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1⁄32Good Morning, Vietnam!!
Phantoms in VietnamOne of the ironies of modern American life is that my father (a nearly 30 year veteran of the USMC) did a tour in Vietnam while I stayed out of the military with a college deferment. Still, the war had a huge impact on my family, and my father's time over there turned him against the war and in favour of the United States withdrawing from the conflict.
Yet the iconic airplane of the air war over Vietnam has to be the F-4 Phantom II. The Air Force mostly flew the C/D and E versions, while the Navy flew both the B and J variants. The USMC units mostly flew the J version, which is the kit I built from the Tamiya Navy edition.
the kitThe Tamiya large scale Phantom kits are all getting a bit long of the tooth, and there are some inaccuracies and soft details. I enhanced the build with the Eduard interior & exterior PE sets, some Eduard Brassin resin wheels, Quickboost resin seats, as well as resin burner cans and seamless intakes from at least two different small vendor makers. And since the Navy version of the kit is armed with air-to-air missiles, I purchased two sprues from the USMC kit in order to outfit the plane with the typical "mud mover" bombs common to planes of the period. One final addition were napalm bombs from the Zoukei-Mura Skyraider AM additions.
The build required some gentle work, since Tamiya took its measurements from a plane with BDR (battle damage repair) patches, then rendered them in an out-size styrene that screams for removal and re-riveting.
The paints are Tamiya, and the decals are a combination of kit stencils and national markings, along with an old set of CAM decals for VMFA-334 Falcons flying out of Danang in 1968 just prior to my father's deployment there. Decalling required 3 sets because the CAMs have been OOP for years and have become dry and fussy. In fact, unless you are extremely careful and can float the decals onto the surface, they tend to bunch up like a wounded spider.