Article and Photos by David de Ryck
Recently, I along with two friends Cliff Armstrong and Stephen Thrum, formulated an idea to build differing versions of the same aircraft. This was all for fun and as a side diversion to our usual club activities. We all build in 1/48th scale and our first choice was the F-15 Eagle. You can see below the finished products.
The first aircraft, mine, is the recently released Revell F-15E Strike Eagle. She was built, in the main, straight from the box. Additions did include the replacement of the ejection seat with a Verlinden Aces II seat, with slight modifications; a replacement HUD from True Details; Ordnance from the Hasegawa Weapon Sets; and Bomb Graffiti from a Verlinden Dry Transfer set. The model is finished using Model Master paints in a standard all over Gunship Grey colour scheme, flying the markings of the 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron ‘Chiefs’, in Desert Storm February 1991; these being standard issue with the kit.
The second aircraft is Cliff’s and has been converted from the Academy F-15D kit to the MDD prototype F-15E, which was actually one of the original prototype F-15B’s. Conversions included scratch-building the main undercarriage bays; rebuilding the upper fuselage and air brakes to depict the earlier version; scratch-building the engine actuator arms; and replacing the pylons, designator pods and weapons from his spares box. The kit was finished in a European 1, or Lizard scheme, utilising decals, again from his spares box.
Now the third aircraft, obviously Stephen’s, has had major conversions done to it. It started life as the Academy F-15E Strike Eagle kit and has been extensively converted to have it represent the NASA F-15 ‘ACTIVE’ (Advanced Control Technology for Integrated Vehicles). Detailing included Ejection Seat detailing and modifications; Cockpit enhancement and changes; Plumbing and structural detail added to the nose wheel well; the addition of the extra engine intake ramp to the lower intake area; Flaps, Ailerons, and Elevons cut out, rebuilt and repositioned; Modifications to the upper and lower fuselage, including the airbrake assembly and removal of the rear fuselage between the exhausts; addition of a nose mounted GPS Navigation unit; scratch-built undercarriage bays, forward canard fore planes, and Instrumentation boom; removal of the model’s cannon muzzle and associated area; corrections to the vertical stabilizers; and the scratch-building of the Asymmetric Thrust-Vectoring Exhaust Nozzles (Each of these has over 325 parts per nozzle!). The model has been finished in the colourful markings from NASA utilising custom home made decals.
We are already undertaking our next project a group or P-51 Mustangs, and that is to be followed by a group of B-58 Hustlers, so stay tuned for views of them in the future.