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F-15D Eagle

by John Chung

 

F-15D Eagle

 


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Introduction

 

McDonnell Douglasí F-15 Eagle has had a long and distinguished history, with over a hundred air-to-air kills and no loses to opposition air assets. Operators of the family models include United States, Japan, Israel and Saudi Arabia, with Korea soon to join with the F-15K variant of the F-15E Strike Eagle. Since many of the aircraftís background and details are well known and abroad, I shall not elaborate further.

The F-15 has been kitted several times in 1/72 by various manufacturers. The current consensus would call the Hasegawaís release being the prime of the bunch, with finely recessed surface details and in its latest releases adequate featherless nozzle details. Ironically, Iíve never personally possessed, handled or seen the kit in person.

 

 

In the Box

 

ESCIís moulding of the F-15 eagle in 1/72 scale has been re-boxed by AMT and sold with relatively inexpensive prices. Being a slightly older kit, the model stands well on its own in terms of generic surface details, which are finely recessed. The control surfaces are nice and thing, and little or no ejector pin marks are visible for the most part. Detail wise the kit is a beast. The cockpit is extremely sad, composing a single tub, two flap plastics for panels with no surface detail, and two plainly molded seats. Undercarriages are passable with careful painting, and the wells are plain.

 

 

The feathered nozzles provided are useable, though the featherless examples are nothing more than a plastic tube with strakes representing what is supposed to be push rods. This being the F-15E kit, it is nothing more than the earlier F-15B kit with conformal tanks with no pylons. The saddest point is, though the shoulder pylon is provided, no missile rails are given in this release, which are included in their single seat kits, IIRC.

The bird is destined to be a F-15D from the start, which allowed minimal modification on top of the already tedious list. The conformal tank provided is utilized, given not too much models exhibit this rare arrangement. However, it did dawn on me afterwards that Astra Decalís Iceland-based aircrafts was the only decal option available to me. As well, pylons for the CFT had to be constructed out of sheet styrene, and would stick out like a sore thumb should it be missing. The latter proved to be not too difficult, though references were extreme limited, and some guess works were done on their relative shapes and positions.

 

 

Construction

 

Iíve elected to construct this airframe primarily out of the box with respect to super detailing. However, as the build continued, Iíve included an increasing amount of modification and scratch builts I deemed necessary to satisfy my limited desire for scale authenticity. Dropping the wing outboard flaperons, for instance, was done just prior to painting. By then Iíve had the project on the bench for more than a year on and off, and was getting extremely impatient. I had to cut the kit somewhere to vent, so the flaperons came off.

The cockpit of the model had to be re-adjusted in its relative position as it was quite off. New back walls for both the pilot and WSO positions had to be made from scratch, as none were provided. Kit instrument panel and decals were used as I figured them good enough for a closed canopy. Kit seats were used with some detail painting. I wasnít about to spend big dollars on resin seats for this model, and by the end of the construction when it was time to install the seats, I was too tired from detailing them anyway. Canopy fit wasnít very encouraging, with quite a bit of filling and sanding done around the peripheral plastic. The clear area were later sanded with progressively finer grits and coated with future prior to the application of paints.

 



Generic fits of the main body parts were atrocious. I cannot describe how much filler Iíve spent, how much sand paper Iíve managed to dull and how much more time to rescribe the lost details. This will apply to all major assemblies, or rather all parts larger than a quarter that may be found, as none fit well, anyhow. Iíve managed in the end, with countless hours of breaks in between while working on other projects. Though the original intend was for this to be a relaxation, quick build, it ended up requiring such from other kits.

Noteworthy is the fact that this model has been slightly modified to represent the MSIP airframes, with the sensor on the starboard tail boom. Iíve never seen the actual aircraft with such modification, but after the accidental landing on the concrete floor and the subsequent lost of the spike, it might as well have been done. Intake covers were constructed out of styrene, tissue paper, white glue and super glue.

 

 

New nozzles were constructed out of sheet and strip styrene after struggling with myself about the inadequate featherless examples provided, and the inaccuracy in detail with the feathered nozzles. Such is the dilemma with scale modelers.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

The model was finished with Gunze Acrylic paints weathered with oil wash. Iíve managed to spray way too thick a coat of Aeromaster acrylic flat right after the application of the decals, resulting in such a heavy build up that many of the surface details were buried. I was extremely disappointed but had to continue with the oil wash. The result was passable, though it could have been better.

All in all, it has been a very tedious build. The end result was worth it, I believe.

This model now resides in the home of a friend of mine, for whom has been built.


 

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by John Chung
Page Created 09 April, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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