Hasegawa 1/72 F-15DJ Eagle 'Aggressor No.081' Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||November 2016||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||F-15DJ Eagle 'Aggressor No.081'||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||02203||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, nice details||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$51.95|
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.
In 1975, the Japanese Defense Agency started looking at potential replacements for the F-104J Starfighter still in service with the JASDF. The US F-15C/D Eagle were selected and type entered service in 1981 as the F-15J and F-15DJ (respectively). Due to export restrictions by the US, the F-15J/DJ didn't receive the same avionics suite of the F-15C/D but Japanese industry provided indigenous solutions for the aircraft. While the F-15J has not had to fire a shot in anger to date, the JASDF continues to be modernized to ensure combat effectiveness should it ever be called into battle. The process for upgrades is the Multi-Stage Improvement Program (MSIP) and the F-15J/DJ received MSIP I in starting in 1987 and MSIP II started in 2004. While the MSIP updates are very similar to USAF MSIP updates to the F-15C/D, MSIP II added new electronic warfare antennas to the airframe, most notably the two blisters on the sides on the intake just under wing glove. GPS antennas were added to the canopy hood near the rear of the canopy and some aircraft have also received an InfraRed Search/Track set ahead of the windscreen similar to the MiG-29 and Su-27. While the JASDF employs the F-15J as their front-line interceptor, the F-15DJ is used extensively in the aggressor training role.
Hasegawa has reissued their F-15DJ Eagle, this time with some very innovative decals. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus one tree of clear parts (duplicate tree not shown). The kit offers the following features and options:
- Nice cockpits
- Crew restraints molded into ACES ejection seats
- Decals provide instrument panels and side console details
- Positionable canopy
- F100 compressor faces at end of intake ducts
- Featherless afterburner nozzles provided
- Positionable stabilators
- Positionable speed brake
The kit provides the following external stores:
- 4 x 600 gallon tanks (max of three used)
If you want weapons/stores, you'll have to acquire the optional Hasegawa weapons sets or raid your spares.
Hasegawa provides a good-sized decal sheet that has markings for one aircraft and an interesting approach to the distinctive camouflage. The subject featured here is:
- F-15DJ, 32-8081, Aggressor SQ, JASDF
You only paint the standard Eagle two-gray camouflage to the airframe and Hasegawa provides the dark blue and white camouflage as well as the stenciling as decals. You're not going to find an easier solution for replicating the hard-line camouflage pattern worn by this aircraft.
This is still a nice kit and still the best F-15D or DJ in 1/72 scale.
My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!