Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Phantom Menace

Anyone notice the theme ;)

Well since others have put up their 2012 plans already I will follow suit.  Not because I want to be like everyone else, far from it, honestly, no really...

....oh sod it, if it works for everyone else then why not copy them!

So what will 2012 bring to the cutting mat?

Well the title is a clue, 2012 will feature quite heavily on the aircraft that is in most Cold War/Modern aircraft builders stash, The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.

I was not one of these modellers who, when they decide to model aircraft from the last few years, instantly jumped for the Phantom, I started my serious modelling with military armour kits and progressed to WW2 fighters then to jets (although I started modelling with a Vulcan but thats another story!) and as I got into Fleet Air Arm aircrft I stumbled across an aircraft I recognised.

F-4K '007' Launches from the waist catapult of 'Ark Royal'

The pictures I saw straight away inspired me, the catapult launches in billows of steam, the fast approaches and rapid stops on the wires, and the most awe inspiring thing of all, the roar and whine of the Rolls Royce Spey.  I was instantly hooked and looked for a model in my chosen scale, 1/72.  That's where I came slightly unstuck, the only model of the FG.1 (F-4K) was made by Fujimi and it has been out of production for a good few years. Luckily there have been quite a few releases of the Navy version and after a few eBay out-bids I finally won one.  Now these are not cheap as they are sought after but not too expensive (cheaper than some new Hasegawa 1/72 models).

Kit bought and delivered it was instantly ripped open and started, now with hindsight I may have got an aftermarket cockpit, the office in the kit is good but the seat could do with updating.  Unfortunately I have already constructed it and most decals are on.  It will be returning to the table soon to be finished and weathered.

The next Phantom I bought was not bought because I wanted it, it was part of a set I bought on eBay.  I wanted the set for a few of the other kits but when I saw it I changed my mind.  It is a Luftwaffe F-4F and has special decals for the display scheme.  I did not think it was too attractive and was about to be put down at the bottom of the stash.  I then saw the other schemes, standard Luftwaffe and for some reason I was hooked, OK its only greys with little decals but I like it! Maybe because it is really understated, maybe I'm just boring!

So my model finding did not really include Phantoms, I had 2 and did not really 'need' another.  A trip to the IPMS show at Telford in 2011 changed that.

I had by now built a few 1:48th kits and I thought I'd keep a look out.  Just as I was giving up the search I searched though the large stack at the back of a stand and came across this.  It was marked at £59 but I bargained it down to £40.  Not bad I thought, its a BIG kit and one not seen often.  I was in for a shock when I opened the box though, inside was a full set of whitemetal landing gear, an etched fret for the canopies, whitemetal refuelling probe and other detailing parts, well over £30 worth of detailing packs if you bought them in the shops.  So this was a bargain and a half in the end (well it was for me, it was still a huge box to take up room for SWMBO).

Now the bug had bitten and a search on eBay tuned up this Phantom, again a 1/48 from Hasegawa.  Don't know how I manage it but this one turned up with resin seats!  These are a great improvement over the kits own and this pushed me to buy a set for my other Phantom.  Luckily this one was hidden from SWMBO until it was safely stashed.

All of these will be started this year, weather they will be finished is another thing!  I am truly a Phantom Phan now and no doubt more will find their way into the pile but for now these are my highest priority.

Now to leave you with the song dominating my playlists. It's originally by the awesome Fleetwood Mac but this is an epic cover by Taking dawn, listen for the drums at the end!

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