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F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale
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F-8 & RF-8 Crusader in Detail & Scale

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DECAL SHEET REVIEW


Zoukei-mura Super Wings Options F-4J (UK) Phantom II Decals-- 1:48 Scale


The F-4 Phantom II was one of the most distinguished aircraft to serve with the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, but many versions were also exported quite widely to allied nations.  Great Britain purchased a number of F-4K and F-4Ms (the FGR.1 and FGR.2) that flew with the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm. While these airplanes were based on the F-4J airframe, they were powered by the Rolls-Royce Spey jet engines and were fitted with British avionics.  Yet, in the early 1980s, RAF was short some airplanes since one of their interceptor squadrons (No. 23 Squadron) was forward deployed on a more or less permanent basis to the Falkland Islands in the aftermath of that conflict.  The shortfall was addressed by the acquisition of 15 surplus USN and USMC F-4Js that were designated as the F-4J (UK) in British service.  These jets flew with No. 74 Squadron, also known as the Tiger Squadron, between 1985 and 1991.            

In this release, Zoukei-mura provides a decals set covering the 15 F-4J (UK) jets of No. 74 squadron from their pre-delivery, post-delivery, air defense, service, and 1988 Tiger Meet paint schemes.   The pre-delivery, air defense, and post-delivery schemes cover:

 

The most striking scheme on the sheet is ZE 355 in Tiger Meet markings as it appeared in Cameri, Italy, in 1988. For me, at least, it goes down as one of the most distinctive F-4 paint schemes of all time.

The two decal sheets cover all the individual variations in aircraft markings and complete stencils for one UK airframe. Interestingly, each airplane carried one letter on their rudders, some of which spelled out “TIGER SQN” when the tails of ZE 350-ZE 357 lined up. These are nicely represented on the decal sheet, too. The quality of the decal design is superlative, and the printing by Cartograf is technically impeccable. Colors are appropriately subdued where it counts (e.g., roundels), in perfect register, and carrier film is very thin and exceptionally restrained.

There is one technicality that makes an accurate airframe-paint scheme match build a bit thorny: the instructions indicate that the bottoms of the F-4J(UK)s featured the large wing-to-wing  reinforcement plate known as the “belly strap.” These were fitted to the slat-winged F-4E, G, and S models. One would assume the Zoukei-mura F-4J would be the starting point for this kit but it lacks the belly strap. Their F-4S kit has the belly strap, but the wings (with their leading edge slats) are completely wrong for the F-4J(UK). So, a builder will have to start with the F-4J kit and strachbuild their own belly strap from sheet styrene to achieve an accurate external configuration. There’s got to be a 1:48 scale template out there somewhere…

Sincere thanks are owed to Mr. Hideyuki Shigeta, the president of Zoukei-mura, Christopher Coutinho, and Carmine Napolitano (also of Zoukei-mura) for providing this sample. You can find out more about them at http://www.zoukeimura.co.jp/en/ and follow Mr. Shigeta’s latest blog as of this writing at http://www.zoukeimura.co.jp/en/sentiment/oyajiblog_093.html, which is a good way to follow development of their kits and other products.

 

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

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