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1/48 Monogram F-15A in Air Superiority Blue


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A 1/48th Monogram F-15A Eagle painted in the very early and short lived air superiority blue colour scheme. Humbrol enamel paints applied with an airbrush, decals by Caracal models. The kit dates back to 1979. I have always wanted to build an F-15 in this scheme and despite a few small mistakes I am very happy with the result.

50246942203_e2bf72505c_b.jpg20200819_141334 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

The story behind this bird is interesting. She was F-15A serial 71-0284 and she was the fifth full scale development Eagle. She was used for armament development including the rotary cannon and when her test career ended she became an instructional airframe. She was photographed in these markings at an airshow (possibly Sheppard AFB, TX, date unknown) with "City of Iowa Park" nose art. Her FF code stands for 'First Fighter' for the then 1st Tactical Fighter Wing based at Langley. How she kept her blue colour scheme is unknown but it was very unusual and it certainly adds some interest to this model.

50246942113_d59aba11da_b.jpg20200819_141449 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

I used Humbrol 47 which is enamel gloss sea blue as that looked to me to be the nearest to air superiority blue in their range. I would say that it is just a tad darker and 'richer' than FS35450 however for some reason the camera on my phone has processed the photos to a lighter shade! I do have the Hataka acrylic Air Superiority Blue (HTK-A155) in my paint stash but I am really struggling with acrylics at the moment and just wanted an easy paint without my airbrush clogging up after 60 seconds. This coat went on well and just one application too.

50246942063_41cb7956e7_b.jpg20200819_141509 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

I must also mention how impressed I was with the kit. It was first released in 1979 and it went together very well, I only needed a little filler where the nose section slots into the main fuselage. I did like the detail around the cockpit and also the radar as well as the open air brake and I think they really add to the model. Yes, it is raised panel lines and for this build I was comfortable with that.

50247785502_835bc12623_b.jpg20200819_141756 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

This is the first time that I have used Caracal decals and I am very impressed, they were really easy to apply and they make an average model look good! These were from their F-15 "The Early Years" set and I am building a second F-15A using this set as well.

50246941908_5bce26950a_b.jpg20200819_141808 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

Apologies for the rather makeshift photo studio but these were taken at my alternate man cave! 😊 This build really has helped get my mojo back.

Michael

Edited by Ghostbase
Update location.
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I Remember that kit from so many years ago and at that time it had a high "Wow" factor. You've done an outstanding job on your build and the scheme brings back memories because I remember that scheme from my youth. You're right, the scheme was short lived, but then the compass ghost grey scheme had a relatively short life as well, as compared to the current scheme. No apologies needed for the photo studio. Looks good to me!

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Nice model, well done. I to prefer the blue over the later colours. Wonder why they didn't stay with it.

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Nice! The aircraft name is interesting, and was completely unknown to me. Iowa Park is a small city in Texas just west of my home town of Wichita Falls, Texas. I wonder how the aircraft got its name. Was the pilot from there? If I can find those decals in 1/72, I'll have another model for my "Texas Air Force" collection!

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38 minutes ago, Space Ranger said:

Nice! The aircraft name is interesting, and was completely unknown to me. Iowa Park is a small city in Texas just west of my home town of Wichita Falls, Texas. I wonder how the aircraft got its name. Was the pilot from there? If I can find those decals in 1/72, I'll have another model for my "Texas Air Force" collection!

Thanks, that is interesting, I did wonder exactly where Iowa Park is. I do know that this F-15A was based at Goodfellow AFB in Texas at some point in her career as an instructional airframe though she was in the later Compass Grey colour scheme at that time. I wonder it there is any connection with that? Caracal Models do have this decal sheet in 1/72nd scale as well. Michael

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Superb build and finish,my favourite scheme for the F-15 was this early version and the aircraft just never seems to age after all these years,great job

on this old kit.

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7 hours ago, busnproplinerfan said:

Nice model, well done. I to prefer the blue over the later colours. Wonder why they didn't stay with it.

Because it didn't work. We may think the sky is blue, however it actually isn't, as they found out when they tried the Air Superiority Blue paint scheme. The aircraft REALLY stood out against the sky.

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7 hours ago, Ghostbase said:

Thanks, that is interesting, I did wonder exactly where Iowa Park is. I do know that this F-15A was based at Goodfellow AFB in Texas at some point in her career as an instructional airframe though she was in the later Compass Grey colour scheme at that time. I wonder it there is any connection with that? Caracal Models do have this decal sheet in 1/72nd scale as well. Michael

I'm guessing the pilot was at one time stationed at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, perhaps even undergoing flying training there, and lived in Iowa Park, which is just a few miles from the base and easily accessible by freeway. Interestingly enough, I worked summers for the Texas Highway Department while at university, and one of the projects I worked on was the construction of that portion of freeway!

 

I did find the Caracal 1/72 decal and have ordered it! Many thanks for bringing this aircraft to my attention.

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2 hours ago, silverkite211 said:

Because it didn't work. We may think the sky is blue, however it actually isn't, as they found out when they tried the Air Superiority Blue paint scheme. The aircraft REALLY stood out against the sky.

That’s interesting how that works.

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27 minutes ago, busnproplinerfan said:

That’s interesting how that works.

Along those same lines it is similar to the paint schemes that John Barley developed for RAF Phantoms. When the RAF complained that the scheme wasn't very effective he pointed out that he had stipulated that the colors needed to be gloss, not the semi-matte finish the RAF used. The reason for that was the same as the Army Air Corps discovered during WW2 when painting night fighters. In tests conducted off the coast of Florida it was found that not only did the gloss black used on US night fighters work better than Night, when lit by a searchlight, olive and grey, when applied with a glossy finish even performed better. The reason for this was that, with an aircraft painted using Night, the light reflection would stop at the edges of the aircraft, effectively outlining it, whereas with a gloss finish the light would continue past the edges and not make an outline. Back to Mr. Barley, that was his line of thinking, although now we are talking sunlight. It is also the reason his paint scheme called out for lighter colors along the spine and outboard sections of the wings and the inboard sections of the wing being painted in a darker shade, they reflect light back to the viewer differently, essentially making the aircraft appear the same tonal value. Which tended to match the type of lighting conditions one sees often around England, since that was the area of operations they were tasked with defending.

Edited by silverkite211
corrected spelling
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Further info on 71-0284: Joe Baugher says "Assigned to the combined McDD/USAF F-15 Joint Test Force at Edwards AFB, 1973 to Nov75. WFU and redesignated GF-15A. GIA [Ground Instructional Airframe] at Technical Training Center, Sheppard AFB, TX Apr77. Named "City of Iowa Park". Last noted as a GIA Oct90. Noted on the dump Jul 1992 To GIA at Goodfellow AFB, TX. At Goodfellow AFB, TX. First noted Apr 1995, last noted May 2008."

 

The name "City of Iowa Park" makes more sense when the Sheppard AFB assignment is considered, given their proximity to each other. It seems more likely that the name was not applied until then, rather than at Langley. But you say photos exist. Curious.

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8 hours ago, Space Ranger said:

Further info on 71-0284: Joe Baugher says "Assigned to the combined McDD/USAF F-15 Joint Test Force at Edwards AFB, 1973 to Nov75. WFU and redesignated GF-15A. GIA [Ground Instructional Airframe] at Technical Training Center, Sheppard AFB, TX Apr77. Named "City of Iowa Park". Last noted as a GIA Oct90. Noted on the dump Jul 1992 To GIA at Goodfellow AFB, TX. At Goodfellow AFB, TX. First noted Apr 1995, last noted May 2008."

 

The name "City of Iowa Park" makes more sense when the Sheppard AFB assignment is considered, given their proximity to each other. It seems more likely that the name was not applied until then, rather than at Langley. But you say photos exist. Curious.

Thanks, I think I might have made an incorrect assumption because what you say makes perfect sense. I have asked for clarification on the board where the photo was posted regards the location of 71-0284 when she was in these markings.

Michael

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There is an excellent article by Jan van Waarde entitled "F-15 Eagle Prototypes" which is available from several on-line sources in PDF format. I do not know its original source, but in it he says this about 71-0284: "71-0284 was retired and redesignated a GF-15A; it became an instructional aircraft at the Sheppard TTC by April 1977. Remained in use until October 1991 at least; and although it arrived in its former test colors, it later was repainted in grey camo and carried an ‘HO’ code on one side of the aircraft and ‘FF’ on the other. Last noted as instructional aircraft in October 1990, it was noted with the name ‘City of Iowa Park’ during much of this instrcutional [sic] period. 71-0284 was noted on the dump at Sheppard in July 1992, but ended up as an instructional airframe at Goodfellow AFB (TX). First noted there in April 1995, last in May 2008, the aircraft carried the ‘GD’ tail code during this entire period."

 

So I'm pretty sure the airplane was not given the name until after its arrival at Sheppard. Photos in van Warrde's article show it never carried the name while at Edwards.

 

One interesting note is that it almost became the "Streak Eagle" which set so many records. The choice was between it and 72-0119. The latter was the one selected and modified.

 

While I lived in Wichita Falls I frequently visited Sheppard, as I had a close friend who was then an instructor pilot there, and we took many photos on the base flight line and other locations. But I moved away in 1976 so probably would not have seen '284' in either its test colors or its new markings. I don't remember it.

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Nicely done, it looks very good

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Here is a photo of 71-0284, taken shortly after its arrival at Sheppard AFB from Edwards AFB, taken by my friend Steve Reeves. Note that it is still in its Edwards test colors. Image is not for republishing/redistribution.

 

F15A sps Apr 77 cn005 edited

 

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Great lookin' Eagle sir! 😀 There's a lot of bang for the buck in those old Monogram kits.   You've surely done it proud with your model too!  Good work for sure! :clap2:

 

I built that same Monogram kit many years ago.  It's really a nice model kit and a good value.  Here's a look at my old build if you're interested:

 

Monogram F-15A

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On 8/26/2020 at 4:14 PM, Space Ranger said:

Here is a photo of 71-0284, taken shortly after its arrival at Sheppard AFB from Edwards AFB, taken by my friend Steve Reeves. Note that it is still in its Edwards test colors. Image is not for republishing/redistribution.

 

 

Thanks for the photo, her paint has faded but that is definitely air superiority blue. Very tempted to break another kit out of the stash and build it with these markings.

Based upon your very kindly offered information I did edit the location in my original post above. Sadly I have been unable to obtain the photo which Caracal Models' based these markings on.

Michael

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