The concept of the "Wild Weasel" was first developed during the Vietnam War when US Air Force was having its butt handed to it on a platter by the Soviet-supplied SAM missiles clustered around the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The Air Force developed a doctrine called the "Wild Weasel" using specialized aircraft with special anti-radar electronics and missiles (predominantly the Shrike or AMG-78 ARM Air-to-Ground missiles). The Wild Weasels would precede large scale "Rolling Thunder" strikes, dentify SAM batteries and destroy their radar directors. Then aircraft dropping conventional cluster bombs would be used to take out the missiles, launchers and crews.
The most-famous airframe for the Wild Weasel was a modified F-4E Phantom II that was fitted with special electronics, a modified rear cockpit array, and then reclassified as the F-4G. The F-4G served on long after the end of that war in Southeast Asia, right up through Operation Desert Storm and 1995 when the USAF retired the Phantom II from active service.
Revell has recently released an F-4G kit in 1/32nd scale (reviewed here
on Aeroscale). After-market manufacturer GT Resin
has followed with a series of upgrades for the kit, including its outer electronics
, and now a complete and highly-detailed upgrade for its cockpit.
Inside GT Resin
's signature non-nondescript white cardboard box are four Ziploc bags containing 33 mostly-gray resin parts, including one hull tub and 2 Marin-Baker Mk. 7 ejection seats.
has established itself as a rising force in after-market upgrades and conversions for a variety of airframes, but they are particularly well-known for their Phantom II offerings. I have already reviewed several items, and the consistent qualities of their products are crisp molding, extensive detail and good fit in the original kit (obtained by trial-and-error test fittings with the kits themselves).
One of my complaints with most jet cockpits, especially for the Phantom II, is the lack of side-wall detailing. Modern jets are loaded with computers, control machinery and electronics, and this is especially true with the F-4. Not all of this detail will be visible once the model is finished, but upgrades that leave it out mean the build is incomplete, or the modeler has to scratch-build the missing components.
The kit cockpit is also greatly simplified, so it's not a good representation of the Wild Weasel at all. This upgrade offers modelers a solution to the simplified Revell kit 'pit. It doesn't lack foot pedals, though you may want to get the Eduard F-4E PE sets to add things like the canopy locking machinery. Super-detailers may want to go one step further and add electrical lines and tubes like the oxygen hoses. Given the Wild Weasel's frame-less canopies in the Revell kit, adding this set would seem to be a no-brainer.
The build works from a tub upwards, much like the kit, and it slips right in place of the styrene version. The floor is asymetrical like the original, with the rear weapons officer's office raised above that of the pilot. Mk. 7 ejection seats (complete with belts) are included and lack only the overhead grab handles that are easily adapted from the kit or scratch-built.
The rest of the pieces are a variety of electronics boxes that should be assembled based on your references. One "complaint" with the set might be the lack of a detailed placement guide for everything, but GT Resin
is assuming that if you're a fan of the Wild Weasel, you likely will have at least one good reference work on your workbench before you build it.
The good news about the Revell F-4G Wild Weasel kit is how inexpensive it is. So I definitely recommend fixing its silhouette problems with GT Resin
's antenna upgrade set
, and now this beautifully-detailed cockpit. When finished, you still won't have spent as much as you would for an OOB Tamiya Phantom.
Thanks to GT Resin for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed here on Aeroscale when ordering.