Post by Whiterook on Mar 22, 2013 20:59:03 GMT -5
Hasewaga RF-4B Phantom II VMFP-3 Special (Ltd Edition) 1:48
I built this kit starting back in January 2010 as a special project, whic I'll get into more in a minute. I spent a good part of a week searching for just the right version of the USMC RF 4B Phantom; and alternatively, I was looking at 4J’s and 4N’s, as well, but I was setting my attention to the 4B. I finally found just the right one for my purpose at from EA Hobby out of New York. It's a $60 kit, which I got for $33.25 (with shipping, $39.15). A good price, for sure!
A friend at work, who was due to retire shortly, is a Marine that served in 'Nam and beyond; he worked in the division I worked in back then....I've since moved on, and he did retire; I finished the kit just in time to send him off in style. He's a real nice, stand-up guy. He was a GIB (Guy In Back) in F4B, J, and N Phantom II's. His squadron of choice (that he flew in) was a photo recce unit off of the USS Coral Sea.
I decided I wanted to build an RF-4B for him for his retirement…..a token of my thanks for good laughs, kind words, and of course, his service to our country. I'd been
grilling him, covertly seeking out stories of his favorite times, ship, bird....that sort of thing. I narrowed down the RF-4B Phantom II as his favorite, and then his squadron he flew in that bird. Did some quick research and found a picture online, which I emailed him with a "Look familiar?", and he came back with.... that was his exact birdie! ...though that picture I sent him was when the bird was about to be put to pasture. I found the kit mentioned above....and the after-market decals of his squadron, which saved a lot of time from hand painting it custom. To be honest, I was shooting for a little less price-wise, but he deserved a good build for his service in the Corps!
I had nailed down a little more about what he flew. It was basically the bird I showed a picture of to him, but that pic was from another time, not when he flew. I figured out the markings that needed to go on the bird, and bought a set of Eagle Strike RF-4B/RF-4C Phantom II "Eyes in the Sky" Pt II #48198 decals from Squadron. I just needed to hold back on ordering them for a little until my bankbook caught up with my inspiration!
I also looked at a Martin Baker Mk H7 Ejection Seat set that could make it pop a little more....but had decided to wait to see what Hasewaga put in there first. I was looking at a Verlinden set also, but it has seats that were reviewed as being "in maintenance mode". Nope! Also looked a Quickboost Ejection Seat set, and was swayed with these as well, but the Martin Baker set looked awesome.
I did look at other scales, as well. The 1:32 scale birds were MAGNIFICENT......but way out of my cost range for the project, at over $100 USD each. Tamiya
seems to be the big seller in that scale. 1:72 had an awesome range, but for one, I worried they'd be too small for what I want to produce; and I
also couldn't find his RF-4B bird, and would have had to either try and find decals for his squadron, or hand paint them. I went with the 1/48 in the end, as it had a great, dynamic visual appeal, so it probably worked out that Karma decided long before I made my decision! I'm happy with it, too!!! I had heard good words on Hasegawa, too.....though it was the first time I built that line.
Up to that point, it had probably been somewhere near 35 years since I did a modern bird, so it was to be a nice circle ‘round!
A little history:
In the initial Model 98 package that was submitted to the Navy, McDonnell had included a Model 98P, which was a photographic reconnaissance version of the basic design. The Navy initially expressed no interest in the Model 98P proposal, since they were perfectly happy with the F8U-1P reconnaissance version of the Crusader. However, the F8U-1P lacked the night reconnaissance capability that was being planned in early 1962 for the Air Force's RF-110A reconnaissance version of the land-based Phantom. This caused the Navy to take a second look at the Model 98P, and in February 1963 the Marine Corps agreed to acquire the first 9 of an eventual 46 RF-4Bs.
In initial proposals and in pre-contract negotiations, this aircraft had initially been referred to as F4H-1P. However, this was changed to RF-4B in September 1962 when the new unified designation scheme came into effect.
The RF-4B was quite similar to the much more numerous RF-4C of the USAF. Like the RF-4C, the RF-4B was unarmed. The fighter's radar-equipped nose was replaced
with a special nose specifically designed for reconnaissance applications. This nose was 4 feet 8 7/8 inches longer than the nose of the armed F-4B. The AN/APQ-72 radar of the F-4B was replaced by the much smaller Texas Instruments AN/APQ-99 forward-looking J-band monopulse radar which was optimized for terrain avoidance and terrain-following modes, and could also be used for ground mapping. There were three separate camera bays in the nose, designated Stations 1, 2, and 3.
Station 1 could carry a single forward oblique or vertical KS-87 camera, Station 2 could carry a single KA-87 low-altitude camera, and Station 3 normally carried a single KA-55A or KA-91 high-altitude panoramic camera. The much larger KS-91 or KS-127A camera could also be carried. Unlike the cameras of the Air Force's RF-4Cs, the RF-4B's cameras were fitted on rotating mounts so that the pilot could aim them at targets off the flight path.
The rear cockpit was configured for a reconnaissance systems operator, with no flight controls being provided. Two ALE-29A/B chaff/flare dispensers were installed, one on each side of the aircraft above the rear fuselage. For nighttime photography, a set of photoflash cartridges could be ejected upward from each side of the aircraft.
An AN/APQ-102 reconnaissance SLAR was fitted, with antenna faired into the lower fuselage sides, just ahead of the intakes. This SLAR was capable of tracking both fixed and moving targets. An AN/AAD-4 infrared reconnaissance system was fitted in the fuselage belly just behind the SLAR. AN APR-25/27 radar homing and
warning system was used, an ASW-25B one-way datalink was installed. An ALQ-126 deceptive electronic countermeasures package was installed, which obviated the need to carry external jammer pods. An ARC-105 communication transceiver was fitted, which required that large fin-skin shunt antennae be faired into both sides of the vertical fin. A Litton ASN-48 inertial navigation system was carried.
The first 34 RF-4Bs (BuNos 151975/151982 and 152089/153113) retained the powerplants and the basic airframe of the F-4B. However, the last twelve (BuNos
153114, 153115, and 157342/157351) were built with the wide wheels and the "thick" wing of the F-4J. The last three of these (157349/157351) were completed with the smoothly-rounded undernose bulge similar to that seen on many USAF RF-4Cs. This adaptation improved the aerodynamics and increased the internal volume. However, on these three aircraft, the pilot no longer had control of the angle of a KS-87 camera on station 2, which was made fixed.
The film could be developed in flight and film cassettes could be ejected at low altitude so that ground commanders could get aerial intelligence as rapidly as possible.
The first RF-4B flew on March 12, 1965, and deliveries of 46 examples took place between May 1965 and December 1970. All of them went to the Marine Corps.
The RF-4B was first delivered to VMCJ-3 based at MCAS El Toro in May of 1965, and soon after to VMCJ-2 at MCAS Cherry Point and to VMCJ-1 at Iwakuni in Japan.
VMCJ-1 based at Iwakuni in Japan took its RF-4Bs to Da Nang in October of 1966. During the Southeast Asia conflict, three RF-4Bs were lost to ground fire and one was destroyed in an operational accident.
Beginning in 1975, surviving Marine Corps RF-4Bs were upgraded as part of Project *SURE* (Sensor Update and Refurbishment Effort). There was some local strengthening of the airframe and the wiring was entirely replaced. These planes were fitted with the AN/ASN-92 carrier aircraft inertial navigation system (CAINS)
which replaced the ASN-48. They were also fitted with the AN/ASW-25B datalink, the AN/APD-10B SLAR (replacing the APQ-102A), and the AN/AAD-5
infrared reconnaissance set (replacing the AN/AAD-4). Various externally-mounted electronic countermeasures pods were replaced by the internally-mounted ALQ-126 or -126B electronic countermeasures suite with characteristic cable ducts mounted on the sides of the intakes. The J79-GE-8 engines were later replaced by J79-GE-10 engines.
In 1975, two years after combat in Southeast Asia had ended, the surviving RF-4Bs were regrouped into a new squadron, VMFP-3, based at MCAS El Toro. VMFP-3 stood down in August of 1990, bringing Marine Corps operations of the RF-4B to an end.
Serial numbers of the RF-4B:
151975/151977 McDonnell RF-4B-20-MC Phantom (USMC)
151978/151979 McDonnell RF-4B-21-MC Phantom (USMC)
151980/151981 McDonnell RF-4B-22-MC Phantom (USMC)
151982/151983 McDonnell RF-4B-23-MC Phantom (USMC)
153089/153094 McDonnell RF-4B-24-MC Phantom (USMC)
153095/153100 McDonnell RF-4B-25-MC Phantom (USMC)
153101/153107 McDonnell RF-4B-26-MC Phantom (USMC)
153108/153115 McDonnell RF-4B-27-MC Phantom (USMC)
157342/157346 McDonnell RF-4B-41-MC Phantom (USMC)
157347/157351 McDonnell RF-4B-43-MC Phantom (USMC)
1. The World's Fighting Planes, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.
2. McDonnell F-4 Phantom: Spirit in the Skies. Airtime Publishing, 1992.
3. The American Fighter, Enzo Angelucci and Peter Bowers, Orion, 1987.
4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.