Hi amigos! I hope you are all doing well. It’s been about one year since I last uploaded. Given the current situation, I had some extra free time on my hands. Looking at the most recent additions to the game, I felt a strong urge to create something again.
As I live rather close to Hyakuri, the base that houses the last operational JASDF F-4EJ改 and RF-4E squadrons, the F-4EJ holds a very special place in my heart. It also gives me access to a lot of source material to create an 8K template with custom damage model, stencilling and weathering made from scratch. I used my own photography from the last few years of several operational F-4EJ’s as reference, as well as several Japanese books on the EJ in an attempt to create an accurate F-4EJ 8K template to use for uncompressed 8K DDS files.
I will add a disclaimer for the following: The 3D model does prevent certain things to be accurately adjusted, mostly around the tail, so there are a few minor inaccuracies if we’re talking F-4EJ models. Certain internal and tiny do-dat parts have been carried over from the original file and enhanced.
Produced by Mitsubishi in 1977, 77-8397 was part of the third F-4EJ batch ordered by the JASDF in 1973, after which is lived a relatively subdued life with the JASDF 301st Tactical Fighter Squadron. However, in 1989 the aircraft was one amongst several of the 301st to receive a special paint job for a fighter competition with joint USAF aircraft.
Four 301st F-4EJ’s received a black fin with a red fin tip, similar to US CAG aircraft, and the callsign ‘Amigo’ written in stylized letters on the fuselage sides. 77-8397 also received a sharkmouth on the nose at a later date while still wearing the paint scheme. Sadly the whole competition was postponed and eventually cancelled due to bad weather. 397 was the only aircraft to receive a ‘crooked’ Amigo callsign and sharkmouth in addition to the competition markings.
At a later point in life, the aircraft was transferred to the 501st recon squadron, which share the Hyakuri base with the 301st and 302nd. It is likely still serving there to this day as RF-4EJ 77-6397.
The F-4EJ with 301st
After the procurement of the F-4EJ by the Japanese Government, the JASDF made plans for 5 operational F-4EJ squadrons. The Hyakuri air base was the first to to house an operational F-4EJ squadron with two testbed aircraft handed over to the temporary 305th squadron on the First of May 1973.
Over the time, the unit evolved permanently into the 301st Tactical Fighter Squadron under the command of the 7th Wing. Soon after the squadron took on the iconic frog tail mark with a 7 starred scarf, affectionally called ‘Keroyon’ by its staff. The frog comes from local folklore of the nearby Mt. Tsukuba were oil would be produced from the sweat of the local Cattails toads inhabiting the mountain, giving the oil spiritual and healing powers. Meanwhile the 7 stars found on the yellow scarf are a nod to the squadron’s affiliation to the 7th air wing. Though the comical nature of the frog was initially questioned by some higher ranking staff within the JASDF, the marking quickly became one of the most iconic JASDF markings in recent history.
Sadly the time of the JASDF F-4EJ is limited, and as the last F-4EJ tactical fighter squadron the 301st will soon transition to the F-35A. However, because of the transition the squadron will also be decommisioned and ‘reborn’ at Misawa air base at Aomori Prefecture, meaning that the iconic frog tail marking based on local Hyakuri customs might soon be a part of the past as well.