ladder to shoot straight down on the parts, and still there's a little "fisheye" in the photo. These sets are BIG.

Click on images below to see larger images


As you can see, these sets are MAJOR airframe conversions for the 1/32 Tamiya F-4C/D (or F-4J; see below), and the 1/48 Hasegawa F-4J "new tool" kit with engraved panel lines.

Notes on the Airframe Conversion Parts

(1/32 parts are described, but the 1/48 parts are similar, only they fit the Hasegawa kit)

Click on image below to see larger image

We're especially proud of the clear canopies we've included in these sets. I had samples of the cast canopies with me during my very short visit to the IPMS-USA national convention last year, and a handful of people were able to see the parts. I apologize for not recalling everyone who was in the gaggle when I was showing them off, but I specifically recall Dr. Frank Mitchell and Ed Kinney as being two of them. I'm certain Frank and Ed will verify the quality of the castings--folks remarked that they were better than most injection molded kit canopies!

You're probably already aware of our very popular 1/32 F-4B/N Airframe Conversion sets that we released a couple of months ago. You might be asking, "What's the difference between those sets and this F4H-1 set?" Well, plenty!

I'll discuss this in more detail below, but in a nutshell, the nose is completely different, the canopy is completely different, the "flat" wing tops do NOT include the bulged stiffener over the main landing gear attachment points (neither did the early F-4Bs, but that's a different story), the intakes were quite different on the first few aircraft, and the spoilers were perforated on the first few aircraft.

Let's step through some of these characteristics.

Order the 1/32 scale F4H-1 Conversion here.
Order the 1/48 scale F4H-1 Conversion

The "Flat" Wing

As you already know, the wings of the F4H-1, like the F-4B/N, were "flat" because of the thin main landing gear tires. From the F-4C--on (as modeled in all versions of the 1/32 Tamiya F-4 kits), the wider MLG tires required a substantial bulge in both the top and bottom surfaces of the wings to accommodate the larger tires. The underside bulges extend across the lower wing surface and continue onto the main landing gear doors and the speed brakes.

Your Cutting Edge F4H-1 Airframe Conversion Set includes completely new cast resin inboard top wings. These are not merely Tamiya parts with the bulge removed, but completely new wing tops that we created to precisely fit the Tamiya lower wing part.

This is both good news and not good news (see below). To prevent shrinkage on such large parts, we have had to implement special (and time-consuming, and expensive) processes and procedures to ensure you receive a resin wing part that fits right every time. We've worked very hard to make this work right for you, and frankly, we're pretty proud of the results.

Our conversion set also provides you with detailed, "flat" doors for the MLG and speed brakes, and "flat" resin insert parts for the most difficult bulged areas of the bottom wing itself. You can see from the photo below that these are straightforward to install, as you cut along existing Tamiya panel lines.

Note, however, there is only a small bulged area of the lower wing just aft and inboard of the speed brake well on each side that we do NOT provide a replacement part for (see the hatched area in the photo above). Why? It's not very "humped" to begin with and I decided it was actually less work for you to sand this area flat than cut it out and replace it with a resin insert. Again, this is the "hatched" area in the photo.

I have confidence in your ability to handle this small area on your own. We've taken care of the major problem areas; you are well able to fix this one small area yourself.

The Thin Wheels

We all know the F4H-1, again like the F-4B/N, had much thinner main wheel tires than all subsequent Phantoms. Yes, we've given you these wheel units, and also included separate resin nose wheels (in the 1/32 conversion only) since many of you do not like to use vinyl model tires.

I am very lucky to have a McDonnell Douglas technical document (thanks to Dave Rider) giving exact tire sizes for the various Phantom versions. Do you think we used it to get our F4H-1 tires the correct size? Duh!


  • "Pointy" nose (with separate IR fairing)
  • Fuselage/wing attachment fillers
  • "Flat" canopy (open AND closed)
  • "S" shaped intakes and fixed splitter plates
  • Long nose pitot tube
  • "Navy" style nose landing gear door
  • Plain fin cap

Click on image below to see larger image

"Pointy" Nose With Separate IR Fairing

The surefire method of identifying a F4H-1 in photos is by the short, "pointy" nose. This was very similar in shape to the F3H Demon, and wasn't changed until partway through F4H-1 production (the various designations given to the early F4H-1s can be very confusing and are outside the scope of this letter; for an excellent discussion click here and here).

This early nose housed the 24" APQ-50 (or APQ-72) radar dish. This smaller nose was fitted to the Block 1 and Block 2 F4H-1s. The larger nose (typical from the F-4B and on) containing the larger APQ-72 radar, with its 32" dish, was fitted to Block 3 jets starting with BuNo 146817, which also had the higher canopy. In fact, without seeing the BuNo data block, it can be difficult to distinguish between Block 2 F4H-1s and the later F-4B.

We give you this short nose, along with a very long nose pitot, the IR fairing later fitted to some aircraft, and some small adapters that fit the new nose to the Tamiya fuselage/wing. Note the cast nose has the original NACA style air conditioning intakes as on the first two aircraft (142259 and 142260); on subsequent jets an external intake was fitted. This external intake was somewhat similar to the one fitted to the F-4B and later and is also provided in your conversion set.

"Flat" Canopy (Open AND Closed)

As I mentioned above, we're extraordinarily proud of the clear canopies we're giving you in these sets. Yes, I said "canopies," as in more than one canopy!

The second most obvious identification point for the F4H-1 is the "flat" canopy, which was much lower than the one fitted to the F-4B and on. Now, I know you probably build you models "canopy open," as do I. However...when the F4H-1 canopy is open, it's not so obvious that the canopy itself is considerably different from the later Phantom canopy.

So, you might prefer to model this particular jet with the canopy closed to draw attention its unusual shape. Do you know how hard it is, even with injection molded kit canopies, to make a clean "closed" canopy from separate canopy parts? Do you know how much a pain in the (you know) it is to cut apart a "closed" canopy so you can display it open? I do! That's why I'm giving you BOTH versions!

Click on image below to see larger image

"S" Shaped Intakes And Splitter Plates

The first seven F4H-1s (all Block 1 aircraft) were produced with a beautiful "S" shaped lip to the engine air intakes. In fact, this intake is a surefire identification point for these first seven jets. Actually, all of these aircraft were later fitted with the "standard" Phantom intakes as seen on every other version of the jet, but for a while, they sported truly elegant intakes.

We've provided you with these intakes--and of course they are SEAMLESS! It's almost a shame to build one of the later jets, or one of the retrofitted early planes, because these intakes are so distinctive. But, there were some really pretty later schemes, and I suspect you'll have difficulty deciding exactly which one to do!

If you decided to build a variant with the "standard" Phantom intakes, Cutting Edge has produced a wonderful set of seamless intakes cast in white resin. They are available separately in set CEC32183. Click here to see and order them.

Click on images below to see larger images




Early Perforated Spoilers & Bays

One of the coolest features of our new sets is the etched metal perforated spoilers as fitted to the first seven Phantoms built (Block 1). It's pretty easy to miss the fact that all Phantoms had spoilers near the outboard edge of the wing just forward of the flaps. On aircraft #8 through the end of Phantom production these spoilers were solid, they were perforated on the first seven.

I'd seen these perforated spoilers in photos for years, but I'd always assumed they were "scab on" additions similar to the spoilers on the F3H Demon. Not so.

I'm lucky enough to live about 15 minutes from the US Marine Corps Air-Ground Museum (now called the National Museum of the Marine Corps) located in Quantico, Virginia. They have the number three F4H-1 (BuNo 143388) in their collection, although after decades of outside storage the aircraft is in truly terrible condition.

Anyway, I was able to photograph and measure the perforated spoilers on that bird a couple of years ago. This spoiler assembly is essentially exactly as on later Phantoms, but with a perforated aerodynamic plate. I was able to precisely measure each of the holes and their exact locations, so our etched metal parts are true scale!

The three pieces that make up each spoiler and bay give multiple levels of bas-relief regardless of whether you model them stowed (down) or raised. Frankly, I think you'll find them too cool to glue on in the down position!

Order the 1/32 scale F4H-1 Conversion here.
Order the 1/48 scale F4H-1 Conversion

Special FREE bonus
included with the Cutting Edge F4H-1 Airframe
Basic Conversion Set!

(1/32 only; not required for the 1/48 Hasegawa F-4 kit!)

  • Rear fuselage vents above nozzles

Another part I'm throwing in as a Special FREE BONUS with this basic conversion set, since they are NOT purely and specifically part of the F4H-1 conversion, corrects the small vent on each side just above the exhaust nozzles. Please note that these vents need to be corrected on ALL Tamiya F-4 kits, regardless of the version.

We've known from the first day the Tamiya kit hit the street that these vents were the wrong size, shape, angle, and location. Interestingly, Revell got the size, angle, and shape right on in their 1/32 F-4 series, and was off the correct location by only about three scale inches, which is no big deal (if you're building a Revell kit, of course, which has other problems).

Click on images below to see larger images


We've corrected these vent panels for the Tamiya kit and are providing you as a Special FREE BONUS with new, triangular resin inserts that fit along existing panel lines in the Tamiya kit. Here's a photo that shows one of the panels in place (along with the rear fuselage extension parts needed only when you start from the F-4J and included in set CEC32187).

At this point, we do NOT plan to release these small but important parts as a separate set.


  • Catapult hooks and bays (for the Tamiya F-4C/D basis kit)
  • Rear lower wing/fuselage extensions for the J79-GE-8 nozzles

The Tamiya F-4J lower wing and rear fuselage is designed to accept the later, larger-diameter J79-GE-10 engine nozzles, so to properly fit the earlier J79-GE-2 nozzles you'll need to extend the lower wing and fuselage sides in this area.

No big deal. Our resin parts easily and quickly solve this problem. You don't even have to make any cuts on the fuselage, although you've got four simple cuts along existing panel lines on the lower wing part.

Luckily, all the wing conversion parts we give you in this set are extremely easy to build, and in fact are direct replacements for existing kit parts.


  • Unslotted stabilators without reinforcing plates
  • Drag chute door
  • Nose gear main door & clear resin lights

Most of these fuselage conversion parts are extremely easy to build, and as with the wing conversion parts, are direct replacements for existing kit parts.

The only difficult conversion parts, and they're only moderately difficult, are the Slotted Stabilators. As originally built, up through Block 25, the F-4B had Unslotted Stabilators, and these are included in the Tamiya F-4C/D kit and may be used as-is (except for removing the stiffener and battle damage repair plates). Note that Block 26 and higher F-4Bs left the factory with Slotted Stabilators.

However, late in its service life nearly all Block 25 and earlier F-4Bs received Slotted Stabilators to significantly reduce landing approach speeds-a very important issue during carrier landings. All F-4Ns had the Slotted Stabilators (as did, of course, all F-4Js).

If you're starting from the Tamiya F-4J kit with the slotted stabilators, you'll need to remove the existing Tamiya kit stabilators from their mounting/rotation structure and glue the Unslotted Stabilators in their place. (BTW, I recommend you use 5-Minute Epoxy for this procedure rather than superglue).

"The Issue Of The
F4H-1/F-4B/C/D/N Engine Nozzles"

We've recently released a separate set of superdetailed J79-GE-8 (similar to J79-GE-2) engine nozzles for the F4H-1, F-4B, F-4C, F-4D, and F-4N. As noted, we have not included these nozzles in our F4H-1 conversion set because nearly all of you who responded to our F-4 survey told us you didn't want to buy any more parts than you actually need to build your model from whichever Tamiya F-4 kit you choose to use as the basis of your conversion.

CEC32189 F4H-1/F-4B/F-4C/F-4D/F-4N Super Detailed Exhausts for Tamiya F-4C/D (and Cutting Edge F-4B/N conversion). This set includes a FREE BONUS! Although not technically part of the engine exhaust nozzle apparatus, I'm throwing in a SPECIAL FREE BONUS! We've known from the first day the Tamiya kit hit the street that the small vents on each side just above the exhaust nozzle were the wrong size, shape, angle, and location. Well, we've corrected these vent panels for the Tamiya kit and are providing you as a SPECIAL FREE BONUS with new, triangular resin inserts that fit along existing panel lines in the Tamiya kit. Please note that these vents need to be corrected on ALL Tamiya F-4s.

And, before my fellow 1/48 guys bite my head off, YES, our 1/48 F4H-1 conversion for the Hasegawa "late" (engraved panel lines) F-4J kit has all the parts necessary to convert that kit into a prize-winning early Phantom! I've focused on the 1/32 kit above because it would have taken too long and been to confusing to jump back and forth between the two scales. The parts layout photo near the beginning of this letter shows you all the parts you'll be receiving when you order your 1/48 set.

To recap, the set numbers are CEC32177 for 1/32 scale and CEC48494 for 1/48 scale. Click either o the photos below to jump to the ordering page for that set.

CEC32177 Parts Layout CEC48494 Parts Layout

Man, I LOVE this hobby!

Dave's Signature
Meteor Productions, Inc.


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Photos and text by David Klaus