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History and Pattern
The for USAF F-4 Phantom II relevant techical manuals (T.O.s) were 1F-4C-3-1-6 (Corrosion Control) and 1-1-4 (Exterior Finishes, Insignia and Markings). These two T.O.s were updated roughly every five years. The European 1 camouflage scheme was introduced, when a revised version of T.O. 1-1-4 became effective in 1985. The paint scheme consisted of three main colors:
FS 34102 medium green,
FS 34079 forest green,
FS 36081 dark gunship grey.
The Euro 1 lizzard pattern was quite similar in apperance to the standard SEA-camo on the top surfaces, however, with more simplified demarcation lines. On the bottom, the single tone FS 36622 light aircraft grey gave way to a three-tone varigated or lizzard camouflage pattern, consisting of the three afore mentioned colors from the Federal Standard 595B range.
Interestingly a lot of mistakes in the original T.O. 1-1-4 were made in re to the pattern and its outlines on the bottom surfaces. Some colors were accidentally swapped or put in places where they actually did not make any sense and disrupted the flow of the pattern. So it was not always easy for maintenace staff to find and apply the correct pattern when painting the aircraft at depot level.
Stencils & Markings
Up to the the mid-1970s, F-4s featured decal-like self-adhesiv stencils and markings, and tons of those. These were then replaced by spray-on stencils/markings, applied in the typical stencil-type font we all know.
Starting with the 1983 T.O. update, the amount of stencils and markings on the F-4 was subsequently reduced to just the most important ones. In addition, panel numbers were reduced from 1 inch to 0.5 inch font size, however, not always was the T.O. implemented properly and the older 1 inch style could be found on recently painted aircraft. Stencil application in general varied greatly from aircraft to aircraft, due to wear and tear and other factors such as when the aircraft was scheduled for depot level maintenance, because only then it scheduled to received a complete new paint job. On the other hand many Euro 1 clad F-4 Phantom aircraft did not feature any panel numers at all, so it makes sense to check your refenerce carefully, when researching your most favorite model making subject.
The nationla insignia could be found on four places – on both sides of the fuselage, in flight-direction right in front of door 54, as well as on the top of the outer left wing and the bottom of the outer right wing. The size of the US star was 15 inches in diameter on camouflaged aircraft. Reference to the size of the star was always made in re to the basic circle, on which the star is constructed and not to its black or dark grey outlines. During the existence of the Euro 1 camouflage the US stars were mainly applied in black FS 37038 or dark grey contrasting color. The exeption here are the Hertiage QF-4 Phantoms, who also had blue, white and red US national insignia.
Paints for Model Making
A high quality brand that offers all the above mentioned colours is AK Interactive from Spain with their fantatsic Real Colors range of paints. These are acrylic paints and spray perfectly and smoothly, especially when diluted with their own thinner by 50% to 70%. The order numbers for AK Interactive paints are as follows:
FS 34079 (RC 027)
FS 34102 (RC 08)
FS 36081 (RC 243)
Of course CSI Creos/Gunze Sangyo's Mr. Color range also features these paints and these are compatible with the AK Interactive piants and thinner:
FS 34079 (#309)
FS 34102 (#303)
(FS 36081 (#301)
Great solely water based acrylic paints are those of CSI Creos/Gunze's Aqueos Hobby Color. The numbers you might need for the Euro 1 camo are H301, H303 and H309. The Aqueos Hobby Colors can neither be used with AK Interactive nor with Mr. Color paints, as the solvent is a completely different product.
Here now the most accurate European 1 camouflage pattern, to help you make your model perfect. We used an F-4G as basis, but the pattern can easily be used for the F-4D, F-4E as well as the RF-4C. Please don't forget to check original photos and your reference carefully before you start paining your model, as the orignial pattern differed from aircraft to aircraft.