Geoff Coughlin, McDonell Douglas F-4 Phantom (Pen & Sword, 2022)
‘You either love it, or you hate it’; so writes Geoff Coughlin about one of the most recognisable warplanes that ever saw combat. You can guess which side of the equation he is on in this lavishly illustrated guide to the F-4 Phantom.
Coughlin works his way through the design and development of the Phantom, including weapons and propulsion. The Navy and Marines snapped them up as the Vietnam War escalated, with the Navy in particular adopting bright, distinctive colour schemes as if to flaunt the power of the plane. The Royal Navy and RAF soon adopted the Phantom with some alterations. Other air forces that bought or received Phantoms included: Australia, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey – Coughlin has photos of Phantoms from all of them. A section of graphic illustrations, showing camouflage and markings add to the excellent visual content. But the highlight of this book is the extended section on modelling Phantom kits. Coughlin is a modeller and highlights the plethora of Phantom kits on the market. He embarks on a trip through those different models, their positives, and their foibles. He is joined in this enterprise by other first-rate modellers and their spectacular finished kits.
Overall, this is a very attractive and informative survey of the Phantom F-4, and a useful addition to the Pen & Sword’s Flight Craft series. As a wee boy, I lived next to an RAF airfield, and I vividly remember the Phantoms roaring overhead on their way to intercept Soviet ‘Bears’. So, like Coughlin, I love Phantoms too! After reading his book, I might have to go out and buy a kit to build – I’m not sure I can cope with all the decals though!