F-4 Phantom Final Year in Japan

F-4 Phantom Final Year in Japan

It is 2020 and F-35, F-22, Su-57 are the players in the sky. Quite surprisingly some old-timers like MiG-21 and F-4 Phantom are still around. If you wonder why, well, the reason is that they were that good from the get go. That’s right. Even developed in the 50s, those two jets are legendary and still in use to this day.

F-4 Phantom for example: it still serves in Japanese, Turkish, Iranian and Korean air forces. Latter one with planned retirement 4 years from now. And in 2020, Japan will retire their Phantoms. 60 years from the introduction of the legendary jet. Yes, sixty years…

Japan is famous for their quality in regards to everything. From modeling perspective we all know that they provide us with the best kits ever produced and probably this will be like that for decades to come. Aside from that, Japan is famous for their Phantoms and the fact, that when there is some sort of anniversary, we get to see an attractive paint scheme on one of those beasts. Usually one to remember.

Hasegawa is probably the biggest producer of Phantom kits, mostly in 48th and 72nd scales. Not only that, but they tend to release those anniversary versions in separate packages, which unfortunately don’t sit long enough on the shelves. They are very tempting, and as we all know – pretty accurate. It is true, that nowadays Academy upped their game especially when it comes down to F-4 Phantom in 48th scale, and we have the flawless Zoukei-Mura as well. On the larger end Tamiya is dominating with their 32nd beast and we are anxiously waiting for TAD models to release their 32nd version. Besides, the 48th scale kits from Academy and Zoukei-Mura are considered superior to Hasegawa’s and its Revell repacks.

However, nobody else does the Kai version. Nor provides the color schemes like Hasegawa. And since it is the last year for Japanese Phantoms, we decided to pay special attention to those. And the reasons for that are that these kits are disappearing quickly and now, in 2020, more than ever, you gotta be fast if you want one of those in your stash.

On the 48th scale scene we have some very interesting offers available. Those are the special painted black and white sibling F-4EJs, both painted with an eagle on its sides and representing similar appearance with different color variations. 

They were introduced in 2019, when some of the F-4s in Japan were retired. Also, gloriously demonstrated at numerous events in Japan. If you search for that, you will see many videos featuring those two, flying formation together or with another F-4 Phantoms. Showing off pure power.

F-4EJ Kais that you see up on the pictures are still easy to be found. Prices are decent too. However, the very first one /blue/ shown in the article is already a rarity. Despite the fact that they are identical toolings, modelers know and appreciate the fact that each packing has its own and unique value. Thus, you might be getting almost the same thing, but if you want to be absolutely spot on with the release and it is already gone… well, you have to pay. Usually to someone who was quicker deciding.

On the 72nd scale market, Hasegawa released an interesting version that is also pending release in quarter scale any moment now. That is the famous ribbon-like painted Frog F-4 Phantom, which in smaller scale is already a precious find. The reason is, that it is very popular and a definite best seller. In three out of the four websites that we know of having it recently, now it is already sold out.

The other two eagles mentioned above in 48th are too available in the smaller scale and again from Hasegawa:

And the tooling is not bad at all. Even smaller. But what if you already posses Revell, Italeri or you are just want to convert your Academy to EJ Kai? What if you are waiting for the upcoming Zoukei-Mura E version and want to stick to that? Those might not be the best decisions time-wise and will really test your skills, but some might want to go that road.

What if…you want to go larger than 48th?

There is an answer for that too:This above will give you any of the popular scales and even though won’t be a special scheme edition from Hasegawa, it will still represent the idea of the Farewell to the Japanese Phantoms. Especially for Tamiya’s 32nd scale Kai, which is also unique in its availability. Pretty tricky to find a new one and in decent condition too.

Besides all, we really think /and hope/ that Eduard won’t stay put and will eventually release one of their Super Kits covering the farewell paint schemes plus some photo-etch and resin goodies that they love to put inside. There are plenty of Phantoms with Japanese insignia, more than enough to cover not one, but two or more Limited Edition releases from the Czech model maker.

Still thinking? Go to YouTube and type: 1-300 in the search bar. There is that guy that films absolutely stunning Japanese jets in slow-mo, showing superb detail. The videos are somewhat enchanting, capturing not only the aircraft beauty but the idea of the flight itself. Pure grace. Plenty of Phantoms to admire. Even if you are not a fan, you will risk falling in love with the double ugly.

Watch couple of those videos. Then check out the kits again. And say “Goodbye and thank you for your service” to the mighty F-4EJ Kai. We, at DN Models will pay our respects later in 2020. So stay tuned for updates.

Don’t forget – 2020 is Japanese Phantoms’ final year.