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F-4E Phantom Stencils

 

 Model Picture

Isradecals, 1/48

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: IAF-37 - F-4E Phantom Stencils
IAF-38 - RF-4E Phantom Stencils
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: See Details Below
Price:  
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Complete coverage; all the right colors in all the right places; crisp and readable printing; alternative markings for different versions
Disadvantages: Suitable only for SEA camouflage at this stage
Recommendation: Recommended

 

Reviewed by David W. Aungst


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Introduction

 

Twenty years ago, I built an F-4D Phantom model. I wanted to make a model that included all the little data markings that were quite prevalent in the midel 1970s. I got the old SuperScale Phantom Data sheet and spent an entire week trying to figure out the poorly designed and badly printed instructions so that I could apply about 500 little decals all over my Phantom model. It was lots of work, but the model turned out well. I swore I would not do that again until I got some better instructions.

Over the years, several decal companies have attempted Phantom data markings -- AeroMaster, AirDOC, and CAM to name a few. Most of these sets were incomplete in one way or another. Some only provided the stencil data without the access panel number markings. Others provided the access panel numbering, but missed many of the stencil markings. None of them addressed the weapons pylons or fuel tanks.

Now, along comes IsraDecals with a new Phantom Data decal sheet. Mr. Weiss at IsraDecals approached me a few weeks back and asked if I would like to review the new decals. Knowing how nice the IsraDecals F-15A/B/C/D Eagle decals were from a couple years back, I jumped at the chance to get a hold of these new Phantom decals.

 

 

FirstLook

 

I have been waiting a while for a complete set of Phantom data markings like this to come out. Below are the two 1/48th scale sets for the F-4E and RF-4 Phantom. IsraDecals is also producing 1/72nd and 1/32nd scale versions of these decals.

 

F-4E Decals
F-4E Decals
RF-4 Decals
RF-4 Decals

 

 
  Decal Artwork Sample
Magnified Decals
 
The decals are in perfect register (on my review samples) and have what seems to be all the right colors in all the right places. All the printing is quite readable (under magnification) and well printed. See the image to the right for a magnified view of some of the decals. The decals are printed by Cartograph, so their quality and usability is known.

The following are further description on the decal sets.

  • The markings are standard English data markings as found on US airframes. I understand from Paul at Victory Models that IsraDecals is planning Israeli data markings for next year.
     
  • As the packaging says, both of these decal sets are intended for Phantoms in camouflage -- specifically S.E.Asian camouflage. The upper airframe markings are in black while the lower airframe markings are in gray. My hope is that IsraDecals brings out white Phantom data to go with these sheets.
     
  • The F-4E set provides alternate wing markings for slatted and un-slatted aircraft. There is enough commonality with other Phantom versions, like the F-4D, that the un-slatted decals would work just fine on alternate Phantom versions.
     
  • Both sets are very complete. The only missing markings I could find in either set (after some study) are the three access panel numbers that are associated to the TISEO fairing on the F-4E. I can hardly call this a "fault", though.
     
  • IsraDecals has gone out of their way to try to make the instructions easy to follow and the decals easy to find and apply. The decals are printed on the sheet in groupings that are applied close together on the airframe, thus making it easier to apply groups of decals at one time as the modeler works on the airframe.
     
  • To further add to the usablity, most of the markings are grouped onto large clear decal films that are carefully sized to fit the Hasegawa Phantom kits. This makes it so that instead of 500 tiny decals, modelers only have to apply 100 larger decals. The down side to this approach is a higher potential for large areas of decal silvering under all that clear film. There is nothing to prevent modelers from cutting up the larger decals into smaller ones with less chance of silvering (the approach I will likely take).

    The following image is an portion of the instruction sheets. Note how the wings are broken up into several large decals instead of all the little single markings. Mr. Weiss informs me that in 1/72nd scale, the decals are grouped even more so that the whole wing top requires only seven decals. This will simplify things substancially in the tiny scale.

 

 
Decal Instructions
Decal Instructions
 
 

  • As the last point stated, the large grouped decals are sized to the Hasegawa kits and may have troubles on other kits due to size and molding differences. Modelers can simply slice apart the large grouped decals, though, and apply them individually to make them fit any Phantom kit.
     
  • Apparently the Hasegawa kits are not perfect (imagine that?). As noted in the instructions, the wing fuel tank hard-points are spaced too far out the wing. The data markings for under the wing are designed for correct placement of the wing fuel tank. To use the decals as printed (without cutting them up into smaller decals), modelers need to fill the outboard pylon mounting holes and drill new ones as described on the decal instruction sheet.
     
  • Both sets provide decals for the wing weapons pylons.

The biggest down-side to these decals is their price. Victory Models lists the 1/48th scale sets at $25.00 each. Mr. Weiss explains that the problem is the Euro. Mr. Wiess prefers Cartograph's quality to all other decal manufactures. The Dollar-to-Euro conversion needed to have Cartograph do the printing makes for very expensive decals. Don't let the price scare you off, though. If you love the Phantom, these are really great decals that will not disappoint you. For anyone wanting to make a correct Phantom with all the assorted data markings plastered all over the airframe, this is by far the best set to do it.

 

 

Conclusion

 

These are great decals that I have been waiting a long time to have someone release. Now I need to push a S.E.Asian camouflaged Phantom upward in my "to do list" so that I can apply these to a Phantom model.

Recommended.

Review sample provided by IsraDecals.


Review Copyright 2005 by David W. Aungst
This Page Created on 04 January, 2005
Last updated 04 January, 2005

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