Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

F-4/RF-4 Phantom II Intakes


Intake Set Contents (F-4J/S / RF-4 Shown)

Cutting Edge Modelworks 1/48


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number, Description

CEC48-455 -- the F-4B/C/D/N with raised scribing (also the original F-4J)
CEC48-458 -- the F-4E/EJ/F/G with engraved scribing
CEC48-476 -- the F-4J/S and RF-4 with engraved scribing (yes, different from the F-4E/EJ/F/G set)
CEC48-467 -- the British Phantom FG.1 and FGR.2 with engraved scribing

Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: See text and images
Price: each USD$19.99 available online from Meteor Productions website
Review Type: FirstLook Review and Test Fitting
Recommendation Highly Recommended


Reviewed by David W. Aungst

HyperScale is proudly sponsored by Meteor Productions




I have wanted some easy to use, seamless intakes for the Hasegawa 1/48th scale F-4 Phantom II kits ever since they were released. Some manufactures have tried to provide these over the years, but I was never happy with the amount of work required to get them to fit into the kits. Cutting Edge has filled the void, finally.

Dave Klaus at Meteor Productions (the parent company of the Cutting Edge line) showed me the work in progress masters for the Phantom intake sets last year. I was quite excited about what it would mean for them to get finished. As time constraints would have it, Dave was not getting the time he needed to work on the intakes, so early this year, I offered to help. This gave me the perfect chance to make sure that the intake sets were everything I wanted as I was going to be completing them.

This posting reviews the intake sets as well as covering the integration of the Cutting Edge intakes into a new Hasegawa RF-4 kit (the RF-4EJ, to be specific).



Cutting Edge's 1/48 scale F-4 Intake Sets Described


The Cutting Edge intake sets come packed in the now familar black and yellow packaging, sealed inside a zip-lock baggie. There are four sets available as follows.

  • CEC48-455 -- the F-4B/C/D/N with raised scribing (also the original F-4J)

  • CEC48-458 -- the F-4E/EJ/F/G with engraved scribing

  • CEC48-476 -- the F-4J/S and RF-4 with engraved scribing (yes, different from the F-4E/EJ/F/G set)

  • CEC48-467 -- the British Phantom FG.1 and FGR.2 with engraved scribing

Be careful which kit you are buying intakes to fit into. If you try to put the F-4E/EJ/F/G set onto an F-4S kit (for example), you are in for some extra work to make them fit. Just to keep things confusing, Hasegawa, in their infinite wisdom, has created four unique intake set-ups that are not interchangable. This was a big surprise to me, especially on the F-4E/EJ/F/G and F-4J/S kits.

The baggie is packed full of resin. Most all the pieces in the set are simple replacements of kit pieces. The bag contents include:


    Intake Set Instructions
    Click to Enlarge

    The main intake trunks. These are molded in WHITE!!! It is not necessary to have to paint the interiors on these.

  • The engine face bulkhead. This piece differs between the J79 and Spey engine sets. Each set provides the correct engine faces for the corresponding engine types.

  • The forward variable inlet ramps. These are the inner intake pieces that go between the fuselage and the intake trunk pieces.

  • The intake splitter plates. These are the formost pieces of the intake that split the unstable boundary air along the fuselage away from the "clean" air going to the intakes. Details provided on these pieces include the vents on the upper and lower rear corners were the bleed air is vented out. There are also four dimples on the back of the splitter plate to indicate where the four braces are found for any modelers looking to add these to their Phantom models.

  • The last items are the tiny pitots found inside the intakes. These are sensors that tell the flight computers how to set the geometry of the intakes at varying flight attitudes and speeds.

The last item is a full notebook page size instruction sheet providing information on how to use the intake set. Photophaphs and text in the instructions clearly show where and how all the pieces go and how much slag to remove from the backs of the intake trunks. There are also two reference photographs of real Phantom intakes to assist in placing the pitots into the intakes.



Installing the Intake Set


The first step in the process is to verify that you have the correct intake set for the model you are building. I will say it again -- these sets will be trouble if you try to install the intake set into one of the wrong versions of the model kits. With gobs of putty and lots of sanding, the sets can be criss-crossed (if you insist on doing it), but why make all that trouble for yourself? If the set matches the model, the pieces are a drop-in fit, no different from if you used the kit intake pieces.

Also, verify that the intake trunks and other pieces all agree to the set you think they are. Of my review samples, I had one set (a British intake set) where one of the intake trunks did not match. You want to find this out before you start trying to use the intakes. I carved into each set of intake trunks the versions it fits. The pieces on the sets are very similar, and the white resin makes it difficult to see the detailing. The people at Cutting Edge can easily cross pieces without even knowing it. Double check your set before using it.

Assuming everything is alright, it is time to cut the fuselage as shown in the instructions.


Fuselage Cuts
Fuselage Cuts


The wing pieces also need some minor cuts as shown.


Wing Cuts


  Engine Trunk End

Splitter Plate
When cleaning off the casting lugs from the back ends of the intake trunks, take care. I am unsure what the cause is, but the inner lips are not where they should be. I think it may be from mold stretching when earlier pieces were pulled out. In any case, watch out for the lip on the back. Of all the review samples I got, it was 50-50 on whether the lip inside the trunk enough was far enough inside to survive cleaning off the amount of casting plug that the instructions tell you to take off. My advise is to check the inner lip first, then just level the back ends of the trunks and leaving about a 1/16th inch lip.  

Some of my review samples had no lip due to the rough cut by Cutting Edge already removing it. This is no big deal if you get a set that has this issue. Simply use an X-acto knife to widen the back ends of the trunks a little and they will slip onto the engine faces without much trouble. The view from the front will be mostly the same, no matter which way you install the engine faces.

The intake splitter plates are provided to increase the detailing of the kits intakes. While the part is basically the same as the Hasegawa provided piece, the new splitter plate has the proper vents on the trailing upper and lower corners. Also, small dimples mark the locations of the bracing that exists on the real F-4 Phantom between the splitter plate and fuselage (for modelers wanting to add this detail).

The inner variable intake ramps are provided as separate pieces for two reasons. The first is that having the separate makes it easier to paint the inner ducting areas (depending on the aircraft version). The second reason is to facilitate attaching the intake pitots in place. The picture below shows the assembled intake trunk, ready to be installed in the fuselage.


Assembled Intake Trunk


To assist in placing the pitots in the right place, I provided Cutting Edge with some documentation images to include in their instructions. I am also posting them here so they can be seen in color. The top two were taken on two different RF-4C aircraft. The bottom two were taken on the F-4S at the National Air and Space Museum Annex. There are several points to note in these images.

  • The pitots are located just below the half-way points up the intake outer sides. I made a drill point in the masters to show the location of this. Unfortunately, I think I needed to use a bigger drill bit. In about half the sets, the drill point has nearly vanished during the casting process. If you hold the intakes so that light shines across the outer area, you can still find the dimple that my drill mark left. The other way to locate the pitots is to know that the parallelagram panels on the outside of the intake are the access panels to get to the pitot's inner workings. You can use the location of these panels on the outside of the intakes to assist in locating the pitots to the right place on the inside of the intakes.

  • The pitots lean downwards at a noticeable amount. Sorry, I did not climb in and measure the angle (as much as I am wishing I had, now).

  • The entire inner variable ramp is painted the camouflage color on Air Force aircraft. It is painted white on Naval aircraft.

  • The outer intake walls are also painted to match the camouflage on Air Force aircraft. The measurement of the camouflaged section (so I have been told) is three feet. This area is left white in naval aircraft.

  • Note the dirty rear portion of the intake duct for the image that shows the engine face. This is fairly typical of most all jets I have had the chance to look into their intakes. They seem to get dirtier the closer to the engine face you get.


Real Phantom Intake
Real Phantom Intake
Real Phantom Intake
Real Phantom Intake
Real Phantom Intake
Real Phantom Intake
Real Phantom Intake
Real Phantom Intake


  Completed Assembly
This is a final view of the fuselage with the intakes in place. This looks just like the image of the masters that I posted about a month ago, except that now they are white.  

On playing with the pieces, I am tossed up on the installation order. When I wrote the instructions, I thought that getting the rear engine bulkhead glued into place first would help in getting everything solid. After some play with the actual resin parts, I am now thinking that the intake trunks fit solid enough without the engine face. Thus, I am leaning on the idea that the trunks should be attached solidly, first. Then, after that, attach the engine faces to the rear sections.

Either assembly order will work. I guess it is really up to the modeler's personal preference.


Man! Am I ready now or what? This has been the last big item I needed to get in order to start building the eighty or so Hasegawa Phantom kits sitting in my stockpile. Armed with these intakes and all the other goodies that have slowly been coming out over the past few years, I now have very little reason to not build Phantoms the way I always have wanted

Highly Recommended.



Cutting Edge Modelworks products are available online from Meteor Productions website

Images and Information Copyright 2004 David W. Aungst
This Page Created on 21 April, 2004
Last updated 21 April, 2004

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page