Caracal Models CD 72104: QF-4B Navy Drone Phantoms

Units: See review




Scott Van Aken

Unlike the USAF, the Navy used Phantom drones in various test programs. This was either as a chase aircraft or to test systems that could prove hazardous to the pilot if something went wrong. It was only after several years of missions that they might be expended as a full scale target. Usually it was versions of the Firebee that were blown to bits.

Once all the QF-4Bs were expended, the QF-4Ns and QF-4Ss were left in their standard colors with large international orange patches or in some cases in the very end, no additional colors at all. There are actually not that many good kits of the F-4B in 1/72 and while we have had newer F-4Js, one still has to rely on the Hasegawa or Fujimi kits for the F-4B.

There are six options on this sheet. Most are painted in International Orange with black nose areas and either black or dark grey intake walkways. One that is not shown is a plain Jane F-4B in overall air superiority blue. All are from test units and several are the same unit after going through name changes.

Two of them are from the Naval Air Development Center with different tail designs. One is from the Naval Missile Command and two are from the Pacific Missile Test Center. For the PMTC, the two options differ by serial number and that the latter does not have the PMTC marking. For that one you simply cut it away. You are also give the badges for the PMTC in case you want to paint the blue fin stripe. The overall air superiority blue plane has no distinguishing markings aside from nose number 98 and was assigned to VX-4. Note that I've darkened the sheet to allow the white bits to be more easily seen.

The decals are superbly printed by Cartograf and you are supplied sufficient common markings for two planes along with fuselage/wing walk areas for one aircraft. About the only external mods required will be fabricating a pair of UHF antennas for the nose.

November 2020

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