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1/72 ESCI/ERTL/AMT F-15C vs Academy F-15C


Robertone139
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Howdy all, I was looking at the ESCI family of 1/72 F-15s as a potential source of multiple lower cost alternatives to Academy's F-15 (with the exception of their latest Beagle kit).

The cockpit are equally unfurnished and both kits' exhaust nozzles need replacement.

Even the ESCI E could be a good source for an Israeli two seater D Baaz.

Are there any shape issues that should concern me?

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The first thing I would do is go to Scalemates and see if you can find an instruction sheet for the ESCI F-15.  Many years ago when they were still in production, I had purchased some bag kits of the ESCI F-18.  About a decade ago I dragged them out to build a number of F-18s.  They all ended up going out in the trash.  The wings were molded with the top of the fuselage, the fit would have been atrocious, and the racks for the AIM-7s, normally molded as part of the fuselage sides on the Hasegawa F-18 kits was a separate piece.  I don't know how they did their F-15 kit, but if it is like the F-18 kit, look for some other manufactures' kit.  Not all of the ESCI kits were as bad as the F-18.  Their F-104 and F-16 were better engineered, and while they may not be up to current standards, they are still quite buildable.

Later,

Dave

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I am not sure what price you can get 1/72 ESCI F-15C but I wonder if you considered Hasegawa F-15C which could be found for a price of $20-$25. However be careful there is another Hasegawa F-15C around which should be avoided since it is 1974 mold. The only negative parts of that kit are going to be that Hasegawa as usual did not put any weapons in the kit and that this how F-15C was in 80th early 90th (however since you were looking at ESCI then being an early F-15C might not be a biggie for you)

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23 hours ago, Robertone139 said:

Howdy all, I was looking at the ESCI family of 1/72 F-15s as a potential source of multiple lower cost alternatives to Academy's F-15 (with the exception of their latest Beagle kit).

The cockpit are equally unfurnished and both kits' exhaust nozzles need replacement.

Even the ESCI E could be a good source for an Israeli two seater D Baaz.

Are there any shape issues that should concern me?

 

I would say that if you're using the Academy kit as your baseline you'll probably be happy with ESCI/AMT/Ertl F-15 as a cheaper and slightly simpler alternative. It's not in the same league as their F-104 or Harrier families, but it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the abysmal Hornet kit @e8n2 mentioned above.

 

Shape-wise Academy's kits have actually taken some legitimate criticism for the overly pronounced bulges on the upper aft fuselage above the engines. ESCI's tooling is more accurate there, but both kits are generally good (not to say great) representations of the pre-MSIP A/C airframe (or B/D, for the two-seaters including both companies' "E" models [notwithstanding the much newer "snap fit" Academy E]).

 

The most notable difference is the ESCI kit's lack of any intake trunking - the "nodding" ramps are only provided in the up position (Academy gives you up or down options), and ESCI just has a solid blank face at the rear line of the intake parts.

 

Wheel wells are slightly less detailed, ESCI having molded only the part of the main bays that are open when on the ground (the rest of the bays are covered by separate doors other than while cycling or for maintenance).

 

You mentioned replacing intakes for both kits, but Academy's representation of the "featherless" exhausts in their first generation Eagles is above average out of the box (though tricky to assemble and with some troublesome ejector pin marks). ESCI by comparison has an unacceptably oversimplified version, the worst I can recall other than the Academy "new tool" E (one of that kit's few major flaws) or Airfix's Strike Eagle (also one of few major shortcomings in a surprisingly good update to an older kit). Both kits also feature decent representations of the early-style exhausts, applicable for Israeli birds even later in service.

 

Overall I would say if you can get the ESCI kits for substantially less than Academy's then it's a worthy option, especially if you're not looking for superdetailed builds.  The dorsal shape issue with Academy should be the main difference if you're planning to display both kits next to each other, but it's a relatively subtle thing (especially to most casual observers) and it's somewhat obscured by the vertical tails. 

 

Hasegawa's second generation Eagle is a better kit than either of these options, but generally even on the secondhand market much more expensive than Academy or ESCI. Be mindful that Hasegawa's original F-15 tooling is also periodically reissued but while it should be substantially cheaper, it is not of the same caliber (raised panel lines, soft/nonexistent detail, and only represents an early A/C - no featherless exhaust option).  Hobbycraft also has an inexpensive Eagle family that is a very poor copy of the early Hasegawa tooling, with some egregious shape distortions introduced during the cloning process.

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Before buying ANY Esci rebox made by AMT/ERTL you have to carefully check the sprue, especially for F-16s because Esci are fine, plastic is solid and STRAIGHT, some AMT I bought were lump of plastic with lots and lots of flash, it was the same for cars 'cept those were from whatever but F&F Charger and Eclipse make me bleed through my eyes cause the amount of crap inside the rims and the fact that the plastic was so slam dunking soft created many difficulties for their clean up

 

Esci F-15 for me it's a little better than Italeri, compared to Academy the early Academy with sink holes on the fuselage maybe was a draw but no contest against Hasegawa

 

Luigi

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