August 2020

Phantom FG.1 892 Sqn

Phantom FG.1 767 Sqn

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McDonnell-Douglas Phantom FG.1

892 Naval Air Squadron, HMS ARK ROYAL, 1977

Fujimi 1/72

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ARK ROYAL’s Phantom fighters, combined with the Buccaneer strike aircraft and AEW Gannet gave the Royal Navy an immensely flexible force, more powerful than most world air arms and capable of rapid deployment around the world at short notice.  Sadly, the draw down of British forces in the 1970s and specifically the withdrawal from “east of Suez” meant that the RN was constrained to a single large carrier and even that was time limited.

Nevertheless, 892 Sqn’s Phantoms continued to make an effective and very visible contribution to NATO right up to the end, operating primarily in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, although like those of the RAF, the RN’s Phantoms were never to see combat. To reflect their perceived position as the RN’s last fixed wing aircraft, 892 added an Omega symbol to the aircraft’s tail markings.

Building Fujimi’s British Phantoms:

Both of these kits are essentially the same as last month’s FGR.2, albeit with provision of the longer RN front undercarriage, strop attachment hook inserts, slotted tailplanes and air to air weapons instead of ground attack.  I haven’t checked, but the engraving on the fin should be subtly different too.

Both are FG.1s, although for the second kit, Fujimi have used the manufacturer’s F-4K designation.

The first kit has options for 892 Naval Air Sqn, 43 Sqn RAF and 111 Sqn RAF, the last two both based at RAF Leuchars.  The Silver Jubilee 1977 markings are included along with alternative standard 892 markings

The second kit lacks the RWR fairing on top of the fin and also has decals for 892 Sqn, plus shore-based 767 Naval Air Sqn, 700P Naval Trials Sqn and the joint RAF/RN Phantom Training Flight at Leuchars.  

It should be noted that the first kit is also the same kit as Italeri’s current FG.1 issue (which is a lot cheaper and more available).  Italeri include much the same RAF markings as Fujimi, although the 892 ones are for an earlier 892 scheme, without the nose flash, but with an appealing mid-fuselage White Ensign which was flanked by 976 and 1976 in a sop to the US Navy’s 1976 bicentennial markings!  

The Fujimi FG.1 has actually appeared in two different releases, the second of which had a number of improvements; air brakes and middle flaps are included (they sag at rest), the auxiliary flank and underside intakes are improved and it comes with a vinyl wheel option (that most modellers disregard).  I think the cockpit detail may have been improved too.  One note of caution - I found the updated wing upper halves to be a less accurate fit than the originals.

It is debatable whether this kit is better than the current Airfix issue.  Its certainly an easier build, the Italeri issue is cheaper and it is comparable in accuracy although Airfix missed some prominent detail on the intakes and above the jet pipes.  The Airfix build options give it a bit of an advantage, although Fujimi’s more restrained panel lines are very much more to my preference (Phantoms were never covered in black lines!!!!!!.

The real thing:  RNAS Yeovilton’s very smart FG.1 is now back in its original 892 Sqn markings

Many more Phantoms, RN, RAF and Foreign on my F-4 Phantom Pages

See last month for some RAF Phantoms!

767 Sqn was the RN’s shore-based Phantom headquarters squadron, training RN pilots before they moved to 892 Sqn at sea.  With the intended drawdown of the RN Carrier force, 767 was disbanded after only  a short time in existence and its aircraft transferred to the RAF to replace Lightning’s in the interceptor role.   With this in mind, some 767 aircraft were delivered already painted in RAF camouflage.  

The role that had previously been undertaken by 767 eventually passed to a joint RAF-led unit at Leuchars, who operated ex-RN aircraft in extra dark sea grey, but without RN titles or RAF Tail flashes.


McDonnell-Douglas Phantom FG.1

767 Naval Air Squadron, RNAS Yeovilton, 1970

Fujimi 1/72