I had built a couple of Hasegawa F-4s before, so knew what to expect. The cockpit tub is nicely presented with well detailed sidewalls and control panels. They came up really well with some careful painting. I had a couple of resin F-4 seats in my stash so I did not bother with the kit seats, although I have to say they are not at all bad and would look perfectly acceptable if used, perhaps with the addition of some harnesses.
I then spent a little time and effort cleaning up the fuselage seams, which are a little troublesome on this bird since there is so much real estate on the spine. It would be lovely if Hasegawa had taken a leaf out of Tamiya's book and done an "over and under" fuselage to avoid this problem.
Anyhow, rant over. The tail planes go on with minimal fuss, although as always with F-4s, getting the correct angle is a bit tricky. I then gave her a good rub down all over ready for painting. I masked the canopies with Tamiya tape and a steady scalpel hand, and sprayed the undercarriage bays white in the first instance. These were then masked off using their own kit doors on Blu-Tack, always a good way to do it if you can as you have a ready made mask and you get the doors painted with the rest of the model.
Since this was an all black scheme, I took the trouble to give the whole plane a good coat of primer. This revealed a few blemishes which had to be dealt with. Next I sprayed her all over with black with a small amount of brown mixed in. Pure black is TOO black for this kind of scheme in a scale model and the brown just gives it a more convincing hue. Once this was done I had to mask out the tail and exhaust sections which are silver and steel, and used Alclad Polished Aluminium for the shiny bits and Dark Aluminium for the exhaust sections which gave a nice contrast. A couple of good coats of Klear later and she was ready for decals.
I then sprayed the whole plane with satin varnish. The actual plane is gloss black but in 1/48 scale a full gloss finish just makes it look like a Dinky toy, so this was toned down accordingly. Scale gloss is actually more like satin, for your reference. I then applied a minimal bleaching to the centre of the panels using a highly thinned sky grey mix. Again, less is more here since the plane should not look too weathered, but this really helps to make it look more realistic.
The final task was to paint up the resin ejector seats and slot them in to the cockpit, before gluing in place the raised canopy hoods. This is a bit of a precarious operation that needs an incredibly steady hand, but when one has so much lovely detail in the cockpit it would be a crime not to show it off to its best advantage.
And so there we have it, a real beauty of a model if I say so myself. The kit is the best you will find in this scale (despite it's minor faults) and I will certainly be doing more "special" schemes in the future as they really do make a change from the norm. I hope you enjoy it!