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F-4D Phantom II (late)Cockpit

1/48 scale for Hasegawa




S u m m a r y
Catalogue Number and Description Aires Hobby Models 4255 - F-4D (late) Phantom Cockpit for the Hasegawa kit
Price: likely around USD$35.00
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Grey coloured resin, acetate film, photo etched metal
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Excellent detail and casting; comprehensive photo-etch; solid packing
Disadvantages: No painting instructions; flimsy box
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

Aires' 1/48 scale F-4D Phantom II cockpit set will be available online from Squadron.com




Not content to just produce cockpit sets for each marque of the F-4, Aires have gone the extra length and produced sub-variants as well. This set is for a late D model F-4.

As with the other F-4 sets from Aires, the set is a mixed-media one. It contains resin parts in the main with etch-metal pieces and an acetate sheet. The set is meant for the old 1/48 scale Hasegawa kit.

The F-4C/D kit from Hasegawa was released in the early eighties and was the first of their 1/48 scale Phantom "family" it released. When it was first released it was well received and ran a close race with the Esci series of F-4s for the crown of "best 1/48 scale F-4". It is still a good kit now and Hasegawa periodically release it in different markings guises. The kit still stands up well today and, apart from the raised panel lines it exhibits, it is let down by the lack of detail in the cockpits. This new set from Aires rectifies the latter.

The set comprises eighteen resin pieces, 50 odd photo-etched ones as well as a small piece of acetate that holds three printed instruments and a reflector glass for the gun sight. The resin parts have been cast in mid-grey resin.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

This set varies little from Aires F-4 Phantom II (Early) set 48-4245. In fact the only differences are a new part 9 (rear cockpit instrument panel new instruments), part 10 (new instrument panel coaming added 'black box' to the right hand side), new acetate sheet (to reflect the changes to the rear instrument panel), and new etch metal rear instrument panel).

The detail on the resin cast parts is simply superb. They are crisply cast and would easily be the best I have seen from Aires. The set in the main is cast as a tub with separate one-piece sidewalls, front and rear instrument panels and seats. The balance of the resin parts includes front and rear control columns, radar scopes and internal parts for the canopies.

The photo-etch fret is comprehensive. It contains, in the main, parts for the canopy rails, instrument panels, and ejection seats harnesses. The metal used is much like the lead foil you get from wine bottle. It is soft and easy to work with, a good thing, as it is easy to manipulate and drape the belts and harnesses onto the seats to make them appear more realistic.

Does it fit? A cursory dry-fit of the tub itself (with taped one sidewalls) into the fuselage of one my un-built Hasegawa F-4 kits tells me that it is not too wide and the length looks alright. However, be aware that you will need to do a fair amount of work to modify the kit to have it fit properly. To be fair though Aires do warn you that "Thinning of the plastic parts and dry-fitting of the assembly needed!"

A small instruction sheet is included. It carries 'exploded views' of the suggested assembly sequence as well as a 'parts map' to assist you in identifying the tiny resin parts.

As with all of the Aires cockpit sets that I have seen, there are no painting instructions. Apart from a colour photograph of the painted and assembled kit on the box top, nothing else is included.

Accuracy? To be truthful, I was not able to find two cockpit pictures that claimed to be late F-4Ds in any of the references that I have or on the net. It does however resemble most pictures. I would suspect that ex F-4 crew chiefs will be able to tell us if it is accurate but I suspect that nine out of ten modellers will accept the set for what it is an updated cockpit that will enhance their next F-4 kit.

The resin parts are packed into a zip-loc bag which is then itself wrapped in a small piece of plastic bubble wrap. The photo-etch fret and acetate sheet are placed into a plastic bag containing a piece of thick cardboard to keep them flat. Both of these are then placed in a flimsy cardboard box. I don't know why Aires persist with packaging their cockpit sets this way as they already have a vastly superior packaging system available to them. Fragile resin parts do suffer from damage in the post as evidenced by this one which has two small parts broken from the cockpit tub and the resin sprue.

Packaging aside though, this is an excellent set from Aires.


Thanks to Aires for the review sample.

Text and Images Copyright 2005 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 20 September, 2005
Last updated 20 September, 2005

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