ManCave Modeler presents...
    McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II
VF103 Sluggers
U.S.S. Saratoga CV-60, ca. 1972

USMC F-4J VMFA-232 "Red Devils"
Academy 12556

This is the 2017 release of their F-4J Phantom II kit with USMC Markings.
This kit has also been released with U.S. Navy markings for Showtime 100 (Cunningham & Driscoll), and VF-84 "Jolly Rogers" this kit is molded in the usual light gray styrene on 9 sprues plus a sprue of clear parts.
Like Academy's F-8 the parts are clear of flash, with well defined panel lines.
None of the parts were warped and there were no instances where the molds were misaligned.
This kit doesn't require cement, but don't get me wrong, this isn't your father's Snap-Tite.
The ease of assembly makes this an ideal kit for younger or less experienced modelers looking for something that will look pretty good on the shelf.
It will also build into a nice looking kit for the experienced Phantom fanatic looking for an inexpensive kit to fill the shelf with as many squadrons as he can find markings for.

The kit comes with an large set of Cartograph decals, much of it Stencil Data, an amount you would normally see in a larger scale kit.

With the exception of the VF-103 Slugger Decal set, this is a strictly out of box build
Once assembly began it was pretty straight forward. the parts aligned perfectly with no issues.

The interior detail isn't very extensive but decent detail considering the scale.
Unlike some of Acadamy's other offerings, this one does not include decals for the instrument panels. A little dry brushing brings out the details.
Like the Cockpit, the wheel wells are a little sparse on details. One nice little feature is this kit comes with two sets of landing gear doors, wheels up or wheels down.




Click to enlarge

Paint & Decals:
This is the second
The color scheme for this aircraft is typical of the period of U.S. Naval Aviation, Lt. Gull Gray, f/s 36440 on top with Gloss White Belly and control surfaces.
The design of this kit makes it an easy decision to paint the wings, stabilators and fuselage as separate components.

This aircraft is the second of my tribute to, and will carry the markings of VF-103 "Sluggers" BuNo, 157299, USS Saratoga (CVA-60) 1970




Click to enlarge


Aftermarket parts:
If you're looking for a kit you can super detail, this ain't it.
The Revell and Hasagawa kits have the resin and photo etch upgrades available to scratch that itch
The only thing really available for this kit is a generic Aires Exhaust nozzle set and numerous decal sets.

I'm using Print Scale #72-266 Phantoms part 2 which includes VF-103 "Sluggers"
A quick note on the PrintScale Decals: These decals lift of the paper very quickly in luke warm water, room temperature water will suffice


Final Note:
I bought this kit over the two U.S. Navy versions I mentioned above. The reason was simple, the USN versions were marketed by academy as "snap together" with "multi colored parts" and "stickers".
A death sentence to most modelers. These are all the same kit. The "multicolored parts' can always be painted and the stickers thrown into the trash. The USN versions comes with a full set of Cartograph Decals featuring two of the better known F-4J's, Showtime 100 and the Jolly Rogers So in spite of the Snap Tite labeling, these are three very nice little kits. I little on the pricey side, But I thought it was worth it in the end.

just my


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Last Updated June 23, 2018