Italeri 1/72 F-4E Phantom II – Turkish 2020 Terminator
Here’s the first finished model in my F-4 long-term project. I used the Italeri F-4 E/F/G kit, as it has been recommended as one of the better kits for depicting the wing slats and slotted stabs of later-variant E’s.
The Turkish 2020 Terminator is has been called the most capable and maneuverable Phantom on the planet, rivaled only by the Japanese F-4EJ Kai. From an article at this link: https://militarywatchmagazine.com/article/terminator-2020-why-the-f-4-phantom-is-still-turkey-s-fastest-highest-flying-and-most-heavily-armed-fighter-jet
“The fighters have had 20km of internal wiring replaced by lighter modern systems, reducing their weight by a phenomenal 750kg and thereby significantly enhancing the aircraft’s trust/weight ratio making it more manoeuvrable and better suited to air to air engagements. New attachment fittings allow the Turkish Phantoms to more effectively deploy modern weapons, while modern avionics including the Kaiser EL-OP HUD and HOTAS systems, an advanced EL/M-2032 pulse doppler radar and state of the art Israeli mission computers and navigation equipment have all been added. State of the art electronic warfare pods, targeting pods, and the ability to deploy modern munitions have made Turkey’s Phantoms viable as modern combat platforms.”
Israel had originally designed the upgrade, as it intended to upgrade it’s F-4 Kurnass fleet, but with acquisition of newer fighters and the reluctance of US defense industries to help, didn’t go through with it. They ended up using their expertise to upgrade the Turkish fleet instead.
In addition, the Turkish defense industry designed and created the SOM cruise missile – if I’m not mistaken creating the only cruise-missile-toting Phantom on the planet.
I added some details to the cockpit, but not much, as with it being closed up it wasn’t going to be very visible. I did use PE face curtains and aftermarket pilots, as those are most visible next to the canopy glass.
I did a lot of rivet work – as much as I could without being able to get into corners. I made the mistake of adding the wings before I decided to rivet – next time I’ll rivet first so I can get further.
I had to do some modification to the tail to get the top of the fin and the additional sensors looking correct. The one below the fin is a bit large for scale, but close enough for me! Also added the correct blade aerials on the spine, and what appears to be a stiffener on each side of the vertical fin. I had read that the Terminator had longer strakes, but couldn’t find them in reference photos, so left the kit wing strakes as they were.
I couldn’t find any SOM missiles, so used a set of Taurus missiles out of a European Weapons set and modified it to look like the SOM – not perfect but darn close.
I’m still having trouble with my paint coat being too grainy, so I tried to sand it down a bit. Lost some paint and had to touch up, but that also gave me some nice effect on the raised panel details, so all was not lost. I did use the black-basing technique to get marbling beneath the grey scheme, and painted the wing walks. I realized the wing walks should have been a lighter grey than I used, but left it.
Having recently secured the Vajello Metal paints, I experimented trying to get a multi-hued effect on the metal work. My only disappointment is the “stripes” on the top of the stabs are too stark – I’ll try something else next time. Overall, I really enjoyed working with the Vajello metals.
It took me 3 sets of aftermarket decals to get everything I wanted. The 2020 Terminator set had most everything except that the rescue decals and rescue triangles beneath the cockpit were not low-viz, and there were no slime lights in the set. I used a MilSpec set of lights/wing walk decals to get the softer yellow lights I was after, and I luckily found another set of decals for a Turkish Phantom from a test unit that had the low-viz decals I needed. I did have to make some repairs of the shark mouth on the starboard side, as the decal tore during application. There was a second shark mouth set (different design) on the sheet, so I cut out some replacement teeth and then painted back in around them.
I also added sway braces to the pylons, and then a variety of weathering (AK pencils, Tamiya weathering sets, and the usual pastel chalks). I also lightened both of the grey colors of paint and thinned them down, then used a small brush to add the “panel line touch up,” per reference photos. One would have thought the touch up would have been darker paint, but in photos is shows up lighter (may be an optical illusion), so I went with the illusion!
I’ve already started the cockpits of my -EJ Kai and a Kurnass – so more Phantom Phun to come!
21 additional images. Click to enlarge.