F-4 Phantom II

The first time I saw a McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II was in a black-and-white newsreel in a movie theater in the late 1960’s. The two things that impressed me were:

  • Its destructive power – the newsreel showed Phantoms bombing in Vietnam.
  • The disctinct shape of the wings, which was unlike that of any other warplane that I was familiar with at the time (mostly French and Russian).

The next time I saw a Phantom was at an airbase in Israel in 1969. It was immediately after the Phantoms arrived in Israel. What impressed me the most was:

  • The size of the fuselage. It reminded me of a locomotive.
  • The paint – It was brand new, and the shades of brown and tan were much more distinct than on the more faded camouflage paint scheme on the other types of planes.

The most impressive sight of Phantoms occurred when I saw 80 Phantoms in the Israel independence day flyby of 1973 over Jerusalem (5 x 16).

I also remember the 1970 flyby which included 27 Phantoms (9 x 3).

In the 1971 flyby (which I didn’t see) there were 61 Phantoms (as well as 80 Skyhawks !).

Card models

The Phantom II is a very popular card modeling subject. I am aware of at least 15 different model designs, and have seen progressively detailed and larger models, built to perfection.

I built only one model – The gray IAF magazine model, which is based on the Wilhemshavener model. See photo below. I found it to be a difficult model to build, and to the best of my recollection, it may have caused a number of youth to drop the hobby…Fast forward 30 or more years, and I met people who built with apparent ease numerous Phantom models. What this shows is that card modeling changed from a massively popular hobby (in Israel) to the domain of the few experts…


Pictures are copyright 2019 by Yosef Albert.

A note about quality: the pictures were taken many years ago.

Quonset Air Show, Rhode Island, USA
London Ontario air show, Canada
McGuire AFB, New Jersey, USA
Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida, USA
YF-4E at the Air Force Museum, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
Experimental version. Note the canard surfaces.
Greek Air Force Photo Reconnaissance Phantom. Royal International Air Tattoo, UK
IAF Magazine model which I built in the 1970’s