by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Originally published on:
Among the latest items in Plus Model's "Aero Line" are a air of quarterscale F-4 Phantom II jockeys.
The two standing figures are beautifully sculpted, and the casting basically perfect in the sample set, with not a blemish in sight. There's nothing in the package to indicate precisely what period the figures represent, but comparing the flight gear with period photos, everything looks in keeping for Vietnam-era USAF crews, with what look to be CSU-3/P g-suits and survival vest, plus HGU-2A/P helmets.
The sample came via Jim Starkweather and, unbeknown to me, Jim had already done some preliminary preparation prior to taking his own photos. The figures arrive cast with substantial "pillars" either side and a thin wafer of resin between the legs to ensure adequate flow. Jim assures me that clean-up was pretty quick and easy. That done, the figures remain attached with thin pour stubs to their casting plinths that will serve as a useful mounts while painting. The proportions of both figures look excellent and the detail is crisp and sharp and will really repay careful painting.
Along with the figures comes a small generic set of well printed decals offering insignia for the flight suits and flamboyant chevrons and lightning flashes for the white helmets. A point worth noting for anyone depicting a Vietnam scene is that many pilots learned the hard way how easily spotted the standard white helmets were, so they were often camouflaged.
As with other sets in the series, there are no instructions per se, simply a illustration of each figure that shows the general colours and which decals to use. Following a few on-line threads on '60s flight gear, the consensus seems to be that colours varied a fair bit, especially as clothing got worn and weathered, so the artwork provided is quite adequate - although it would be an improvement to show the figures from the back as well.
ConclusionAero Line's figures are really well produced. I presume that flight gear must have changed to some extent during the Phantom II's long career, so you may want to do a bit of research to pin down precisely what era these figures best represent - my guess is "Vietnam" era, and I'd imagine they'd be equally suitable for other USAF fighters of the period too. Recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.