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F-4B Phantom II- aircraft carrier diorama . . McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is surely one of the most famous jet fighters. Images of this legendary, Mach 2.2 capable machine, wreaking havoc over Vietnam, are quite likely to be familiar to all of you. A tandem-seat fighter-bomber designed as a carrier-based interceptor, entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force quickly followed the suit, and at the end, eleven other nations operated aircraft of the Phantom family. Some of the air forces still use them, even though more than fifty years have passed since the first one rolled out of the production line. Total number of 5.195 examples completed, some of them license built in Japan, makes it the most numerous American supersonic military aircraft. Legendary Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown once said that Phantom might look like hell when it’s about to land with the undercarriage down, but is a great aeroplane to fly. Talking about landing gear, I am sure that some of you have seen the pictures of ridiculously long extendable nose wheel that British have installed on their Phantoms. When I was deciding what color scheme to choose, the attractive VF-51 Screaming Eagles based aboard USS Coral Sea, seemed a good idea. Plain white stickers were cut to proper size, some of them painted with grey paint and detailed with marker pens, and some of them just with the latter ones. I guess the nose of my Phantom will be a nightmare for any LEGO purist, because one can quickly realize that this is a non-LEGO piece. I won’t tell you what it is, try to guess, I can only say that grey was not its original color… I tried to build it with LEGO, but lacking the suitable pieces, and not wanting to copy ideas used by other builders, I decided to use this thing at the end. The cockpit frame was made with the help of the stickers which also enabled me to angle it a little bit. The MD-3 Tow Tractor is a pneumatic tired, diesel powered tractor intended for towing all carrier based aircraft. Designed in early 1950’s, it managed to establish a good reputation and remained in service for years- with some improvements of course. I really like the way this small yellow MOC turned out, I actually like it more than the Phantom itself. But sssh, don’t tell this to the big bird! I found an old Verlinden painted flight deck section and I said to myself that it can do no harm if I use it here. Rear view with the engine exhausts and the arresting hook lowered. Phantom had numerous loadout options, combination of bombs, fuel tanks and air-to-air rockets, being a common one. I tried to make the clothes of deck crew as accurate as possible, and I hope I’ve managed to capture the atmosphere of a busy day aboard USS Coral Sea. The ‘in-flight’ shots were made with the help of over twenty five years old East German fishing line I found in a drawer (reminiscent of ex-YU times). How ironic, American plane, hanging in the air, completely dependent on quality of Eastern Block product, hehehe… I don’t know why, but I’m somehow attracted to this photo. And I think it is just calling to be photoshopped with a sunrise over Gulf of Tonkin or something similar in the background.

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