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F-4 Phantom II Accessories
Second Look

AirDOC, 1/48

 


 

Reviewed by David W. Aungst


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SecondLook

 

Never say that reviews do not work and are ignored by the model manufactures. There have been a number of cases where product reviews brought out major issues in the products that in turn were fixed by the manufacture. I have now found myself the instigator of one such episode.

Back in November of 2004, I reviewed a series of resin update sets from AirDOC. While most of the sets were fine, I did have a few issues and could not recommend a couple of the sets. AirDOC contacted me shortly after the reviews hit the Internet and conveyed their disappointment that some of the sets were not as good as I had hoped (and that the reviews did not sound very positive). They informed me that they would rework those sets and fix them.

This last week, I got the updated sets in the mail for a re-review. There are three sets that AirDOC has revised, as follows.


F-4 Phantom Underwing Inboard Weapons Pylons (48003)

  Update Set 48003
Set Pieces
  Update Set 48003
Instructions
Find my original review of this product on this page.

This was one of the sets I originally labeled as Highly Recommended, but it had a couple of nit-picky problems that have been addressed.

  • My first nit-picky point was with the large pylon sway braces at the top of the pylons where they attach to the wing. These were not provided in the original set and still are missing, but they are now mentioned in the instructions. Since all the Hasegawa kits have these braces (inappropriately) molded to the lower side of the wing, and molding the thin items in resin was proving to be a problem, AirDOC is choosing to still leave these items out of the set. I am OK with this.
     
  • My other issue involved the flare and chaff dispenser pieces that attach to the rear portions of the pylons. My original set had two left side pieces and no right side ones. I thought this might have been a packing error on my specific set. However, this was apparently an oversight by AirDOC where they had only created a left side master. They have created the right side master and now include it in the set. The new item is seen in the above image as the gray resin piece.

This sets is still Highly Recommended. I still need a ton more of these sets.

 

F-4C/D Conversions (48009)

  Update Set 48009
Set Pieces
  Update Set 48009
Instructions
  Update Set 48009
Figure 1
  Update Set 48009
Figure 2
AirDOC has combined two sets into one here. This used to be sets 48004 and 48005. Now, this single set will accomplish either of the conversions covered in the other two sets. Find my original review of these products on this page.

The F-4C and F-4D conversion sets were the two I could not recommend in my earlier reviews. The issues with the original sets rendered them difficult (if not impossible) to easily use. AirDOC has come a long way to fix the issues.

  • My first issue with the original sets involved the lack of a correct F-4C nose. There are three distinct nose fairings found on the F-4C/D Phantom, one for the F-4C and two for the F-4D. The original sets only provided the two F-4D styles, missing the F-4C style fairing. The new updated set now contains all three nose fairing styles.
     
  • My second issue with the original sets involved very poor fit of the nose cones to the kit fuselage. A major step was created all the way around the nose that was going to be impossible to fix without obliterating all the surface detailing of the forward fuselage. AirDOC fixed this issue by not replacing the entire nose cone. Instead, they only provide the chin fairings as separate pieces. The nose will now fit fine as you keep the kit's nose cone, then you add on the appropriate fairing. I much prefer this approach.

    The problem is that the fairings are not all the same size in the set. As can be seen in Figure 1 to the right, the F-4C style fairing is considerably smaller (not as long) as the two F-4D fairings. I have been unable to determine if this difference is correct. I have literally a two-foot-high stack of F-4 Phantom books, not to mention countless personal photos I have taken over the years. In all that, I can not get a conclusive answer to the length of the chin fairings. My gut feel, just looking at how the fairings fit the kit's nose cone, is that the F-4C fairing is pretty close to correct, but the two F-4D fairings are too long.

    This is all easily fix-able with a couple minutes of filing and sanding on the F-4D fairings.

    Figure 2 shows the F-4C fairing attached to the Hasegawa F-4J nose cone. All three of the chin fairings fit the shape of the F-4J nose cone really well. The thin gap visible in the image is actually already filled by the super glue I used to attach the fairing. The whole process of removing the fairing from its slag, cleaning up the part, and attaching it to the already assembled nose cone took under two minutes.
     
  • Some additions to the set that were not there before are the horizontal tails. Having them in this set removes the need to purchase an additional set to complete your F-4C/D conversion. You will still need a new cockpit and potentially new weapons pylons, but the instructions now include this information.

I am changing my evaluation of this set to Recommended. The issues with the F-4D chin fairing sizes are easily fixable with only a little sanding.

Customer satisfaction is important to AirDOC. To help correct the already sold F-4C and F-4D conversions sets that modelers already have in their model stashes (update sets 48004 and 48005), I have received word from AirDOC that they will replace the nose cones of the original sets for anyone that purchased them. Send the nose cone pieces from the original sets you purchased, along with $3.00 (US) to cover postage, to the following address.

 

AirDOC -- Verlag Andreas Klein
Wilhelmstr. 2b
D-91054 Erlangen
Germany
 

They will send out to you (via airmail) the updated pieces of this new set to replace the incorrect nose cones of the original sets. I think this is a great deal, and it further shows AirDOC's commitment to getting the sets right and pleasing their customers.

 

Un-Slotted Horizontal Tails (48010)

  Update Set 48010
Set Pieces
  Update Set 48010
Instructions
Find my original review of this product on this page.

This set's resin content did not change. The only update was the inclusion of an instruction sheet. But, this is an important change as it allows the set to be described better.

The tails still do not include the arrowhead reinforcing plates, but their absence is described. Also, my earlier review was incorrect in that the arrowhead reinforcing plates did not get applied to the F-4C/D aircraft until well after the Vietnam conflict. Hence, you can build any Vietnam-era F-4C/D from these tails with no problems.

Adding the reinforcing plates to the tails is described in the instructions, but the provided templates seem somehow out of proportion. Laying the resin pieces onto the templates shows they are not quite in proportion, but I feel they are close enough to use for the purpose. The template only shows the topside reinforcing plates. The bottomside plates are mostly the same, though.

As the instructions say, check your references closely when adding the reinforcing plates. Some aircraft only had topside plates, others only had bottomside plates, still others had both top and bottomside plates. I have personally seen most every mix of top and bottom plates you can think of.

This sets is still Recommended. This set provides the best scaled versions of the slot-less horizontal tails. If you have need of tails without the reinforcing plates, it is definitely the best show going. If you need the arrowhead reinforcing plates for the specific aircraft you want to model, adding them is not all that difficult. The provided template will assist you in the task.

 

 

Conclusion

 

I am really pleased to see AirDOC fix the issues in their earlier releases. I now need to stock up on a few more F-4C/D conversion sets.

 

 


Review Text and Images Copyright 2005 by David W. Aungst
Page Created 15 June, 2005
Last updated 15 June, 2005

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