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F-15E 00-3001 ‘Jenny’, a Maximum Effort Eagle - finished!


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I’ll be making a maximum effort to get this build done by the GB deadline - a 1/72 GWH F-15E dressed as the 494th FS’s 01-2000 ‘Valkyrie’ during the unit’s 2018 deployment to Operation Inherent Resolve, thanks to the excellent (and popular here!) Two Bobs ‘Maximum Effort’ decal sheet.

 

Bits

 

Basis for the build is Great Wall’s, by all accounts, err, great F-15E kit. The D-Day 75th anniversary scheme looks amazing but I wanted an operational bird. Plus I read GWH’s decals aren’t the best? The Two Bobs sheet is printed by Cartograph.

 

Bits

 

Here’s the mandatory sprues shot. Lots and lots of sprues (polar opposite to the Italeri F-5 I’m working on over in the F-5 STGB!) and lots of lovely detail.

 

Bits

 

I’ll be raiding my Hasegawa JDAMs/pods weapons set for GBU-31s and -38s and a Sniper XR  pod and pilfering my spares box (from the Academy F-15C I built last year) for an AIM-9X and an AIM-120 (the kit only has 1 x AIM-9L/M, one x AIM-9X and 1 x AIM-120, and the AIM-9X‘s fins don’t look quite right). The Two Bobs set comes with a large stencil placement sheet with weapons load out diagram for OIR which will be very helpful.

 

Bits

 

Looking forward to making a start very soon. My F-104J in the Century Series GB is pretty much done, I just need to progress the F-5 before diving in too deep on this one. But usually a build like this will take me two months, and I just looked at the calendar… So I resolve to apply maximum effort to be on time and on target so this Valkyrie can ride into battle…I mean into the gallery…

 

Thanks for looking, comments and pointers always welcome.

 

Gerard

 

 

 

 

Edited by Wings unlevel
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A start tonight.

 

Started

 

Barely worth a post, except that is a marker for when I started cutting plastic, etc.

 

Speaking of which, the GWH plastic is quite firm and almost brittle. Might explain how part of the canopy frame snapped off somewhere along the line. 😥

 

incidentally the cockpit tub and IPs have been painted dark gull grey, but you can barely notice as it turns out the GWH plastic grey colour is a perfect match for dark gull grey…

Edited by Wings unlevel
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More goodies have now arrived. My GBU-38 warstocks have been bolstered by this Eduard resin set, while the life support section now has a couple of extra ACES II seats in inventory. 

 

Things


That said I’ll probably use the kit seats, they seem beautifully detailed.

 

Meantime I wanted to get a better understanding of how the canopy frame fitted with the canopy itself and the fuselage. Which necessitated removing a few bits off sprues, including the canopy itself.

 

Things

 

Was pleased to discover the snapped off end of the frame doesn’t leave any external gaps, it sits within the base of the canopy. The missing bit is only noticeable when you look directly for it through the canopy, and I’m confident I can hack together a reasonably seamless fix with a small strip of plasticard. 🤞

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Wings unlevel said:

Was pleased to discover the snapped off end of the frame doesn’t leave any external gaps, it sits within the base of the canopy. The missing bit is only noticeable when you look directly for it through the canopy, and I’m confident I can hack together a reasonably seamless fix with a small strip of plasticard. 🤞

Well thats always good to find out. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

G'day WU,

 

I have to agree. I think in this case the kit seats are superiior, they even seem to have a nice representation of the stfraps. or at least the upper ones as I cannot see what is on the seat bases clearly. The resin seats also lack guide rails unless you want to depict a seat that has been removed!

 

lovely decal options too, how do choose. thbey are all great,

 

cheers,

 

Pappy

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On 16/09/2022 at 22:31, Pappy said:

I think in this case the kit seats are superiior, they even seem to have a nice representation of the stfraps. or at least the upper ones as I cannot see what is on the seat bases clearly.

Agree, I think the kit seats are pretty impressive really, and it’s a shame all the side detail around the seat base will disappear from view once they’re installed! Yes only straps on the seat back, not the base, which seems a strange omission. Otherwise I’ve tried to do the seats a bit of justice  and I think they’re alright. (Plus I can keep the resin seats for the Hasegawa F-15DJ I’ve just ordered on the overly optimistic hopes the aggressor GB proposal gets up!)

 

Cockpit bits

 

So not a lot of progress to show, but I have finished the seats and tried to pick out a bit of detail, crudely fixed the canopy frame with a bit of plasticard strip (but it will look fine with the lid closed), removed the seams and polished the canopy and windscreen, and decaled the instrument and side panels. I didn’t quite get the placement of some of the cockpit decals aligned with the details they sit over, especially the WSO’s IP, but on the whole it looks pretty decent.

 

Can start on assembly the cockpit and begin on the airframe proper now, so hopefully some more tangible progress soon!

 

Gerard

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There’s some beautiful detail and engineering with this kit. Just look at this underside detail, including the MLG wheel wells which get closed up.

 

Details

 

A quick dry fit and all the major bits snapped into place beautifully.

 

Bits

 

it’s only at the very rear where the tailplanes are mounted that there may be a small seam to clean up between the top and bottom fuselage halves.

 

Reason for the dry fit was to determine where and how the transition between the white paint in the inlet ducts and the gunship grey of the inlets themselves works and if/how I needed to paint bits before assembly.

 

Bits

 

This reinforced that the biggest failing/frustration with the kit so far is the short inlet trunks (with modded in fan faces), which the instructions say to paint white (and so I did).

 

US_Air_Force_STAFF_Sergeant_Dave_William

 

But as this Wikimedia USAF shot shows, the white doesn’t start til deep into the inlet trunks, certainly deeper than the kit’s truncated trunks run. I’ll have to have a rethink.


That aside I can see it’s going to come together nicely.

 

Gerard

 

 

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Some good progress this weekend, feel like I'm making some decent progress finally.

 

After some washes and a final clear coat the cockpit was ready to be installed. (Wash looks a bit overdone in the pics, but is ok to the eye.)

 

Assembly

 

For the funs, as my kids would say, I fitted the radar, even though a) I'm closing the nose, and b) 'Valkyrie' may well have had its mechanically scanned APG-71 radar (as in the kit) replaced with the AESA APG-82 by the time of its 2018 deployment? (Is there any way of telling if an F-15E has had its radar upgraded?)

 

Assembly

 

Thankfully after I realised I needed to drill holes for the underwing pylons (not called out in the instructions, and while it seems an obvious thing to do, I only realised after scanning through @Jabba's thread!) I joined the top fuselage and wings and bottom wings together, using some sophisticated clamps to minimise gaps on the tailbooms.

 

Assembly

 

After more drilling, to the fuselage undersides for the pylons for the AAQ-13 and Sniper pods (again not called out in the instructions, but I was on to it this time!), I joined the fuselage and wings together, again with some more high tech clamping to ensure the tops of the conformal tanks conform nicely with no gaps.

 

Assembly

 

Have also been chipping away at myriad other bits and pieces, there's a lot to this! Next challenge will be joining the forward fuselage to the main fuselage, again it will need some clamping pressure so the gap at the join is minimised. But all in all the fit has been pretty good, with a little bit of care.

 

It's been fun so far!

 

Gerard

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16 hours ago, Johnson said:

Not a like a Hasagawa F-15 then :cry:

Cheers Charlie! I’ve not had the pleasure of the Has kit, yet… But this turned up on my doorstep on Friday:

 

Progress and a purchase

 

I am a sucker for JASDF aggressor and special schemes, and an even bigger sucker for an online bargain! Not sure when I’ll get to tackle it though…


Meanwhile, to the kit at hand:

 

Progress and a purchase

 

With the help of some humble rubber bands to minimise the join seam (it needed some lateral compression to avoid a big gap) the forward fuselage/nose is now attached tp the body. That join isn’t a panel line on the real thing so will need a little tidying up still, But on the whole the build has been really clean.

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I don’t have a lot to show for the last week, and yet I’ve given this build a lot of love, mostly filling and sanding cleaning up gaps and seams.


I’ve got the tricky forward fuselage/main body joined cleaned up pretty nicely I think, a squirt of primer shows, probably 90%, and the nose radome join I’m happy with too. Those pesky tail boom joins are getting there too.

 

Clean ups

 

Underneath a bit of Mr Surfacer has done the job on the wing panel joins quite nicely.

 

Mr Surfacer


Once you rub it back with some lacquer thinner and cotton buds.

 

Clean ups


Off screen I’ve also been working away on things like the tanks, stores, wheels, vertical tails, exhausts etc. There’s a lot too it, especially compared to my little Italeri F-5 I’ve just finished!

 

Going away now for a week, not sure if I can sneak this away with me! 🤣

 

Gerard

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Home for 24 hours before a quick trip interstate for a family do. So some more tinkering.

 

Intakes on

 

So intakes are on, but this is the worst fit on the kit so far…

 

Intakes on

 

Vertical tails, flaps and flaperons on too. Then a few more rounds of Mr Surfacer to come. Still almost at the end of the beginning, when I can begin to contemplate priming and painting! How many days left in this GB?! 
 

Should be right!🤞😀

 

Gerard

 

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4 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

Ouch that gun vent/opening is scary. 

An unexpected surprise. This kit has been enigmatic, mostly excellent and occasionally perplexing. But still, it is building up beautifully.

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On 10/8/2022 at 3:42 AM, Wings unlevel said:

So intakes are on, but this is the worst fit on the kit so far…

 Wouldn't be a kit if it didn't throw you the odd challenge! 

 

Looking very good Gerard.

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On 12/10/2022 at 06:01, Johnson said:

Wouldn't be a kit if it didn't throw you the odd challenge! 

Thanks Charlie, makes me a better modeller I guess!

 

A little more progress, the HUD has been fitted.

 

More progress


Not Pappy levels of detail but I did borrow Dave’s idea of giving the hud a light coat of clear green. (Incidentally I think the HUD shape is wrong, should be wider and not as tall.)

 

HUD went on so I could fit the canopy.

 

More progress

 

Plus I’ve also fitted the horizontal stabs and the shoulder weapon stations. So that pretty much finishes assembly, bar fitting the sensor pods. So paint soon.


Still, a bit to do with the (beautifully detailed) landing gear plus the stores. Slowly slowly catchy monkey.

 

Three weekends til the end of the GB, should just about do it!

 

 

 

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Feels like it’s all coming together now. There’s a lot to an F-15E, but am starting to draw all the elements together.

 

So the stores, gear and exhausts are all taking shape. Still some work to do but I feel like they’re progressing at least.

 

Progressing

 

And, bar a few antennas and probes, the airframe is just about done now, with the AAQ-13 pod and the pylon for the Sniper pod now attached. The kit doesn’t have a Sniper so I’m using one from the Hasegawa weapons kit. Turns out the Sniper has its own specific pylon for the F-15 too, which comes in the Hase kit, but it wasn’t compatible with the kit’s mounting pin holes. So I removed the locating tongue from the Hase pylon, but that left me with the question of where exactly does it mount to the airframe, without locating pins (or in the case a locating tongue). In the end I dry fitted the kit pylon, sprayed around it with white paint, and that left me an outline as to where exactly the Sniper pylon should be mounted. Happy with that:

 

Progressing

 

Should be ready to prime tomorrow. As I’ve already been priming and cleaning joins hopefully it will come up ok with not much more tidying up to do. Will prime in black and will attempt marbling preshading…

 

Progressing

 

So getting there, I think!

 

Thanks for looking,

 

Gerard

 

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  • Wings unlevel changed the title to F-15E 00-3001 ‘Jenny’, a Maximum Effort Eagle - finished!

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