Thursday 7 March 2024

Bill Clark's Academy F-4 J (UK) ZE 362 and the 'infamous' turquoise paint finish of the RAF's F-4Js


Bill Clark from East Kent Scale modellers and Scale Aircraft Modelling on his colours research for the F-4 J(UK).  This is re-posted from Bill's FB page and draws on his own article in Scale Aircraft Modelling. 

Note that the J-variant can be distinguished from the RAF's FG.1 and FGR.2 (at a glance) by the inclusion of formation lighting strips, the (empty) DECM antennas on the upper part of the intakes (except for ZE 350), the longer exhaust cans of the J79 engines, smaller intakes and narrow(er) rear fuselage while also lacking the 'glazing' on the port side between the two canopies. 

Bill also supplied this unique view of the 'turquoise' shade....

And a view of one of my pictures of F-4 J ZE 353 and David's take on the colour on a build of the Hasegawa kit, also ZE 353..

Preamble over, back to Bill for commentary and a view of his build.

"Here's my take on it.. briefly......

....The first batch of maybe nine of the 15 arrived in that Turquoise shade. There might have been attempts in those nine to correct the earlier problems...The second batch of 6 were painted in shades of 'gray" closer to those specified by the RAF.

from Patrick Martin's 'British Phantoms _Vol 5'. The RAF ordered 15, and the overhauled aircraft were painted in a three-grey finish that was meant to be as close to the standard RAF shades. Flint Grey FS595 36314 was used for Barley Grey, Neutral Grey 36270 for Medium Sea Grey and Light Gull Grey 36440 for LACG. The first nine aircraft delivered had the 'turquoise tint', due to a misunderstanding of the pimer specification by the Mexican manufacturer. (The grey's may well have been affected by the zinc chromate(?) primer.) The mistake was rectified for the second batch, but still not quite right. At least five were repainted in standard RAF shades, including ZE354/"R", ZE357/"N", ZE361/"P", ZE364/"Z". This happened during the summer of 1989.

There is some conjecture as to whether the inner wing panels were actually painted in MSG /NG. They certainly should have been, but bear in mind that the whole idea of having a darker shade here was to blend the whole upper surfaces together. Therefore in most lighting conditions the difference between the two greys is hard to see. That said, it is clear that some of the earlier batches, that had the primer issue maybe(?) the inner wings were very tatty and faded and certainly appear to be the same shade.

"'s my interpretation of 74 Sqn's ZE362/"V", which was one of the later batch of aircraft painted in shades more akin to those specified....with replacement panels and 'Turquoise". Academy 1/72 kit. Decals from Modeldecal, Xtradecal and Esci kit. Painted in Xtracrylic 'Barley' Grey (fuselage and outer panels,) with Tamiya Medium Sea Grey inner panel. I made my own mix for the Turquoise..."

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