In 1968 Japan purchased 140 F-4 EJ Phantoms without aerial refueling, nuclear control system, Bullpop ASM system and ground attack capabilities. So basically the F-4 EJ is a simplified version of the F-4E. Two were built by McDonnel-Douglas in St Louis with the remaining 138 built in Japan under license by Mitubishi Heavy Industries. 96 were later upgraded to F-4EJ Kai (modified) standard. Currently aproximately 90 remain in service, but they are very much in the twilight of their careers, and are destined to be replaced soon. The modification to F-4 EJ Kai standard consisted of a new central computer, a Kaiser heads-up display, a Hazeltine AN/APZ-79 IFF system, and a license-built Litton LN-39 inertial navigation unit. External modifications include a new, much taller UHF blade antenna mounted on the dorsal spine, and a larger UHF antenna on the undercarriage door. A new J/APR-6 radar homing and warning system is fitted. Twin aft-facing radomes for this system are mounted on the fin tip and forward-facing antennae are mounted on the wingtips.Those are the most visible differences which distinguish the Kai from a standard F4EJ
Hasegawa's 1/72 Phantoms are in my opinion currently the best Phantoms on the market (Revell Germany and Hasegawa share moulds, so this kit is also available in Revell boxes). They come in a variety of versions. Today you can see the new F-4 EJ Kai, which is a Japanese version. Phantoms are among the most exported airplanes in the world, so you can build many exotic and unique birds.
The instructions are typical Hasegawa instructions with the weird folding system; they're not like a booklet, which can sometimes be hard to read while modelling, since they are about 60 cm long when you open them. The instructions are clear and as far I can see everything is fine with part numbers. On the first side you can see a picture of the finished model with a small description and data about the plane. Next, three pages show the assembly of the parts.The last assembly page shows us a nice diagram about what weapons you can put where, and in what combinations. Next page shows the layout of the sprues and color numbers for Gunze paints. Two big pages are dedicated to decal and stencil placement.
First impression, wow! 3 different marking options with full stencil data.The decals are very thin and colors look nice, almost no carrier film around. I must say I really like the graphics on the planes; they look really nice, especially the frog emblem which belongs to 301st SQ. As I said you get lots of stencils, in total about 100 of them, which is rarely seen in 1/72 scale. Decal options are for three different squadrons.
1. 302nd SQ 83rd AG J.A.S.D.F. (Naha A.B.)
2. 306th SQ 6th AW J.A.S.D.F. (Komatsu A.B.)
3. 301st SQ 5th AW J.A.S.D.F. (Nyutabaru A.B.)
sprue features the rear fuselage halves (the fuselage is broken into 4 parts). They are very nice, no flash with very crisp detail. Panel lines and rivets are also very nice, not too deep nor too shallow. Other surface detail is also nice. Next on we have some cockpit bits: the cockpit tub and instrument panels They have no surface detail because the decals will cover that. The decals are ok, but I'd like to see some more details. I think I will replace it with photo etched parts. There are more tiny cockpit pieces and different pieces for the fuselage.C
sprue contains most of the wing parts,including wings and wheel bay doors. Wings are molded very nicely, with crisp detail and nicely engraved panel lines & rivets. The wheel bay detail in them is nice, featuring some wires and other details.The doors are crisply molded with some nice protruding detail. Unfortunately we can see pin marks on them (some putty will do the job to clean them up). Overall it's a very nice set of wings with superb detail.X
sprue is the new sprue especially for this Kai model. It contains tips of the wings,top of the vertical stabilizer and few more parts, all of which are detailed and molded nicely.M
sprue contains the nose ( very nicely detailed, great surface detail) and few more parts for the fuselage halves.G
sprue is made out of two horizontal stabilizers (slotted) which were used on the Kai version.They look nice with recessed panel lines. On the real plane, the leading edges have a slight concave, which is implemented very nicely on the plastic parts.S
sprue (2x) contains the pylons, nothing special but nicely detailed.
sprue we have the intakes that are mounted on the fuselage. They look nice, but I think that a seam will be visible after assemby. Again,the panel line and rivet detail is amazing.L
sprue features the forward fuselage halves that are as nicely detail as the rear parts are. I'm only concerned about the fit between them. Next, it features the lower fuselage part (under part) which has some flash, but that can easily be scraped off with a knife. Some more undercarriage details and the 2nd instrument panel.Q
sprues (2x) contain most of the various detail that isn't covered on the other sprues (very cool wheels, nicely detailed Martin-Baker Mk. H-7 ejection seat) very nice slide molding tehnique used on the afterburner nozzles (very nice inner detail), 370 gallon drop tanks and many more detailing pieces.D
sprue contains a pair of plain wingtips which can be put in the spare parts bin since they are marked not to be used in this build. I'm not certain why they were included in the kit. P
sprue features the undercarriage legs and the rest of the small, tiny bits that are put on wings and fuselage parts. We also have a pair of amazingly detailed 600 gal. high-G centreline tanks in the early and late configurations. All are very nice.W
sprue contains the clear parts: canopies, navigation lights and other misc. clear parts. The canopies may be positioned opened or closed. All are thin and very clear with almost no imperfections
So, as we can see all of the sprues are very nicely detailed, with amazing rivets and panel lines. The only letdown in this amazing model is the cockpit, which cries out for aftermarket detailing, especially if the canopies are to be modelled in the open position. This model will be a very nice representation of the J.A.S.D.F F-4 EJ Kai.
Koku Phantom, Yoshitomo Aoki, Air Forces Monthly, March 2000.
Japanese Self Defence Force Air Arms, Riccardo Niccoli, Air International, Vol 50 No 1.
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