Da Nang Phantom
After big announce, Eduard has released in the spring of this year one great and rich kit, McDonell Douglas F-4B Phantom II and this edition was named ‘Good morning Da Nang’. Da Nang was USA military base used during the Vietnam war and kit contain inside options to make samples who won some of air claims over Vietnam.
The same kit is have stock code 1186 and it is originally 1/48 Academy kit, where Eduard did great job in arranging content and options for finish. Inside huge and nice designed box is placed excellent full color instruction booklet, two decal sheet, even 15 frets with plastic parts (!!!!!), resin parts for exhaust nozzle, wheels and pilot seats, two sheet of the etched parts ( one of those is pre painted), one transparent film with HUD elements, quick mask sheet and fabric belts for pilot seat! Yes, fabric belts made of special fabric and they look great once when built in kit. For finishing you need is suggested 13 paints, all from Gunze Sangyo range.
As usual, first step in model build is pilot cockpit. Some of the basic parts need to be replaced with Eduard parts and there need to mention instrument panels. Photo etched parts give great look and only problem is that did not have image of the F-4B cockpit to claim is this correct or not. Extract from manual show this area, especially radar operator panels a bit different. No matter at all, it is very detailed. Pilot seat are to be placed last and this is good from my point of view.
Wing are assembled together with the undercarriage bays as well with main landing gear. Follow to that is the engine assembly with air intake and all of this are to be placed on the bottom wing half. One detail I have changed in assembly method is the use of the nose low section. In instruction is suggested to cement on bottom wing. My opinion is it is far better to place completed wing and the fuselage and then to add this section. I did like that, it proven much precise method and did not change anything in basic assembly. If you plan to do kit with open cockpit, then you need to place some etched parts on the cockpit edge, if not simply don’t use it. I decide to make kit with closed cockpit, canopy is large enough and all details are visible inside cockpit.
Interesting is that fuselage is provided as top side, not left and right side as most common practice. Bottom are made of the wing surface, nose and tail surface. Outer wing are to be placed after wing/fuselage parts assembly. Wing flaps are also to be add I this work step as well vertical tail. Last to do in the basic airframe assembly is placing landing gear with landing gear doors and many small parts.
Kit provides parts for the five types of pylons, two type of missiles, one type of bomb and two type of fuel tanks, which could be used on kit. As well I did my kit on base of archive image, I choose two Sidewinder missiles, large fuel tank at the belly and six bombs. They need some time to be completed and can be done parallel with main kit build. Very last in the assembly is the pilots seats and closing canopy. There is two identical seats with parts for them. Resin cast are high detailed and the same seat are made of few resin parts, photo etched parts ( pre painted) and fabric belts. Seats need to be painted before attaching metal and fabric elements. Final result is outstanding!!! Last to do is to place seat inside cockpit and close it ( in my options).
Painting is simple, all sample machines are Light Gull Grey at topside with white bottom. Control tabs are white too. Eduard provide following options for finishing:
BuNo. 153020, VF-161 „Chargers“, USS Midway, May 1972
BuNo. 153019, VF-111 „Sundowners“, USS Coral Sea, March 1972
BuNo. 152258, VMFA-323 „Death Rattlers“, Chu Lai Air Base, South Vietnam, 1967
BuNo. 151492, VF-84 „Jolly Rogers“, USS Independence, 1965
BuNo. 152238, VMFA-542 „Bengals“, Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, 1966
I decide to do F-4B 153019, VF-111 “Sundowners”, USS Coral Sea, March 1972, Lt Garry Weigand and Lt (JG) William Freckleton shot down a MiG-17 while piloting “NL 201” on March 6, 1972. A black MiG-17 silhouette was applied to both the left and right splitter plates to record the event. Assigned Straight from the factory to VF-213 in 1966, 153019 was flown by Lt David McCrea and Ens David Nichols on the night of December 20, 1966 when they would intercept and destroy an AN-2. They yellow star on the left and right splitter plates signifies this kill.
I have spray first coat of black primer and after that paint kit. I paint first white areas and then spray grey at the top. Interesting to note is that subject I choose to do have red line on the cockpit canopy bottom which protrude and ends ate the fuselage top, behind the canopy. Image show that this band protrude a bit longer so I decide to paint it by my self, not to use provided Eduard decals.
After painting I apply coat of high gloss varnish and then decals are applied. There is so many decals that there is need of two days just to place all service markings. After that I apply unit markings decals and I spent just few hours for that. Finish present a coat of semi mat varnish.
Final assembly present attaching already painted ordnance and wheels as well exhaust nozzles. And this make kit complete. My impressions are so high regarding this kit. It is complex to built and demand much time but the result are great and kit present real pleasure to look at it. I highly recommend this kit.
Special thanks to Milos Andric for his help on this project