|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
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.
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
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
- 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.
- 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
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.
Review sample provided by IsraDecals.