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Stalker6Recon

Need help with F-15A conversion to C, Tamiya

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9 hours ago, Stalker6Recon said:

I remember watching a program about the F-15, and the way that the export model was described, is a flying gas can, with much of the gear the US used, stripped out to make the aircraft "affordable" to our allies.

 

Does that sound like an accurate description of what we sold the Israeli and other countries when the 15 first entered service?

 

Anthony

In the 1980s Israel was keen to get their hands on any F-15 they could.  The USAF offered them the first production block birds that were sitting in the boneyard at Davis Monthan for (I’m sure) a rock bottom price (probably free), so the IDF took them.  I’m given to understand (from a friend who flew them until he left the IDF in 1988) that IAI brought them up to essentially F-15C standards.

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To the OP - I’m curious why you’re going to the effort to convert a 1978 era F-15A kit that has been bested several times since then to an F-15C?  Why not just get an F-15C kit and be done with it?  The Hasegawa kit is far better than the Tamiya kit, and it is a C right out of the box.

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5 hours ago, Jordi said:

brought them up to essentially F-15C standards. 

Thanks for the history! Good stuff....

 

5 hours ago, Jordi said:

To the

This was not a decision I made, Tamiya made it for me. When I ordered the kit, I did not know the decals inside were a nasty yellow-brown. Being in the Philippines, there is no returns, especially when you order online via bank transfer, nobody has PayPal here. Anyway, when I contacted the seller, he pushed me off to Tamiya. Tamiya had no contact in the Philippines to request replacement decals from for a long time. Only recently has there been a new distributor responsible for the Philippines. After contacting them, I found out that they only had decals available for the C, as the A is no longer in production. This is why I asked the question.

 

If you read the entire post, you would know that I bought a Hasegawa kit as well, only to find out that it was based on a D variant demonstrator of the E, not yet in production. So I ended up with two kits that would not build up properly as intended by the manufacturer. One had bad decals, the other was sold as something it wasn't.

 

That should clear things up for you,

 

Anthony

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12 hours ago, Jordi said:

In the 1980s Israel was keen to get their hands on any F-15 they could.  The USAF offered them the first production block birds that were sitting in the boneyard at Davis Monthan for (I’m sure) a rock bottom price (probably free), so the IDF took them.  I’m given to understand (from a friend who flew them until he left the IDF in 1988) that IAI brought them up to essentially F-15C standards.

Israel's first F-15 order was actually made in 1975 (at a time when the US certainly did not have a surplus on hand). The initial deliveries to Israel did include four A's from the full scale development batch but reports are these were brought up to full standard (for export) before delivery, it's not accurate to say they were "boneyard" airframes. By 1979 the Israelis were using the Eagle in active combat. As you stated, the early aircraft still in service have since been upgraded to roughly C/D standards.

 

There was a follow-on batch of USAF F-15As that were provided to Israel following the 1991 Iraq War.  These were "surplus" in the sense that they were not scheduled for upgrades or continued US service, but again not pulled out of mothballs (It's unclear whether Israel put these airframes into active service or just used them for spare parts).

 

As far as the costs of the aircraft to Israel, this is a rather complex issue because of the way the US handles foreign military sales, but it can be said with certainty that Israel's initial F-15 deliveries were not "free" or substantially discounted in any real sense.  In greatly simplified terms, Israel has a budget to spend on US military acquisitions, and procuring any F-15s in the 1970s would have taken up a significant portion of that budget.  The 1990s batch were handled under a different program for transfer of surplus equipment, so these would have been passed on at little or no cost.

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16 minutes ago, Stalker6Recon said:

Do you know if Israel retained the camouflage typical for the 15,or if they repainted them in their own desert camouflage pattern?

To the best of my knowledge, all the Israeli "fighter" Eagles (A/B/C/D models) have the same "Compass Ghost" scheme of FS 36320 over FS 36375.  The later "Mod Eagle" scheme (FS 36176 over FS 36251 in the same pattern) was only just beginning to be adopted in the early 90s (initially by Alaska and Korea-based units) when the surplus airframes were transferred.

 

If you want a desert-camouflaged Eagle, the F-15I is the bird of choice.  This is an Israeli-operated derivative of the Strike Eagle, and carries a multicolor scheme similar to the IDF's F-16s.

 

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13 hours ago, Stalker6Recon said:

. Tamiya had no contact in the Philippines to request replacement decals from for a long time. Only recently has there been a new distributor responsible for the Philippines.

 

If you read the entire post, you would know that I bought a Hasegawa kit as well, only to find out that it was based on a D variant demonstrator of the E, not yet in production. 

Odd they have no consumer service when they have/had been moulding kits there for some 20 years at least, but probably those activities are entirely unrelated.

71-0291 -the E demonstrator - was a TF-15A from the development batch, not a D, but it may have been brought to D standard at the time it was used as demonstrator.

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3 hours ago, CT7567 said:

If you want a desert-camouflaged Eagle, the F-15I is the bird of choice.

Damn, that is the one I was hoping to build, oh well, not with this kit I guess, or can I convert the demonstration bird back to a D, then upgrade it to the I version? This just gets more and more fun by the minute! I am going to have to reopen the production plant just to get the model I want, MD is going to be thrilled.

 

Just kidding of course, I will play it safe, and build what I know will work based on the intel learned here, if I can remember what that was..sucks getting old!

 

Cheers,

 

Anthony

 

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18 minutes ago, tempestfan said:

Odd they have no consumer service 

They actually still have a factory not far from where I live, but unfortunately, their only Tamiya exclusive store closed about 7 years ago.

 

As for customer service, in the Philippines, there is no such thing. This is one downside of living here, when things go wrong with a product, you are pretty much SOL. I have learned the hard way, but when big money is involved, I will fight for a resolution, even if it takes years.

 

In the USA, if you had trouble with a company, you could just write the BBB (better business bureau) and get results fast. Here, they have no such protection, so companies prefer to play the long game, frustrating you into submission. Most people won't even bother to try to get the company to make things right, they know it's a dead end. There is customer service, but if you ask to speak with management, the answer is the same, "sorry sir, but there is no phone number for management, and we can't give out their email or even their names, but we will forward your concern to our service department right away", that is code speak for the trash can.

 

I had given up on the decals, but it just so happened that I joined the local IPMS, and one of the members pointed me to the new Philippines representative, so it was blind luck.

 

We are planning to go visit the production center for a tour. I have never seen models being made, so it should be very interesting for me. If they allow, I will take pics and video and share it on here. I think they only make certain lines of kits, either only cars/trucks, or something like that. At least that is what I heard. Either way, it's about the process, not what kits they actually make. I am mostly curious how fast they make them, is there one machine, or dozens in a production line?

 

I guess I will find out when I get there.

 

Anthony

 

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2 hours ago, Stalker6Recon said:

Damn, that is the one I was hoping to build, oh well, not with this kit I guess, or can I convert the demonstration bird back to a D, then upgrade it to the I version? This just gets more and more fun by the minute! I am going to have to reopen the production plant just to get the model I want, MD is going to be thrilled.

 

Just kidding of course, I will play it safe, and build what I know will work based on the intel learned here, if I can remember what that was..sucks getting old!

 

Cheers,

 

Anthony

 

Well, this really boils down to how much time/money you want to expend in direct proportion to how accurate you want your model to be.  Bottom line is most of the detail differences between versions are only recognizable to a small number of people.

 

For a long time after they entered service there was no accurate kit of the F-15E in any scale - the demonstrator was represented (as in your kit) and most of the major manufacturers released B/D kits with E markings and/or partial updates.  The major differences for the E include:

- Conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) with a unique pylon arrangement (long single pylon on centerline of each tank, three tangential 'stub' pylons above and outboard)

- LANTIRN (Low Altitude Navigation & Targeting InfraRed for Night) targeting and navigation pods on pylons below the intakes

- Enlarged (wider) main gear wheels with corresponding bulges on the main bay doors

- Reinforced nose gear strut

- External fairing for revised gun ammunition loading system (elongated hexagonal shape, underside just forward of the main gear doors, offset to port of centerline)

- "Wedge" fairing between exhaust nozzles deleted with the end of the emergency tailhook exposed

- ECM antennas at the aft end of one (early) or both (late, all F-15Is) tail fairings adjacent to the stabilator trailing edges

- LAU-128 shoulder rails replacing LAU-114 (giving AIM-120 capability in addition to AIM-9)

- New cockpit displays, most notably in the rear with 4 large multifuction screens

 

On the plus side, the Israelis kept the external turkey feathers on the F-15I so you wouldn't need to change the exhausts.  You should be able to find aftermarket decals, Israeli weapons, and parts for most if not all the changes listed above if you decide to update the kit you have.  If you want a better starting point, Revell's F-15E should give you everything "out of the box" with exception of the feathered exhausts, decals, and weapons.  There are other recent kits available but I'm not a 1/48 modeler so I can't offer any input on other options.

 

This thread is dated but covers a lot of the basics including some helpful links:

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234944022-best-f-15e-strike-eagle-any-scale/

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4 hours ago, CT7567 said:

available but I'm not a 1/48 modeler

If you don't mind me asking, what scale do you model in? When I was younger, a lot younger actually, I modeled almost exclusively in 72, it was all I could afford. Every once in a while, I would spring for the bigger planes in 48. Now it seems that the cost of everything has risen dramatically since then, where I would spend between 12 and 18 dollars per kit. The 48s at the higher range obviously. Back then, a 30 dollar kit was expensive, now that is a budget kit. Also, the big scale (35,32 and 24) are not much more than 48, and in some cases, particularly WWII kits, they actually cost less. With my aging eyes, really aging everything, I am considering stepping up to the bigger scales. I particularly like what has happened in 35, since there is a huge cross over of ground vehicles and helicopters, a common pairing on the modern battlefield.

 

Lastly, how in the world do you know all that detailed information regarding the 15? Is that from memory? I guess if you model accurately, you eventually learn all this detail from the research phase of the build. What I can tell you with confidence, this is far more information than we were taught in armor/air recognition class in OSUT, Ft. Knox!

 

Finally, I am definitely on a budget, trying to dig out of a hole right now. I have not had any debt in the last 20 years, but 5 years of privately rescuing cats and a sudden forced move, has put me in debt, only short term thankfully. Once I dig out, I will have more flexibility to buy what I need and even what I want.

 

Thanks for the details, and speaking of the Revell kit, from what I have read so far, there appears to be some consensus that the Revell is the best 48 kit of the E, which I found shocking. Back when I was building before, Revell was the cheap, ill fitting kits that we poor people had to buy, the Tamiya and Hasegawa was the Mercedes and expensive kits for the super rich. My how times have changed.

 

Anthony

 

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12 hours ago, Stalker6Recon said:

If you don't mind me asking, what scale do you model in?

I'm primaily a 1/72 modeler (and an American so my spelling was correct there 😄).  I have a couple of 1/32 kits of my favorite planes, and also 1/700 ships.

 

I've definitely recognized a dramatic market shift away from 1/72 over the past 20 years, especially in the US, but I think if you account for inflation the cost of kits today - on average - isn't much different than it was when I started in the hobby.

 

12 hours ago, Stalker6Recon said:

Lastly, how in the world do you know all that detailed information regarding the 15? Is that from memory?

I consider myself as having been a "serious" hobbyist, modeling and aviation-wise, for about 30 years now (since I picked up my first copy of Fine Scale Modeler at a local newsstand). My primary area of interest is aircraft from post-Vietnam to end of the Cold War, so the Eagle's one of my "wheelhouse" types.  The info I've been posting has been probably 50/50 mix of memory and data from my references.  I have above-average recall for some things (e.g. the list of changes from a B/D to a Strike was 95% from memory), but I've learned not to trust memory alone if I'm not 100% certain of something, especially if I'm trying to answer someone else's questions.

 

12 hours ago, Stalker6Recon said:

I am definitely on a budget

In this hobby you have to manage to your own needs and expectations. It's easy to get caught up in wanting to build a super-detailed, hyper-accurate replica of every type that strikes your fancy, but if you start accumulating kits, decals, resin, PE, etc, the cost can escalate quickly and you aren't necessarily building models as often - which is supposedly what the hobby's about, right?

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I am an American as well, just living abroad since 2008. If you count my years overseas after September 11fh, I have spend the better part of the last 20 years, abroad. Just felt weird when I landed on US soil, I knew within two weeks that I wanted to leave again. Best choice I could have made for myself, I couldn't be happier. I am at a point where I need to start building and stop buying. I have some tools on order that I am waiting for before I can start building in earnest. One or two more kits on my "must have" list, but I won't be buying them until I get a couple builds under my belt.

 

Anyway, thanks again, you have been extremely helpful!

 

Anthony

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