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Inspiration for the next build

April 14, 2013 in Aviation

I had originally decided to build my Academy Phantom as a 1972 Sundowners bird, but then I ran across this picture. VF 84 USS Independence, 1965. It was Indy and 84s only Vietnam war cruise. Markings for the period were in a flux starting out with a simpler “flag” Jolly Roger on the tail and then at least some (200 and this bird) were painted with the all black tail seen here. Sadly every place I looked for decals were either too $$$$ or out of print. But a Hyperscaler came to my rescue and is sending me the Double Ugly decals for this scheme, so I think the Sundowners is on hold. A bonus for me is VF 84 was in my first CAG when I was a young Plane Captain in VAW 124 (many years after this picture was taken!) and I was aboard Indy for 4 years in VAW 115, so I have walked where this picture was taken many times 30 years later!

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12 responses to Inspiration for the next build

  1. Don’t forget to put every single decal on your Phantom – you know, the ones included in that Academy kit. That should take as long (if not longer) than the assembly process. Personally, I’m lookin’ forward to it – I think decaling is the best part of the build. Lookin’ forward to yours, though.

  2. Stencils are always an interesting subject on modern era (Vietnam through today) Naval Aircraft. I know the CODs on my Det had MOST of the stencils at the beginning of cruise, but as the cruise wore on many got painted over as we tried to keep ahead of the effects of sun, sand and then the salt air and spray on the boat. I have seen aircraft where the corrosion control shop has taken time to mask off or re-stencil everything, most just keep the essential ones regarding servicing and safety. Hawkeye and COD wings have color coded screws on the outer wing panels, most are grey by the time a squadron gets home!

  3. Awesome…I’m also working on a VF-84/VF-103/VFA-103 collection..I have an early Hasegawa F-4B that will have the flag decal…want to do a later J model with the all black tail and working on several F-14’s…I already did an F/A-18F that is pictured on this site…I know what you mean about Jolly Roger’s decals being $$$$$$….they are hard to find..

  4. Yes, there are a TON of F-14 decals for VF 84, but Phantom ones seem to be harder to come by. Actually the supply of F-4B decals that were everywhere when the Hasegawa kits were in their heyday seem to have all gone away as well. I am hoping we see more now that the Academy kit is out.

  5. I was Plane Captain of plane 211 on this cruise. I was standing in front of the #4 elevator when a centerline tank ruptured on one of our planes on take off when we returned from Vietnam. This was a beautiful plane.

  6. Wow Nelson that’s cool! Plane Captains get them up in the morning and put them to bed at night! I remember living with “my” bird an E-2C in VAW 124 601. So here is a question that a lot of folks have about the tail markings maybe you can answer, when during the cruise did the transition to the all black tail happen? Was it as pictures seem to suggest, that there was a mix throughout the cruise, “flag” tails and all black ones? And alaso thanks for your service, when I joined in ’86 the ‘Nam vets were the ones who were the 1st classes, Chiefs, Senior Chiefs and Master Chiefs that trained and inspired us. I loved hearing their stories.

    • Sorry for the two year delay in answering. I went to VF-84 in October of 1964 and left it in August of 1966. As best as I can remember, the tail was black the whole time I was with the squadron. I always thought 84 had the prettiest design of any squadron with F4’s.

  7. Rob, do you have any more pictures of that exact plane? I’ve searched around the net , but all I could find was this picture you posted.

  8. This was the only one I found as well

  9. Hello Rob!
    I’m just preparing to make complete diorama like it is shown on the picture.The biggest problem is in figures of pilots. There is so many of them… If you jave more information about the picture like is the plane chained or does it have only wheel chokes…That would be very useful.
    My wife and daughters also told me to do it…
    Robert Keretić

  10. Hi Robert, I don’t have a lot of information on the picture, most likely it is towards the end of cruise, at least that is when we always did squadron pictures like this when I was in. What I can say for sure is it would be tied down. I am not sure what the requirements are for F-4s as they were gone by the time I was in the USN. But three tie downs on the nose, three on each main mount (main landing gear) would probably be a good bet. Aircraft are always tied down except for when ever they are stationary on deck. There would also be chocks (metal USN style adjustable flight deck chocks) on each main mount. Hope this helps!

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