The 're-designed' and Rolls-Royce Spey-engined F-4s used by the RAF and the Royal Navy during the 1970s must count - at least as far as UK enthusiasts are concerned - as some of the most 'exotic' and 'charismatic' of all F-4 variants. The modifications necessary to fit the larger British engines imbued British Phantoms with an additional air of menace! Those cavernous intakes fed huge quantities of air into huge downwards-angled engines spewing tons of flame and thrust earthward during take-off. Difficult to believe now that we had some 150 F-4s, with one squadron of the Spey-engined aircraft flying off HMS Ark Royal for a number of years! Shame they had gone by 1982 - they'd have come in handy down in the South Atlantic! As it was, post-Falklands, the F-4s moved south, opening a new phase of RAF F-4 operations when the powers-that-be realised we needed more of them - even if they were only second-hand Js. No wonder the Russians never gave us any grief! But that's another model. And the FGR. 2 soldiered on with 56 and 74 Squadrons until 1992 - but again, that's another model, probably a Hasegawa 48th scale F-4.
Although delayed, the new-tool Airfix F-4 FG.1 is still eagerly awaited. Back in May I started a Fujimi FG.1 in 72nd ahead of the release of the Airfix F-4 and this was as far as I managed to get before putting it to one side.
More of the build phase on this blog here. I have now managed to complete it before the end of the year (well, not quite..) and prior to the release of the new Airfix kit. The 1977 'Silver Jubilee' scheme is also a markings option in the new kit - as it was back in the 1980s when Fujimi released their model. See the link below for more on the differences between these various markings options.
Above; my completed model and, below, a few shots of the decals and undercarriage going on.
Although nicely detailed the kit is really starting to show its age now - and despite what you can read elsewhere you have to work hard to get bits to fit - the intakes especially. The decals are pretty poor too and all the stencils silvered badly. The new Airfix kit promises to blow this one out of the water but I see there are already rumblings about 'missing' details - bleed air louvres above and below the intakes most notably, which Fujimi managed to incorporate into their kit all those years ago.
Below; some decent detail views for modellers of the new Airfix FG. 1 including a super view of the lower surfaces. XT 859 at Farnborough 1968 700 NAS with everything out for a low dirty pass. Note the underwing codes overlap the gear doors/flaps. Mark Taylor photo.
Above FG. 1 XT 866 seen during 1977 sold for £56.55 here
Below; another neat view of FG. 1 XT 866 seen in August 1977 again recently sold for £56 on ebay here!
Phantom FG1 XT870 of 892 NAS at RNAS Culdrose in July,1976
Many more pics of RN Phantoms on this blog