Revell 1/48 F-15E Strike Eagle
|390 FS and 335 FS|
Developed from the single seat F-15 Eagle, the F-15E is built asa multi-role aircraft, unlike it's earlier cousins, which are strictair-superiority aircraft. A dedicated two-seater, the F-15E is equipped withconformal fuel tanks and a number of hardpoints on which it can carry a widearray of current air to ground ordnance. There are also pylons on which areattached an infrared seeker and a navigation pod that are so necessary for thedelivery of modern guided weapons.
The Strike Eagle first entered squadron service with the 405thTactical Training Wing at Luke AFB in Arizona. From there, pilots went to the4th Tactical Fighter Wing (now 4th Fighter Wing) at Seymour-Johnson AFB, NorthCarolina on the east coast, once there were enough Strike Eagles to fill thewing. Since then, all Strike Eagle training has been switched to the 4th FighterWing as Luke is now an all F-16 base. Other units flying the Strike Eagle arethe 366 Wing at Mountain Home AFB in Idaho, the 3rd Wing in Alaska, and the 48thFighter Wing at Lakenheath in England.
F-15E production is now almost over, though the localpoliticians in Missouri manage to have a few trickle off the assembly lines.Foreign customers for the E version are Israel with the F-15I and Saudi Arabiawith the F-15S.
This particular kit has been long awaited by Eagle fans worldwide. The previous kit in this scale by Hasegawa was not a true F-15E, but adoctored up version of its F-15D, missing a number of items such as the bulgedgear doors. These have all been taken care of in this new kit from Revell,which, by the way, is made in Korea, as all the parts bags proudly announce.
First thing you notice is that this kit is in that miserable newbox that Revell is so proud of. My copy had a large rip in the back of the boxthat had been patched with a piece of scotch tape. In addition, the glue for thebox was defective and upon opening the shrink wrap, my box basically selfdestructed!! Not a very auspicious start, but frankly, most of us who build newRevell kits have a nice Tamiya or Hasegawa box laying about to put the piecesinto while we build it.
The sprues are packed one or two to a bag, which is very niceand keeps the parts nice and scratch free. An even nicer touch is that thesprues interlock with each other to prevent them from moving around! I noticedthis on the Ju-52 and applaud its use.
The parts aresuperbly detailed, as one expects from Monogram......err Revell kits of currentvintage. The exhaust, for instance, includes all the actuating rods for theafterburner petals. No more having to use resin aftermarket bits or scratchbuilding. I can see a lot of letters to Revell requesting extra burnercans!! The kit also includes nice long intakes that will surely be a challengeto assemble without having a visible seam. For those of us who are cowards,there are also intake covers provided!
The tree with the fuel tanks and Sidewinders on it has somelarge blank areas on it. Undoubtedly, this is where the bombs would be had theybeen supplied with the kit. But they are not, and this is probably the biggestcomplaint I have heard about this kit. For a kit of a supreme mud-mover to comedevoid of bombs and other explosive thingies is not a pleasant surprise. Itisn't the first time we have seen this as Hasegawa has been doing the same thingfor years, but it is a disappointment. I have heard that there will be two otherboxings of this kit; one with AMRAAMS and the other with all the bombs we wouldhave liked to have had now. I guess this is marketing for you, and something I'mnot real fond of.
Enough whiningabout the lack of weapons, for now. On to the instruction sheet. It is 16 pagebooklet with multiple steps and a very good set of diagrams. All the parts arecalled out by name and any colors that are needed are listed on each step. Onevery nice addition to the instructions is that they tell you the sequence ofputting together some parts. For instance on the section where you glue thecockpit section and wings to the rest of the fuselage, there are large blockletters telling you to glue the lower wing, then the upper wing, then thecockpit section. If you have seen the ProModeler instruction sheets, then thisis quite similar, but without the photographs.
Painting this kit should be a breeze as it is overall 36118. Noneed to freehand camouflage. No need for extensive masking. The decal sheetcovers two aircraft; one from the 335FS/4FW (SJ), and the other for the391FS/366WG (MO). Other than the plethora of maintenance markings so common onmodern aircraft, the unit markings are confined to the tail and small badges onthe intakes. Face it, the F-15E is not a very colorful aircraft! The decal sheetlooks superb and since it isn't done by Scalemaster, is in sharp register. Itactually looks very much like a contemporary Aeromaster or Superscale sheet inquality. Could it be that after 30 years of harping about their decals thatRevell has finally listened to us?? I sure hope so.
Well, there you have it in a nutshell. It looks like a superbkit and one that I know I will be building very soon. Stay tuned, same Bat-time,same Bat-channel. BTW, the Revell copyright is on the underside of the lefttailplane, so some things never change!
Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet!
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