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Julien

F-15J Eagle - 1:72 Platz JSDF Aircraft Series

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F-15J Eagle

1:72 Platz JSDF Aircraft Series


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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 its 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 its design some 40+ years ago.

The need for a replacement to the F-4 was identified in the mid 1960s 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 60s. 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-15Cs 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-15s 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 80s. During the Gulf War, the US followed up this success with their F-15s again in combat with Mig 21s, 23s, 25s and 29s. Of the 39 air-air victories scored by the US Air Force in the Gulf War, the F-15Cs had claimed 34 of them. Over 170 F-15Cs 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 armament 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.

For the JASDF the first two Eagles were constructed in the US, the rest of the F-15Js were then constructed in Japan under license. Starting in 1982 and ending in 1998 165 Eagles were delivered. In December 2004, the Japanese Government approved a Mid-Term Defence Program (MTDP) to modernize the F-15J to J-MSIPs over five years in accordance with new National Defence Program Guidelines. The upgrade is being implemented in phases, but ultimately the upgrade will include a new ejection seat; replaced IHI-220E engines; more powerful processor; uprated electrical generation and cooling capabilities to support more avionics and the Raytheon AN/APG-63(V)1 radar which has been produced under license by Mitsubishi Electric since 1997. The new radar will support the new AAM-4 missile.

The Kit
It is good to see this new tool kit from Platz. Following their new tool F-1 & T-2 kits it is good to see the Eagle is up to that standard. In the box you get five main sprues and two smaller sprues of grey plastic, one clear sprues and a decal sheet. Of note straight away is that the wings have a lap type joint to the main fuselage rather than a but fit which should be stronger, and easier to hide the join. The exhausts are 21 parts for each engine which should be enough detail for anyone! Full intakes and exhaust are provided. Intakes can be passed in two positions. There is also an innovative pin support to attach the front fuselage to the main body (typically a weak point in F-15 kits). The panel lines will be to deep for some people but not for the reviewer.

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Construction starts shockingly in the cockpit area! The ejection seat is a five part affair (but no belts). Once assembled this is placed in the cockpit tub. The rear bulkhead to the electronics bay is added along with separate rudder pedals, control column and instrument panel. The sides for the electronics bay are then added into the appropriate fuselage halves, the cockpit ub added, and the front fuselage can then be closed up. The front coming for the instrument panel is then added along with the nose cone. Platz recommend 3g of weight be added, though I would be tempted to cram in as much as possible. The final part to add to the front fuselage section is the innovative pin which will be used to attach this subassembly to the main fuselage.

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Construction then moves to the main fuselage. The full length intake/exhaust assembly is then made up. The engine faces and exhaust faces are added in and they can then be closed up. It is probably best to paint the insides before closing them up. The main top/bottom parts of the main fuselage can then be sandwiched around the intakes. Even if you should wish to use intake blanks/exhaust covers you will have to make these parts, not only do other parts attach to them, but the provide rigidity for the main fuselage. Side parts are then added along with front intake parts to complete this sub-assembly.

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Next the variable intakes are assembled. Here there are a choice of parts depending on whether you wish to mould them drooped or not. The next major step is to attach the forward fuselage to the main one. As mentioned Platz have engineered a pin and hole arrangement here to ensure a sturdy fit between the two. This is further reinforced by the addition of a top part which carries the canopy hinge mechanism. As someone who has suffered a front fuselage detachment on another well know Japanese branded kit, I can appreciate the thinking Platz have done here. To finish up the fuselage the canopy can be fitted in either the open or closed position, as can the air brake (though I suspect most will leave both of these items until last).

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The next area to be constructed is the exhaust nozzles. Each nozzle consists of a main ring to which five petals are attached. Each petal has three control arms. This makes each exhaust a 21 part affair. No lack of detail here! When complete these can be added to the rear of the main fuselage assembly. The tail parts can be added at this point. Standard ones and upgraded J/APQ-1 parts are included. The modeller will need to check their references on these unless they can read the Japanese text for instructions!

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The main wings can then be added. While they have upper and lower parts the lower part is more of an insert so the leading/trailing edges are one moulded part and wont suffer from being too thick. The outer flaps are moulded separately. The single part tails, and tail-planes are also added at this point.

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Next up on our list of sub-assemblies is the landing gear. There is a single part leg for the nose gear, with a single part wheel. The only other items to be added are the landing lights. The main gear is slightly more complicated. Each leg is a four part affair, with the wheel split between the tyre and the hub (which should make painting a lot easier!). Once made up the landing gear can be attached to the fuselage along with gear doors.

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The last items to be constructed are the underwing stores. Three fuel tanks are included, as are four AMRAAMs and four Japanese AAM-4 missiles. These are attached to the airframe along with a host of antenna and small fuselage fixings which are generally left until last to avoid breaking them off.


Decals
Decals are provided for six different JSADF Squadrons.

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  • 42-8834 201 Sqn.
  • 42-8945 304 Sqn.
  • 22-8931 203 Sqn.
  • 22-8931 306 Sqn.
  • 42-8945 204 Sqn.
  • 42-8834 23 T Sqn.
There do seem to be more Squadron insignia on the sheet though than are mentioned in the instructions.

Photoetch
It should be noted that the photoetch parts DO NOT come with the kit, they are available as a separate item. The parts supplied on here are; underside of the main airbrake, instrument panel, seat belts, inside upper parts of the intake tunnel, front and rear missile launcher faces (if you are not going to use the missiles), HUD; and a variety of blade antennas.

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Conclusion
This is welcome kit from Platz, a great improvement on the older kits available, and a great kit of the new modern JSDF Eagle for those of us who like to model modern Japanese subjects. It is a shame Platz have not included the PE parts in the kit as they will enhance it. Hopefully Platz will bring us some of the more colourful schemes the JASDF apply to their Eagles. Overall Highly Recommended.

Review sample courtesy of Platz.jpg

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That's a rather outstanding kit and the review isn't half bad either :P

Only joking-I must confess that I do look forward to your reviews when they come up on the facebook page and when i'm browsing the forums, my wallet doesn't though! :)

Am I the only one who feels like these past few years and the years ahead seem to mark a modelling renaissance? Airfix are coming out with some very good qaulity kits at rather average prices (which is always good) and relatively "obscure" manufacturers are also coming out with stuff that most could only dream of about 10 years ago.

Anyway, have a nice evening everyone-I won't, I've got results day to come tomorrow-having been asked about an hour ago to come in before everyone else and dress smart enough for a photo...... From my angle-being asked in early seems bad...

Sam

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This looks like a really good kit ! There's some very nice detail and I also like the wing join solution a lot

Some good engineering in the kit. The wing join, the nose join and the full length intakes are all good.

Julien

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For some strange reason the engraving on the tailplanes is raised.

The details are actually raised on the real jet.

I just received my kit. Overall the details are outstanding and pretty accurate (Bay 5 is super weaksauce though). The F-15J isn't that much different than the F-15C, the main differences are in the Avionics. I've taped up my model to see how the general fit is and for the most part it is very good. There are a quite a few areas that were disappointing and will require filler. Many of the part joint areas are softly molded and this will cause the finished joint to require filler work. My two copies had flash on many parts and ejector pin marks in hard to repair areas. There is more detail than the Hasegawa kit but it is less refined. The moldings and details are pretty soft, lines aren't sharp and are a little bit too wide. The engineering is really good as far as how the parts will go together and where they chose to separate parts along panels lines. I think it is a nice kit; I just was not impressed by the kit as I expected to be. Honestly I was slightly disappointed. Platz is not in the same league as Tamiya or Hasegawa in the mold department. Honestly, the kit kinda looks like a really good Italeri Kit. I'll post some pictures that I took of my assembly in the morning.

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Ok, here are my photos to go along with this review. I hope it's not overstepping some bounds. Overall the model is very very nice. It's not going to be a shake and bake Tamiya kit by any means, but the details are excellent if only a little softly molded. It won't make an completely accurate F-15C out of the box, but the differences are subtle and wouldn't take that much effort to change. The kit does not come with the larger left vertical stab anti-flutter weight/antenna housing that is found on USA F-15s. There are other antennas that are different for US Aircraft as well that are not included. The radome strips on the kit part are very accurate for F-15J's. It was one of the first things I noticed on them when we flew with the JASDF 2 years ago.

The overall General assembly

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Forward fuselage to rear fuselage joint is not very good and will require a lot of work.

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This cockpit insert leaves too large of a gap all the way around it, IMO.

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the side fuselage pieces leave this huge gap near the front, starting at the chaff/flare dispensers forward of the main gear bays. at least the line is straight!

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The intakes are super rough and will require a lot of cleanup.

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the wing joints are much much nicer than the hasegawa, they pretty much follow real panel lines and fit positively. There is an abundance of gluing surface area to hold them in place.

Platz%20F15J-036.jpg

Link to my full album

http://s1129.photobucket.com/user/szlash280z/library/models/Platz%20F-15J

Edited by EagleOnyx

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I got mine through Hobby Link Japan for $25 USD plus about $3 USD for shipping each (I had a large order that brought my shipping per item down) so I paid about $28 each for mine.

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Ok, here are my photos to go along with this review. I hope it's not overstepping some bounds.

No it is good to see honest views on the kit, plus some pointers for when I go to put mine together. :thumbsup:

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I work Eagles and the Eagle is my Favorite Bird so my eye might be a little biased and possibly a bit harsh against kits. Its the only plane that I can look at a kit and say "Nope, that panel is wrong" lol

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Always good to get a professional view. Can you say what you do?

If you are going to do a full build, it might be worth starting a "Work In Progress" thread.

Julien

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