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F-4 wing tanks

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Steve Entwistle
F-4 wing tanks

Way back in time I built a Revell 1/72 F-4B of VF-102. In those days accuracy in plastic models was not what it is today but one thing stood out at the time and has stayed with me ever since: the wing tanks. These were the very early "constant curve profile" tanks that appeared on early Phantoms, USN and USMC, and, as I understood, were manufactured by McDonnell. They appeared on photographs of F-4As and the early USMC deployments to Vietnam. Subsequently, the more traditional "cylindrical" tanks became standard fitment and have endured to this day. Most photographs will show this latter type, which I also understood to be of Sergeant-Fletcher manufacture.

Recently, I have been in contact with an aftermarket resin manufacturer and have planted the possibility of producing the early tanks as I, along with a good many others I am sure, would like to use these on the new 1/48 F-4B model from Academy (not to mention the Hasegawa F-4B). They also feature, paradoxically, on the box artwork but not in the box. During the e-mail discussion, this guy mentioned the Daco publication by Danny Coremans - Uncovering the US Navy F-4, which is part of my library on our phavourite aircraft, and specifically pages 78 and 79 which show both types of tank. I referred to the said pages and found that the captions quote the early tanks as being Sergeant-Fletcher and the later, much more common type being Royal Jet ( a name that I had only ever associated with centreline tanks). Having read this book some while ago when first purchased, I must have missed this caption or maybe just treated it as misinformation at the time (although the book as a whole is extremely scholarly) but having just re-read the caption, my first reaction was that this was a mistake. I am now looking for some "original source" information about the origins of these tanks. I need someone who was around at the time - which may be a big ask - who can verify who the manufacturer of the two types of wing tanks was. The original "constant curve" type with seams both sides at 90 and 270 degrees, and the cylindrical type with nose and tail cones and a single seam at about 135 degrees. Any help would be appreciated but I am keen to avoid hearsay and legend because, if I am wrong and Danny Coremans is right, then I have believed the legend and hearsay for the last 40+ years.    

Gene K
{I need someone who was

{I need someone who was around at the time - which may be a big ask - who can verify who the manufacturer of the two types of wing tanks was.}

Well, I was around at the time, but can't "officially" verify ...except to refer to this 1967 -1 page :

It lists the McD tanks (which had separate pylons - also used for ordnance), as well as the Sgt Fletchers (which had/have the pylon integral to the tank). Coreman and many others (most notably Squadron) have perpetuated the wrong nomenclature for decades. If you are wrong, so am I, so please share any definitive findings.

Gene K

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