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The Modern Phantom Guide
The F-4 Phantom Exposed

by Jake Melampy

Reid Air Publications

S u m m a r y

Publication Details:

The Modern Phantom Guide; The F-4 Phantom Exposed.




Soft cover, 227 pages


USD$41.95 from the publisher's web site.

Review Type:

First Read


In depth and detailed photographic coverage of US Air Force versions of the F-4 Phantom and some overseas operators.



Highly Recommended 

Reviewed by Darren Mottram

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Before I begin my review I should point out that I did provide a (very) few photos which have been used in this book I don't believe this will colour my views or opinions offered in this review at all but simply felt that I should mention it in the interest of openness and honesty.

This latest book from Jake Melampy is quite large, at 227 pages (which is only fitting, given the subject), and provides a very detailed, photographic coverage of the F-4 Phantom C/D/E/F/G variants, as well as the RF-4C, RF-4E and QF-4 versions.

Like previous books in the series, it is laid out in a fairly logical sequence. After a brief introduction and background to the Phantom (well, nearly 20 pages is "brief" for the F-4 ;) ), the detailed, photographic coverage starts (quite logically) at the front with the radome and radar (or cameras and their associated bays) of each version in turn, then continues on around the airframe covering the cockpit (external then internal), fuselage, wings, pylons, wheel wells, engines etc. There are a further set of Appendices at the end of the book which also cover details specific to the ARN-101 modifications carried out on later jets, the Luftwaffe's F-4F ICE versions, including radar, cockpits and airframe details; similar coverage of the hellenic Air Force's F-4E AUP machines and finishes off with coverage of the details specific to the airframes modified to QF-4E and QF-4G target drone standards.


  • Modern Phantom Guide Book Review by Darren Mottram: Image
  • Modern Phantom Guide Book Review by Darren Mottram: Image
  • Modern Phantom Guide Book Review by Darren Mottram: Image
  • Modern Phantom Guide Book Review by Darren Mottram: Image
  • Modern Phantom Guide Book Review by Darren Mottram: Image
  • Modern Phantom Guide Book Review by Darren Mottram: Image
  • Modern Phantom Guide Book Review by Darren Mottram: Image
  • Modern Phantom Guide Book Review by Darren Mottram: Image
  • Modern Phantom Guide Book Review by Darren Mottram: Image
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An indication of the level of coverage and attention to detail that this book provides can be gauged by the fact that, throughout the book, there are 74 pages used just to document the cockpit areas and seats of the variants covered!

The captions are more than just a repetition of what you can see for yourself see in the photos as well, providing interesting and informative explanations and background for what you are looking at as well as often drawing your attention to the smaller details or variations that may not be obvious at first sight.

Another indication of how much information is provided is that, while in the previous books on the A-10, F-15 and F-16, there have been a significant number of pages devoted to covering the weapons used by these types as well at the airframes themselves, this book is almost all about the Phantom! Given the type's use over such a long period of time, and with so many users, it would have been impractical to adequately cover all the different types of weapons used throughout the F-4's long and distinguished career, so it is understandable that the decision has been made not to include these (with a couple of F-4 specific exceptions). Besides which, many of them are already well covered in the other books in the series.

As with Jake's previous "Exposed" volumes on the F-15, F-16 and A-10, the level of coverage and access which he has achieved is truly amazing and a lot of effort has obviously been put in behind the scenes to have enabled such a detailed and thorough coverage of just about every inch of the F-4 imaginable. It isn't just a couple of general overview shots per subject either. Jake has delved right into each nook and cranny and provides close up photos of many of the smallest details along with different angles of many areas which leaves the reader in no doubt as to exactly what's there. This is even more remarkable given the rarity of operational examples in the US today. And neither are they restored museum pieces or boneyard skeletons either. The airframes covered have all been flyable standard airframes, whether it be the Collings Foundation's airworthy F-4D or F-4E, G and RF-4C airframes being brought back to airworthy status before being entered into the QF-4 conversion program (all of these jets have to fly as fully serviceable, stock standard airframes after they are recovered from the storage facility at Davis Monthan, before they are sent to Mojave for conversion). Whilst they areas covered may not be totally pristine, they are airworthy and reresentative of operational equipment. This material is also supplemented by historical, in service photos from various other contributors and sources.

It is really very hard to find any fault with this book. If there is anything, it may be that only "Air Force" versions are covered, but I can only imagine the size and cost of any book which tried to be all things for everyone on this subject. The quality of photo reproduction is very good throughout , being printed on high quality satin paper and the book itself has an overall feel of a good, quality product. For anyone wanting to add that little something extra to their F-4 model, looking for that "one" book on the Phantom or even if you're just interested in the F-4 in general (and who isn't? ;-) ), this book would have to be very high on the "must have" list.

Highly Recommended.


Review Copyright 2010 by Darren Mottram
This Page Created on 21 April, 2010
Last updatd 21 April, 2010

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