Model Art Co, Ltd
Profile: F-4 Phantom II of JASDF
 
Reviewed By  Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209

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MSRP: 2190 yen (approximately $21)
A4, 130 pages, card cover, includes 1/48 line drawings.
Web Site: www.modelart.jp
Imported by Dragon Models USA (www.dragonmodelsusa.com)

In Japan, the adage of "anything worth doing is worth doing well" has been taken to an extreme. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing there. And Model Art has taken the F-4 Phantom in Japanese service and overdone it. Which is SUPER!!

The book is limited to JASDF F-4s, the F-4EJ F-4EJKai, the RF-4EJ and the RF-4E.

I have always thought of Model Art publications as "Wow, that's so great. I just wish I could read Japanese!". Well, there are 4 pages of English translation in the back of the book. It's the history of the F-4EJ and assigned units, which covers pages 10-17, and the "Mechanic's view", pages 28-31. It's a start.

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In 130 pages there are at least 250 photographs. Here's an example. This whole page is about how the braking parachute on the F-4 is packed and how it goes in the aircraft. I've seen this done, and it's a very involved process. The photos cover the whole thing pretty thoroughly. Like any journalistic effort, there are a few simplifications and omissions, but nothing major. But where else can you find this information?

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I mentioned that this book goes overboard? There are detail photos. LOTS of detail photos. This one is the camera bay on the RF-4EJ. It's one of 4 pages covering the camera systems and nose of the RF-4. The detail photos start at the nose probe on page 37 and end with a photo of the fuel dump (on the tail) on page 76. Cockpits, gear wells, gear legs, all those things you expect. But there are also 2 pages of wingtips, 1 of weapons pylons, 1 of Sparrow bays, and 1 of speed brake and flap actuators. I can't read Japanese, but those photographs are understandable to English speakers.

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But wait, there's more. The book also includes a "modeler's section". Just behind that large foldout with the 1/48 scale Phantom drawings is a group of profile drawings, 3 two view (top & 1 side), 1 four view (top, bottom, left, right) and 3 three view (top and both sides) illustrating the color schemes most used by the JASDF. Also very useful is that the drawings include FS595 references for the colors used.

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Additionally, the first 2-view also includes squadron emblems used on the Phantoms. Not only that, the dimensions are given for both size and location. Very useful if you're needing to print your own decals, or can't decide which decal to use. Also note that the information includes the size, location and border width for the Hinomarus. Fortunately for me the JASDF uses the font Amarillo USAF for their numbers, like the USAF. The last page of this section is the missiles (AAM and ASM) used on the Phantom. I was gratified to find the FS595 color references for the colors used on the missiles. Useful.

Next a whole section of models of JASDF Phantoms. This starts with a 1/32 F-4EJ. The first 2 pages have photos of the finished model and Japanese text. The next 2 pages cover the construction of the model, with 24 photographs showing basic construction, how various details were accomplished, and painting and masking tips.

The next model is a 1/48 scale F-4EJ. This time the 48 construction photos cover 4 pages. Again the captions are Japanese, but the photos speak for themselves. This continues with 2 more F-4EJs and an RF-4E, all 1/48.

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There are also 2 1/72 builds. One of these caught my eye in the photo pages. It appeared again with some text, and then here in the build. This has to be one of the most creative "Aggressor" schemes I've ever seen. From the top, the F-4 has the outline of a MiG-21! OK, get out the Tamiya tape and the green paint, I just HAVE to build this one!

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The end is a listing of Phantom kits. Most of these I knew about, but some were surprises. The Hasegawa 1/90 kit from 1966 never made it to my local hobby emporium, and I don't think I ever saw the Aurora F4H or F-110 kits. But when they came out, I was still in high school, and had other things to think about, like girls and basketball.

So is it worth $21? Yes. Definitely recommended. If you read Japanese, or have a friend who can translate for you, then it's highly recommended. The detail photographs are priceless, the color information is very useful, and the modeling section can give you some hints.

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