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F-4E Phantom II Cockpit
1/32 Scale


Black Box Combat Series


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and  Description

CS 32019

Scale: 1/32
Price: USD$45.00 available online from Black Box website
Contents and Media: Tan colored resin
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Excellent casting and detail
Disadvantages: Wrong seats; some instruction sheet errors
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Dave Williams

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Black Box has recently released a new detailed cockpit set for the Tamiya 1/32 F-4E.  Cast in tan resin, my sample showed no casting defects or air bubbles.  The set is almost a complete replacement for the kit cockpit, using only a few kit parts, most notably the front instrument panel glare shield/gun sight and the front rudder pedals.  The front and upper rear instrument panels appear to based on the Tamiya kit parts, with added detail, and retain the use of the clear instrument “glass” parts in the kit.  A loop of copper wire is included for making the ejection seat face curtain handles, and hoses for the front canopy actuating cylinder.  Only minor fitting appears to be needed to fit the set, according to the instructions.  Besides the standard “remove all detail from the kit sidewalls”, the top portion of the RIO’s rear bulkhead molded as part of the kit fuselage part must also be removed, and small notches must be cut under the front canopy sills.  Packaging was good with no broken parts in my sets and sufficient room for all of the parts. 



Overall, the parts look good and will really add detail to the kit, especially for the sidewall area, where the kit had almost no detail except for a relatively plain circuit breaker panel in the right rear cockpit.  The amount of detail in the castings is quite impressive, with a number of hoses and wiring really dressing up the area.  Comparisons with pictures in Detail and Scale #7,  and Verlinden Lock-On #8 show a mostly good match.  One minor issue is that the front instrument panel is based on the kit part and consequently has a weapons/missile selector panel on the left side of the main flight instrument “T” that matches the C/D model, but not the –E model shown in theabove  references.  Given that the F-4E was produced in a number of production blocks and that new equipment was added over the aircraft’s long life, the use of a C/D front panel may not be incorrect, however it may represent an early version.  The rear panel appears to have been redone and matches photos in the “Lock-on”, which appears to be for a late F-4E with slats and TISEO.  The set includes new throttles for both front and rear, which are individually molded.  Care will be needed in removing the casting sprue from the front throttles, however, as the arm is a fairly thin part.  There appears to be an error in the instructions in that only one rear throttle (listed as part #22) is shown, although two are included.  The second one is not a spare; both throttles should be used, attached adjacent to each other (refer to the two throttle tracks molded into the side console) with both grips toward the centerline of the aircraft.  The rear throttles look a little thin and wimpy compared to the fairly beefy rear throttles shown in the pictures, though. 

The seats are well done and include molded on harnesses, slightly different for each seat.  However, they are the seats from Black Box’s F-4J cockpit set and represent USN-style seats. 



One difference between the USN and USAF seats is that the latter had a curved cutout in the lower corner of the rear seat cushion for a small emergency oxygen bottle with a pressure gauge.  On the USN style seat, the oxygen bottle was in the survival pack under the seat and the bottom seat cushion had a circular cutout under the left thigh to allow viewing of the pressure gauge.   The seats in the set lack the cutout and visible O2 bottle in the rear cushion and do have the circular window for the gauge in the bottom cushion.  Also, the instructions list that there should be four seats and associated parts, when all of my sets only contain two seats and related parts.  It isn’t clear whether this is a packaging error, or an instruction sheet error, possibly due to the F-4J instructions apparently being used as a template (the sheet shows the –J forward fuselage in Step 8). 

Not mentioned in the instructions is that kit part H14, the internal frame that goes inside the center canopy section, should be modified by deleting the large instrument that hangs from the center of the part.  The adjacent smaller box with the raised bar (command selector valve) should be left.  This part to be removed represents the standby compass, however there is an additional box molded on top of the BB rear instrument panel for the course indicator, which will probably cause interference with the kit part.  Additionally, the set includes a new compass which was relocated higher in the center of frame H14 when the course indicator was added to the rear panel.





Although there are a few inaccuracies, which those afflicted with Advanced Modeler Syndrome may want to address, the set is a large improvement over the kit cockpit.  One of the weakest points of the Tamiya cockpit is the lack of sidewall detail, which was in reality littered with boxes, wires, and cables, and the new BB set fixes this issue. 


Review sample kindly provided by Jef of Black Box

Dave Williams
IPMS/USA 19050

Black Box and Combat Series products are available online from the Black Box web site.

Text and Images Copyright © 2004 by Dave Williams
This Page Created on 02 September, 2004
Last updated 02 September, 2004

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