John Noack was kind enough to let me do this as an in-the-box review, since it’s a rerelease of a version of the Hasegawa F-4 that’s been around for a while. It’s still among the best F-4 kits on the market. With the differences in the available kits narrowing over the last several years, it comes down to personal choice. Personally, I like the Hasegawa F-4s just fine, though I have more than a few examples of almost everybody else’s in my collection, too. To the kit…
The F-4EJ is just an F-4E that was built in Japan for use by the Japanese Air Self Defense Force. The F-4EJ Kai is an upgrade of existing aircraft to give them modernized equipment and to extend their service lives into the 21st century. The visible differences are twin Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) antennas on the trailing edge of the fincaps, RWR antennas on the wingtips, a couple of larger blade antennas, and strengthening strips on the nose radome. Those strips are the only things I could find that Hasegawa missed on.
The cockpit is typical for Hasegawa kits of the period the F-4 kits were originally released. Well proportioned (deep enough without being too deep), sufficient bulkheads to prevent seeing into the rest of the model, multi-part seats that build up into acceptable replicas of the Martin-Baker ejection seats, control sticks that are reasonably accurately shaped, and smooth panels and decals for all the instrument and control panels. This kit has very accurate looking decals for the upgraded radar and instruments. And, a big positive in my book, the radar scopes, RWR scopes, and other instruments are portrayed OFF or dark. Sorry, pet peeve showing through, there.
The molds have held up extremely well. I found no flash on the kit anywhere. There is one new sprue that has the parts specific to the EJ Kai. The rest of the kit builds up just like every other Hasegawa F-4. In fact, with the parts in the kit, you can build any hard-wing F-4E except the TISEO jets. The kit includes different fincaps, drag chute doors, gun blast deflectors, and wingtips. It also includes slat actuators for the main wing, but not the slatted wing fold. Not to worry if you’re doing the EJ or EJ Kai, though. They were all hard wing jets.
As you can see from the scan of the decals, the sheet is very comprehensive. There are a ton of stencil decals, appropriate for the aircraft covered by the sheet. Those aircraft are painted FS36320 and FS36375 topsides over FS36375 and represent aircraft from the 302nd Squadron from Naha AB, 306th Squadron from Komatsu AB, and 301st Squadron from Nyutabaru AB.
As I said before, this is one of the best F-4 kits around in 1/72 scale. A very good looking replica can be built straight out of the box and, if you’re like me and have a crippling case of AMS, lots of aftermarket companies make photoetch and resin upgrades for it.
Highly recommended, especially for those Phantom Phanatics out there who, like me, hold a dear place in our hearts for the long-nosed, bent-winged bug sucker. Special thanks to Hobbico and Hasegawa USA for supplying the kit and to John Noack for letting me review it.