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Good Morning, Vietnam!!

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Phantoms in Vietnam
One of the ironies of modern American life is that my father (a nearly 30 year veteran of the USMC) did a tour in Vietnam while I stayed out of the military with a college deferment. Still, the war had a huge impact on my family, and my father's time over there turned him against the war and in favour of the United States withdrawing from the conflict.

Yet the iconic airplane of the air war over Vietnam has to be the F-4 Phantom II. The Air Force mostly flew the C/D and E versions, while the Navy flew both the B and J variants. The USMC units mostly flew the J version, which is the kit I built from the Tamiya Navy edition.

the kit
The Tamiya large scale Phantom kits are all getting a bit long of the tooth, and there are some inaccuracies and soft details. I enhanced the build with the Eduard interior & exterior PE sets, some Eduard Brassin resin wheels, Quickboost resin seats, as well as resin burner cans and seamless intakes from at least two different small vendor makers. And since the Navy version of the kit is armed with air-to-air missiles, I purchased two sprues from the USMC kit in order to outfit the plane with the typical "mud mover" bombs common to planes of the period. One final addition were napalm bombs from the Zoukei-Mura Skyraider AM additions.

The build required some gentle work, since Tamiya took its measurements from a plane with BDR (battle damage repair) patches, then rendered them in an out-size styrene that screams for removal and re-riveting.

The paints are Tamiya, and the decals are a combination of kit stencils and national markings, along with an old set of CAM decals for VMFA-334 Falcons flying out of Danang in 1968 just prior to my father's deployment there. Decalling required 3 sets because the CAMs have been OOP for years and have become dry and fussy. In fact, unless you are extremely careful and can float the decals onto the surface, they tend to bunch up like a wounded spider.

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About the Author

About Bill Cross (bill_c)
FROM: NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.


Comments

Bill, simply a beautiful build sir. And yes those BDR plates are a treat to remove! Well done......GO FALCONS!!!!
SEP 06, 2014 - 10:35 AM
Bill, A rock solid build for sure. Excellent paint, decaling, and just the right amount of weathering to depict an operational F-4J. I really like your loads out. They're very well detailed including the stenciling. Just one small issue of the same mistake I made which was pointed out to me early enough in my 1/48 scale build to correct. The lower wing air brakes have their backs painted in Red, but the wing cavity that they lay down in is painted in the same white as the wheel wells. More then Half the builds I see make the same mistake. Joel
SEP 07, 2014 - 01:36 AM
Thanks, Jess, for getting this one up & running (since I lost PhotoShop, I can't put logos on photos anymore). Thank you, Ian, hey BDR patches are a major problem with the kit. Thanks, Joel, for the info about the air brake wells. I will attempt to correct that. Did alright entering this baby in the NJ Historical Miniatures Associates (NJHMA) show today: 1. gold for aircraft 2. best aircraft 3. people's choice award 4. judges' "best in show" (the gold certificate is an armored car, go figure).
SEP 07, 2014 - 10:08 AM
Oh, I can point you towards a nifty little watermarking utility Fred showed me. It does them in batches. Your USAF Museum and all the Phantom photos were done in less than 20 seconds Watch your inbox.
SEP 07, 2014 - 12:40 PM
Thanks, Jess, pretty AND smart, what a catch for somebody!
SEP 08, 2014 - 02:49 AM
Hey Bill, I saw your Phantom at the show, it was even better in person. Those awards were well deserved. I should have introduced myself but you were gingerly carrying a model or two to be judged. Congrats!
SEP 08, 2014 - 05:27 AM
Bill, super work! A most authentic "Rhino"!
SEP 08, 2014 - 11:03 AM
Thanks, I wish you'd stopped me, I always like to meet fellow "virtual" friends. Fred, my next project is probably going to be a IDFAF Kurnass F4-E from the late 60s-early 70s. Built a 1/72nd version back in the day (when I didn't need a microscope to do small work, lol).
SEP 09, 2014 - 02:52 AM
Wow, if that's the caliber of your work after a long hiatus, we should all be so fortunate. Very nice work indeed. Jeff
SEP 18, 2014 - 11:56 AM
Bill, Congrats on your awards, as your build certainly deserves them. Joel
SEP 19, 2014 - 05:10 AM