Hasegawa 1/48 F-15C Eagle Kit First Look
|Date of Review||April 2007||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||07010 (PT10)||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Still the best air-to-air Eagle kit in 1/48 scale||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$35.95|
In 1969, McDonnell Douglas was awarded a contract to develop the Air Force's next generation fighter. The Vietnam air war had caught the service without a suitable all-weather fighter and as an interim measure, the Air Force purchased their own variants of the Navy's F-4 Phantom II.
Given the rapidly declining kill ratios from World War II through Korea and into Vietnam, what was needed was a true air superiority machine. The resulting design was very large, but the F-15 Eagle was the first production aircraft that produced more thrust than it weighed. While the US Air Force didn't have the opportunity to fly the Eagle in combat during its first 20 years of service, the Israeli Air Force literally decimated anyone that opposed the F-15 in the sky. During operations against Syria in the Bekaa Valley, the F-15 destroyed around 80 Syrian Air Force MiGs with no losses, becoming the widest distributor of MiG parts in the world.
During Operation Desert Storm, the F-15 would sweep the skies of Iraqi fighters. On one night, Captain Richard 'Kluso' Tollini was leading a four-ship sweep of F-15Cs from the 33rd TFW. As they dropped off their tanker, AWACS called out numerous MiG-25s heading for them. The Iraqi MiGs employed effective tactics against the Eagles' radar and missiles, but not effective enough to keep Capt. Tollini from shooting down one Foxbat and getting part of a second Foxbat that Capt. Larry Pitts had also hit.
The F-15 Eagle will continue to maintain air superiority into the future as the aircraft receives upgrades to its avionics and weapons that will keep the Eagle's talons sharp for another decade. Two of the key weapons that will enhance the Eagle are the AIM-120 AMRAAM and the AIM-9X Sidewinder.
The Hasegawa 1/48 F-15C Eagle is still the best air superiority Eagle on the market in this scale. While this is an older tooling, so far noone has done this subject better. The distinction of best Eagle in any scale goes to Tamiya for their 1/32 Eagle and Strike Eagle. The best 1/48 F-15E Strike Eagle goes to Revell. I was surprised that Revell didn't seize on their victory by updating the same design to render the other versions of the F-15 and retire their legacy Monogram tool. Okay, maybe I'm not surprised.
This kit is based on Hasegawa's original tooling for the subject - the F-15A and F-15J Eagle. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees (duplicates not shown), plus a single tree of clear parts. This kit was one of the pioneers for the detailed full length intake ducts with engine faces that we take for granted today.
The cockpit is one of Hasegawa's better offerings and the rear pit behind the ejection seat is nicely done as well. Of course there are numerous aftermarket cockpit sets and detail sets available for this kit, but this one will look nice straight out of the box.
Among the features of this kit:
- Full-length intake trunks w/engine faces
- Positionable horizontal stabilators
- Positionable canopy
- Positional speed brake
- Boarding ladder
There are several details that are showing their age in this kit, but this could be to your advantage - read on:
Exhaust nozzles - The USAF F-15s are powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine, the same powerplant as the F-16A/B and the F-16C/D Blocks 25, 32, 42, and 52. The Pratt F100 has 'turkey feathers' to streamline the exterior of the engine nozzle to avoid airflow drag. While the F-16s still retain these turkey feathers on their nozzles, testing revealed that the absence of turkey feathers on the Eagle did not contribute significant drag in flight but their removal saved manhours of maintenance. At some point early in the Eagle's career, the turkey feathers were removed from USAF Eagles. The Japanese retained their turkey feathers on the F100 engine for a number of years later, but they too are now removed. Israeli and Saudi Arabian Eagles still retain their turkey feathers.
This kit provides only the nozzles with turkey feathers. Hasegawa has since released updated versions of this kit with additional parts for the turkey featherless version at a much higher suggested retail price. So your choice is simple - if you're modeling a feathered Eagle (check your references) then this is the kit you want at a much lower price. If you are going for one the featherless versions AND you're an AMS modeler, you'll still want this release as you were likely to buy the resin featherless nozzles anyway.
Missile rails - If you're modeling an older Eagle, no worries, but if you're going to mount AIM-120 on your bird, you'll need the beefier looking LAU-128 missile rails that replaced the thinner AIM-9 launch rails.
Pilot - Most modelers don't use the pilot figures provided in these kits and that is a shame. The figure in this kit has the older hard-shell helmet used during Vietnam and into the early 1980s. You can steal an updated head with the lightweight helmet out of your Hasegawa F-16 kit or a number of other options as well.
This kit provides some nice external stores for the air superiority Eagle including four AIM-9L/M Sidewinders, four AIM-7 Sparrows, and a pair of 600 gallon drop tanks that can be carried under Stations 2 and 8, or one 600 gallon tank under centerline Station 5.
Markings are included for two F-15C commanders' aircraft:
- F-15C, 80-0037, 1st TFW Wing Commander's aircraft, Langley AFB, 1982
- F-15C, 78-0531, 313th Air Division Commander's aircraft, Kadena AB, 1983
Hasegawa still rules the skies with this F-15C in 1/48 scale (and still rule with their F-15A in 1/48 as well). While this tooling is technically out-of-date, this kit remains in production while the updated versions are offered as limited editions at a higher price. If you're going to get resin detail parts anyway, save some money and start off with this release instead. If you're going for an Israeli, RSAF, or JASDF Eagle, double check your references, but chances are that you'll need this release with the turkey-feathered nozzles.
My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!