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woody37

F-15C Eagle - Hasegawa 1/72

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F-15C Eagle

Hasegawa 1/72

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Since its introduction into service in 1974, the F-15 ‘Mig Killer’ has developed a fearsome reputation as an air superiority fighter. With over 100 kills to it’s name, half of them being with the Israeli Air Force, not a single F-15 has been lost in air-to-air combat. Despite the introduction of more capable aircraft in the 21st century, there is still a place for the proven F-15 on the front lines such was the foresight in it’s design some 40+ years ago.

The need for a replacement to the F-4 was identified in the mid 1960’s to counter the threat of existing and new aircraft that were being designed by the Soviet Union. Initially, the request was for an aircraft that had both air and ground capabilities and considerably heavier and faster than the F-4, however this was changed to focus on air superiority in both close and long range scenarios following analysis of air-to-air combat in the US Air Force in the 60’s. With 4 manufacturers entering the competition to supply the USAF with an aircraft to meet their F-X requirement, the F-15 won with the decision being made in 1969. Powered by P&W F100 engines, it had a power –weight ratio greater than 1, low wing loading to improve manoeuvrability, a radar that could identify low flying targets amongst ground clutter and operate beyond visual range and had all round visibility for the pilot improving visibility significantly compared to the F-4. Not least, one of the lessons learned was that a gun is necessary, so a Vulcan M-61 cannon was installed. With the first flight taking place in 1972 of the F-15A, the first of 483 F-15C’s flew in 1978 benefiting from additional internal fuel, ability to carry the ungainly conformal fuel tanks, the APG-63 PSP radar that could be reprogrammed to suit new weapons, stronger landing gear to cope with a greater maximum weight and new flight systems. In 1985, the F-15’s coming off the production lines were to become part of the MSIP (Multi-stage Improvement Programme) that would allow ease of adaptation for developing weapons systems.

Whilst the US are the largest operator of the F-15, first blood was achieved with the Israeli Air Force in 1979 developing an enviable reputation against Syrian Migs over Lebanon and went on to use the air-ground capability in the 80’s. During the Gulf War, the US followed up this success with their F-15’s again in combat with Mig 21’s, 23’s, 25’s and 29’s. Of the 39 air-air victories scored by the US Air Force in the Gulf War, the F-15C’s had claimed 34 of them. Over 170 F-15C’s will remain in service for many years to come yet. More recent upgrades to the aircraft are a new AN/APG Radar that link to the helmet mounted sighting system as well as the latest evolutions in armanent to ensure that the F-15 remains a potent weapon. As well as Continuing service with the US and Israeli Air Forces, the F-15 also continues to operate with Japan and Saudi Arabia.

The kit
With several kits on the market representing the F-15C, the later Hasegawa one of which we have here is regarded as the best of the bunch in terms of detail, shape and finesse although more challenging than some of the simpler kits as a result. The kit comes packaged in the usual top opening box with some great artwork representing an aircraft of the 57th Fighter Intercept Squadron USAF. On opening the box, we have 6 light grey sprues and a clear one which is bagged separately containing a total of 138 parts. First impressions are very good. Whilst there is some flash present, this is mainly restricted to the actual sprues with some very small amounts on some of the parts.

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Assembly starts as per usual with the cockpit. There is some very nice detail in here. The side and main panels all have moulded in switch detail. If painting these doesn’t float your boat, sanding the detail off and using the kit supplied decals or pre-painted etch replacement is an alternative to consider. The avionics bay behind the cockpit has also received a generous dose of detail with the floor and side walls looking quite busy. The seat comes in three parts with a token effort on the seatbelts. This is in my opinion the weakest part of the cockpit so you may want to replace this or add some additional detail. With the tub assembled, the nose bay fits to the bottom and the two halves of the nose fitted together with the assembly inside. The instructions show the cockpit upper rear fairing to be fitted next, however you may decide to fit this later. Dry fitting is probably the best way to determine your preferred assembly sequence here.

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The intakes come next. Unlike the Academy kit, the intakes are somewhat simplified and stop short of the main wheel bays with incorrect but practical fitment of the front compressor blades too far forwards. With the intakes and ramps fitted, the main fuselage can be joined. Surface finish on the kit is excellent. The panel lines and rivets are recessed and quite restrained yet deep enough to accommodate both airbrushers and hair stick users without losing definition. On comparing the surface detail of the Academy kit and this, Hasegawa’s look much better, particularly where the various grills are represented.

Next comes the flying surfaces. Again, the quality of the surface detailing is superb. There’s no option to lower the flaps in the kit, however the simple design on the F-15 mean that this can be easily achieved by cutting them out and repositioning them if you choose.

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Having reviewed some builds of the Hasegawa kit on the net, care needs to be taken attaching the nose section to the main fuselage. Take care to minimise any misalignment. As I mentioned previously, you may want to add the upper rear cockpit fairing at this point if you haven’t already done so if this helps getting everything lined up better. A similar challenge may be had when attaching the intakes to the fuselage too, so patience and plenty of dry fitting is the order of the day.

The burner cans are represented with the feathers showing. Each can has the feathers made up of 5 parts that need to be glued into a circle so get your swear box at the ready !
Both the internal and external detail on the feathers is nicely detailed. For each feather section, there are 3 actuating rods, or 15 per can so being patient here will pay off. Alternatively stop for a while and open a beer if that’s your preferred technique ! The completed exhaust units fit into the rear fuselage, this will help on painting.

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The undercarriage is typical Hasegawa quality. Nicely detailed gear struts and wheel hubs are complemented by bay doors with interior detailing where they will be on show. There are two ejector marks on the inside faces of the main wheel tyres, however they are quite subtle and positive in profile so should be quite easy to remove.

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The canopy and airbrake can be positioned opened or closed. The rear canopy panel is fitted into the canopy then can be positioned on the hydraulic jack to show off the detail in the avionics bay. The canopy and windscreen are thinly moulded giving minimal distortion and quite unusually, there is no seam along the canopy centre line that will need sanding off which is a pleasant surprise.

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Whilst all the pylons and drop tanks are included in the kit, the weapons unfortunately aren’t. I find this disappointing as the kit is already one of the more expensive ones. If you haven’t got some surplus weapons, Hasegawa sell an additional weapons set (X72-9 Set V). Typical load out includes AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM.
Overall, accuracy of the kit looks very good. Whilst I haven’t build the kit myself, there’s enough on the net to see that it looks quite accurate in its outline straight from the box.

The decals
The decal print is crisp and in perfect register with many sharply detailed stencils to add interest over all that grey !Four schemes are included:

  • Aircraft 80-0033 57th Fighter Intercept Squadron – based in Iceland until deactivated in 1995
  • Aircraft 78-0518 18th Tactical Fighter Wing
  • Aircraft 79-0027 32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron “Wolfhounds” – based in Netherlands until 1994
  • Aircraft 80-0021 36th Tactical Fighter Wing

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Conclusion
What is included in this kit is the best 1/72 F-15C on the market if you measure 'best' by accuracy and detail. There's enough detail to build straight from the box for most modellers. If you measure a kit by value for money, it probably slides down the ranking due to the fact that no weapons are included and it has a higher price tag. It can be improved if you so desire by adding some cockpit coloured etch and aftermarket burner cans, but that is a matter of choice and budget.

Review sample courtesy of UK distributors forlogo.jpgUK distributors for logo.jpg

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Hi W,

Good review. The F-15A/B/C/D's are excellent if quite tricky to build and definitely deserve the 'best' moniker.

Just out of curiosity, why review this standard release as opposed to the more recent 'limited edition' ones?

Secondly, are the whites of the decals now white or are they still a bit ivory in colour?

What is included in this kit is the best 1/72 F-15C on the market if you measure 'best' by accuracy and detail.

Hehe, nice...

Thanks for your time, Lee.

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Hi Lee

On your first point, we review what Amerang send us! We did review the new Strike Eagle a couple of months ago, and of course if we are sent and limited editions, we will review them too.

Best

Paul

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Hi Lee,

The decals are definitely whitey white !

I have only built one other F-15 many years ago which wasn't Hasegawa, so wasn't aware of this issue previously.

As Paul said, we don't get to choose unfortunately :(

We just fight amongst ourselves...although Mikes the biggest so he usually wins :lol:

Cheers, Neil

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Hi Paul, Woody,

I was just intrigued as it just seemed a bit random to review this particular release. Thanks for clearing that up!

With regards to the white decals comment, I've found that a lot of the time Hasegawa used an 'interpretation' of white (ivory-cream) on their in-house decal sheets, bit of a put-off at times. Of course, it's all good with the latest releases...

Thanks again, Lee.

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The decals are whitey white when you get the kit... alas, after a few months in the stash, they turn typical Hasegawa ivory/yellow (and sunlight doesn't seem to help). They are also quite thick. In other words, typical Hase (i.e. crap)

That said, there's no shortage of F-15 aftermarket decals. Overall, this kit is utterly fantastic, decals and lack of weapons aside. It's probably one of the best 1/72 kits ever made, all the more stunning considering its age.

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Calling those who have built this or other of the new tools f-15s from Hasegawa, having built the academy one before and really did not enjoy it, found the plastic too hard and the fit rather poor, having found the hasegawa eurofighter to be a superb build, would I be right n thinking this kit would go together as well?

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