Revell 1/72 F-15A Eagle

KIT #: ?
DECALS: One option


            This F-15’s status as one of my favorite models draws quizzical looks from folks who know I get no twinge of tumescence from modern (OK – semi-modern) jets. Its appeal arises  not from the subject matter, but from the manner of acquisition. It was a 40th birthday gift from my grandmother.

            Actually my wife’s grandmother. I had no grandparents of my own, courtesy of those wonderful folks who brought you the BF-109. Only my parents escaped before the door slammed shut; with an uncle on each side squeaking through under circumstances worthy of a Tom Clancy novel.

            Uncle Harry gave every scroungeable szloty to  a smuggler and arrived in a barrel, spending three days upside down on the Hoboken docks before someone heard his screams. Uncle Roy’s story  is a recapitulation of the “Lion and the Mouse” tale. He had the family buy his way out of Dachau, at a time when such deals were supposedly still possible, trekked across Die Vaterland, was intercepted by a patrol at the Swiss border, but was slipped across by one of the soldiers, whom Unk had once employed in his shoe factory and helped with loans and handouts.

            Those, at least are the stories as they came down to me.  In any event, you will not hear me disparaging immigrants, legal or otherwise; nor will you find me gluing up bits of anything that wears a swastika.  Which brings me back sur le sujet des modèles et de Grande Mère.

            Momma, as we knew her, thought it not at all strange that her 40-year-old “grandie” played with plastic models. Instead of knitting the usual scarf or slipping a check into a card, she set out to get something I would truly enjoy. Setting out was no small feat, considering  less her octogenarian condition than  the state to which had deteriorated the Brooklyn neighborhood in which she had lived since, many decades before, marrying Pappy.

            But that’s barely half the feat. Not only did she choose the right scale, 1/72; and the correct genre, US Military planes; she picked something which I did not already have in my collection. All  without guidance  from some helpful  proprietor. The local “hobby shop” was the type of bargain basement throw-together that sold everything from Campbell’s Soup to Kotex and Condoms; though the latter items were kept behind the counter and produced only upon discreet request from those evidencing appropriate age and morals.  In all, a memorable feat of grand-motherly intuition.  


            I believe this was the first kit of the F-15, appearing just after the actual airplane’s rollout.  Eagle-eyed Eagle fans will no doubt spot inaccuracies; but it looks close enough for me.  This was also one of the first Revell releases in what I think of as their “neo-civilized era”.  No longer were flash plagued  parts crammed into identically sized boxes. Markings were no longer scribed into  the plastic. Clear windows replaced open holes or  engraved outlines. “Box scale” gave way to 1/72 and 1/48. Small first steps were being made to fill cockpits and wheel wells. Companies were beginning to realize that models were bought by adults, not kids. Prices were being  adjusted accordingly.

            If I recall correctly, everything was cleanly molded in pastel blue, bagged in plastic, and packed in a generous box with clear instructions and high quality (for that time) decals.


            If I also recall correctly, everything went together smoothly, without need for any drastic interventions, of which my skills level at that time was not capable.


            This was quite a feat of my own. My painting equipment consisted of a $15 Badger external mix airbrush hooked to an inflated tire inner tube equipped with an airbrush hose adaptor. Anything more than a quick simple schpritz job require multiple treks to the corner gas station or a workout with a bicycle pump that put my arm out of painting action for awhile. With this crude contrivance I actually managed the two-tone “Air Superiority Blue” livery with a concoction out of Testors little square bottles. This was during my “Flat Enamels” period. Years later I discovered Future Acrylic Floor Coating and went back and “glossified” everything on my shelves. Under that coating some of the decals have since discolored.


            This F-15 model is just one small reason I will always remember my Grandmother.

Joel Hamm

November 2006

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