Hasegawa 1/72 F-15J Eagle '60th Anniversary'

KIT #: 02131
PRICE: 2560 yen from www.hlj.com 
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Limited Reissue (2014)

HISTORY

The Mitsubishi F-15J/DJ Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather air superiority fighter based on the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle in use by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The F-15J was produced under license by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The subsequent F-15DJ and F-15J Kai variants were also produced. Japan is the largest customer of the F-15 Eagle outside the United States. In addition to combat, F-15DJ roles include training. The F-15J Kai is a modernized version of the F-15J.

THE KIT

f15ja.jpg (600384) Hasegawa's F-15 kit is one of the better kits of this aircraft in this scale. The cockpit consists of a four piece bang seat, raised detail on the instrument panel and side consoles as well as decals for those who are not good at painting these panels. A control stick as well as a fairly well detailed avionics bay behind the pilot completes the cockpit assembly. For those who want a bit more detail, there is a resin aftermarket part to provide that detail for the avionics bay. The nose gear well fits under this assembly.

In line with almost every 1/72 F-15 kit, the nose is separate and split vertically while the rest of the fuselage is split horizontally. There is no weight information provided as the Eagle doesn't seem to need it, but those of us who are cautious will add a bit just to be sure. Intakes are fairly shallow with compressor faces on the blanking plates. The forward intakes are in two pieces and the kit provides ramp detail as well. To provide for other boxings of the Eagle, there are some small pieces to attach to the trailing edges of the fuselage.

The wings have a 'half wing' lower insert with pylon holes already opened. This kit provides the exhaust without the 'turkey feathers' so has five burner petals per side plus all their actuating rods. All the flight surfaces are separate and slot into the fuselage when that is complete. The kit provides both the US and Japanese fin types as this same kit is boxed as an F-15C.

The speed brake is separate and can be displayed open, though it is almost never raised while on the ground except for landing. Landing gear is well done  with separate wheels and lots of links and lights. As a note, the forward gear doors on the main and nose gear are closed except for the retraction or extension cycle so you may want to attach those prior to painting the fuselage. However, this may make it difficult to install the retraction struts so use your judgment when it comes to this area. For things under wings, the kit comes with three fuel tanks, the wing tanks having Sidewinder rails. Typical of many Hasegawa jet kits, there is no ordnance, so you'll need to get one of the Weapons Sets if you want yours armed.

Instructions are well drawn and if you have built any Hasegawa kit in the last thirty years, they will look familiar. Gunze paint references, of course. Japanese Eagles are painted in the older scheme of FS 36320 over 36375, two rather close greys. Markings are very colorful and are for the box art plane from 201 squadron that celebrated the 60th anniversary of the JASDF. Hasegawa provides the option of painting on the fin colors or using ready to go decals. I know I appreciate this as often we have trouble getting large decals to conform to the many lumps and bumps on airframes. The sheet is superbly printed and has the usual zillion stencils that are so common on modern aircraft.

CONCLUSIONS

If you are a fan of special schemes or F-15s or Japanese modern aviation, this is one for you. I have built Hasegawa's F-15 kits before and found them to be excellent. As a note, Hasegawa did a very early F-15A kit which was nice, but of the raised panel line era. They later did a whole new tool kit that was up to modern standards and this is one of those kits. What is also nice is that this kit is not stupidly priced and can be built as a standard F-15C if one has the decals for one of those versions.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_F-15J

November 2014

My thanks Hobby Link Japan for the preview kit. Get yours today on discount at this link

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