Monogram 1/72 F-15E Strike Eagle

KIT #: 5434
PRICE: $ cheap and OOP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Greg Ewald
NOTES: Fun and simple build. Not for the serious

HISTORY

  With the addition of a wso (weapons systems operator), the agile F-15B was changed into one of the greatest ground attack aircraft ever developed by the United States military.  It carries as much as a pack of prop engined bombers, and after dropping the deadly load of mixed munitions on the target, can dogfight with enemy aircraft as well.

Over 20,000 (!) lbs of ordnance can be kept aloft by this winged  bird, more than enough to terrify just about every enemy into staying in hardened shelters and not even gassing up their fighters.

They basically have managed to kick the *** of everything they have come up against, and are planned to remain in service for the foreseeable future, quite a testament to a well thought out, well designed, and beautiful airframe.

THE KIT

This Monogram kit was released in the mid 70’s, and has been re-popped a number of times, and does indeed show its age with some pretty funky fitting, and bland detail.  The styrene is of good quality, though, easy to sand and fill, without destroying all the lines in the middle of psr.

The fit is somewhat atrocious, especially in the intake section, and you will have to use a fair amount of putty to get everything on the right track. 

Luckily, the old F-15 kit, upon which this is based, does actually scale out fairly well, and you get more sprues of weapons and stuff to glue on the various hardpoints. Of course, this was just not enough for me, so I added on even more !  Hello Kitty!

CONSTRUCTION

 I received this kit from a modeling friend as a bagged item, and it was a shelf sitter for a while after I first test fitted the dang thing.  Monogram really can be a “hit or miss” company, can’t they?

A few days before Christmas, I was searching through the stash, and trying to come up with something fun to do, when my wife found out she had just gotten her “Hello Kitty” credit card. There was much rejoicing. (mostly at the shoe store, where she shops- guess what I got for Christmas)  With the recent announcement that HK was now the official spokesperson/thing for the country of Japan, it just seemed too good of an idea to pass up, and the 2nd rate kit could use some dash, I figured !

Of course, the pit is where I started, painting it as I assembled the globby moldings. Details were added with a fine marker as much as was possible, many were invented. In an interesting twist, the forward section of the aircraft is build separately from the main fuselage.  This is obviously an effort to use the molds from the single seat 15’s for the bulk of the kit. I am not sure if that is such a good idea, in view of the looming fit problems coming at us like a Maverick.

I was going to build this kitty with its wheels up, so a fair amount of cutting, hacking, sawing, puttying and sanding was needed to get the doors on, as the kit is meant for a gear down only display.  If you are going to build it on its legs, make sure you really glue the heck out of the wheel well interior assembly, or one day, your Eagle will look like it is laying an egg.

With the two main fuselage halves, upper and lower, glued together you can attach the front part. Take a deep breath, a pull on your preferred beverage, and start with the many, ,many applications of putty this thing requires to look even partially correct. Once you have these two bits mated, it is time to do even more work after you attach the lovely ( I am being facetious) intakes. They fit on just like bricks don’t.

Sanded and primed, it is ready to proceed to the paint room:

COLORS & MARKINGS

The aggressor scheme called for in the directions is actually quite nice, and a good break from that interceptor gray that is so boring, but I was bound and determined to make this one very different.  The entire jet was primed with Krylon rattlecan White Primer (sandable), and after this had dried overnight, the Hello Kitty cut-outs were affixed, they were made from masking frisket.

I began by airbrushing the panel lines with a thinned mixture of India Ink, it is much easier to use than acrylic paint, dries quickly, and doesn’t bleed through.  Over this, I began applying the dusty pink base colour, a mix of Tamiya white flat and red flat,  with a bit of brown added to keep it from getting too garish.  I varied the tone as I painted, so as to avoid the dreaded “pepto-bismol” effect of some pink planes.

I removed the masking’s, and sprayed on a light coat of thinned future polish, then began the tedious task of marking every single friggin panel line on the jet. If this thing was going to look anime’ish, I needed to go overboard. (and I succeeded)

Another light coat of clear, and it was time to start sticking missiles and bombs on the sucker ! The load out for a real world F-15E is substantial, so I just about doubled it with bits and pieces from the spares drawer, and a few additional railings, hey, if you are going to have flights of fancy, be fancy.

THE BASE

I came up the idea one night after my wife had prodded me awake (away) for snoring. She threatened to shove two straws in my nose, and it hit me like a ton of bricks…so did she. Using two pieces of styrene straws that fit just inside the jet thrusters, I was able to mount the plane in its famous near-vertical flight. I drilled the holes slightly off in a “V” shape, so that when pulled together, they provide enough tension to keep the jet from falling off. These were then covered with aquarium filter floss, held in shape by my wife’s aquanet hairspray while she was happily sleeping.

CONCLUSIONS

If you are looking for a super accurate F15E,  I would recommend looking elsewhere, but for a weekend kit, this one certainly fills the bill. If you build it out of the box, you are going to see some serious problems, but it is perfect “what if” chowder !

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-15_Strike_Eagle

 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24708771/

Greg Ewald

February 2009

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