1969 F-4E Phantom II Thunderbird; Hasegawa 1/72
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Thunderbirds Phantom II F-4E
Hi fellow modellers,
Proceeding my Thunderbird series, I post a quite old build that I’ve missed before.
The Phantom II F-4E
Hope you like,
A white T-bird
The Thunderbirds started the 1969 training season still in the F-100Ds, but in the spring of that year, received the first of the new McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom IIs and began the team’s conversion. The F-4’s conversion was the most extensive in the team’s history. Among several other modifications, the paint scheme changed due to the variations in chemicals, which allows paint used on the F-4 to resist heat and friction at Mach II speeds. As a result, the white paint base was developed and remains a part of today’s Thunderbird aircraft design.
This would be the only period in which both the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels would fly the same aircraft. However, the Phantoms supplied to the T-Birds had originally been painted camouflage green and therefore had to be painted over in white with the traditional team markings on top of that. Though this extra paint added an additional 800 pounds to an already 20 ton monster, it established a new paint scheme which all later T-Bird aircraft would follow.
The added weight had little effect on flying the Phantom because, as Thunderbird Crew Chief Mike Jacobssen would later write: “No airplane in Thunderbird history has the hair-on- the-chest brutality of the F-4. Like the B-52, the F-4 was not a machine called ’she.’” However, this power came at a high cost -- in fuel. Accordingly, when the fuel crisis came in the early 1970s and the Blue Angels simultaneously had several accidents in their Phantoms, “we were guilty by association” according to T-Bird Maintenance Supervisor Roger Hemme. Because five T-38 Talons could fly on the fuel used by a single F-4E -- and because for political purposes the military had to show it was “conserving” energy like everyone else -- the Thunderbirds transitioned to the Talon in 1974.
A sooty #4
One of the jets always had a very distinctive variation on this livery, with a black tail. There's a very good reason for why the "slot" jet, the aircraft assigned to fly in the position right behind the lead plane, was colored this way and why the individual at the controls invariably became known as 'Captain Carbon.'
At the time of my build, there was not many 1:72 F-4E kits, so I went with the old Hasegawa. It’s an old kit, with a lot of fitting problems and lack of detail.
I managed to get some decals but, they were so bad that I ended up painting all the livery. It’s just a matter of masking and spraying paint 😀