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RF-4B Phantom II Detail Set

Aires, 1/48 scale



S u m m a r y

Details: Aires #4330 - RF-4B Phantom II Detail Set for Hasegawa
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 50 parts cast in grey coloured resin; 5 parts in clear resin; photo-etched fret
Price: GBP£26.81 available online from Hannants
and from specialist model retailers worldwide
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Amazing detail; comprehensive coverage; high quality casting; worthwhile donor kit; definite improvement over kit parts
Disadvantages: Experience working with resin and photo-etch will be essential
Recommendation: Recommended to experienced modellers.

Reviewed by Brett Green

Aires' 1/48 scale RF-4B Detail Set will be available online from Squadron.com

F i r s t  L o o k


A recent release from Aires Hobby Models is 4330 a detail set engineered for Hasegawa’s 1/48 scale RF-4B Phantom II kit.


That was my first impression on opening the box and spilling the contents onto my workbench. The sheer amount of parts is what strikes you first closely followed by the fine and complex detail that has been cast into the resin parts. Once you take it all in you realise that what you have scattered before you is far more than just another resin upgrade set, it is more like a kit in itself which, once completed, will turn your basic Hasegawa RF-4 into a real stunner.

The set is mixed-media containing resin and etched metal parts as well as a clear acetate sheet. The resin parts total fifty pieces in all, forty eight cast in a mid-grey and reasonably flexible resin (it won’t snap by just looking at it!) and five pieces in clear resin. The acetate sheet holds printed instruments for the front and rear cockpits as well as two extremely, and I mean extremely, small parts that I take to be card holders to be attached to the canopy rails. The photo-etch fret holds 50 odd pieces.

The detail that has been cast into the resin parts is just superb in raw resin and I’m sure that it will look absolutely outstanding once it has been painted, washed and dry-brushed.

The photo-etch fret is very comprehensive too. It contains parts for the canopy rails, instrument panels, ejection seats harnesses, afterburner flame holders and parts to simulate the fuselage frames that will show once the camera bay panels have been “opened up”. The metal used for the fret is soft, easy to work with and manipulate. Being soft, it also gives you a second chance if you goof and have to re-fold the parts.

The set is basically concentrates on the cockpit and nose of the RF-4 with the vast majority of parts being assigned to these areas. You also get the three undercarriage bays and gear doors for the main gear as well as burner cans both the long and the short versions.

The cockpit area follows the same principle adopted by Aires for all of their F-4 cockpit sets in that parts are minimal with everything cast in one piece rather than separate, tiny and fiddly details. I personally like this approach as there are fewer parts to prepare (and lose!).

With the nose, the engineering of the parts will see you cutting just two panels from each side of the forward fuselage and then placing the resin parts inside of each side of the fuselage. By going this way, you will be able to view the cameras and their bays from underneath as well as from each side. The detail cast into the nose pieces is as equally impressive as the cockpit and will result in an impressive model to say the least.

Does it fit? My usual and customary dry-fit of the cockpit tub (with the sidewalls taped on) into the fuselage of one my un-built Hasegawa F-4 kits tells me that it is not too wide and the length looks right. The nose parts are much the same too but be aware that you will still need to do a fair amount of work to modify the kit parts to ensure that you can close the fuselage halves properly. The undercarriage bays for the main gear do require substantial grinding and sanding to make them fit. The last ones I did saw the roof of the bays and the wing top translucent before I would consider it “done”.

Assembly instructions are contained on two A-4 sized sheets that show 'exploded views' of the suggested assembly sequence as well as a 'parts map' to assist you in identifying each of the set’s parts.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


As with all of the Aires resin cockpit sets, there are no painting instructions at all. Even the photograph of the set’s parts on the box top shows unpainted resin and photo-etch parts. Thankfully, for those of us with internet access at least, you can easily find reference pictures by doing a quick “Google”! Those of you without internet though are on your own!

Is it accurate? From what I could find on the net, and in my meagre reference library, the parts look sufficiently like a one-to-one-scale RF-4B to me. A disclaimer though! I did not find two pics that were labelled as RF-4B that were the same!

Packaging - the set’s resin parts are packed into two separate zip-loc bags which are then wrapped in a small piece of plastic bubble wrap. The photo-etch fret and acetate sheet are placed into a plastic bag containing a piece of thick cardboard to keep them flat. The bubble wrapped parts and the cardboard carrier are then placed inside a flimsy cardboard box that is, unfortunately, easily crushed.





In summary, this is a very nice set indeed. Price wise, though, it is not cheap at all. If this is a concern, please note that Aires do offer the parts in separate sets – 4220 contains the parts for the cockpit, whilst is 4231 is the camera bay set. You can also purchase the afterburner cans and undercarriage parts as other separate sets as well. If price is a factor, you might also want to consider purchasing the set with a couple of friends and dividing the parts and the cost.

I would recommended this set to the experienced modeller given the amount of preparation required to both the resin parts as well as the kit parts to make it all go together, not to mention the tiny photo-etch parts.

Recommended to experienced modellers.

Thanks to Aires for the sample

Aires accessories and conversions are available online from Aires website
and in retail model shops worldwide

Review Copyright © 2007 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 16 May, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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