Hasegawa 1/48 F-15E Strike Eagle 'Tiger Meet 2005' Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||April 2013||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||F-15E Strike Eagle 'Tiger Meet 2005'||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||07318||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Easy build, nice details||Cons||None|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$79.95|
Designers saw further potential in the F-15's design to adapt to the air-to-surface strike mission. With the F-111's service life rapidly coming to an end, McDonnell Douglas adapted a two-seat version of the aircraft to employ new night-attack sensors called LANTIRN, (Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night), increased fuel capacity using conformal fuel tanks (FAST (fuel and sensor tactical) packs), an increased gross weight for the additional fuel and a significant payload, and more powerful Pratt & Whitney F100 engines to push the lot aloft. The result was the F-15E Strike Eagle, nicknamed Beagle (Bomber Eagle) or simply Mud Hen. This aircraft remains at the forefront of the USAF's strike capability, while versions of the F-15E have been exported to various Air Forces around the world.
When the USAF started operations in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the F-15s swept the skies of Iraqi fighters while the F-15E used its precision strike capabilities to pick apart the Iraqi war machine. Even more than ten years later, new generations of aircrews took these very same aircraft into Afghanistan in OEF and back to Iraq in OIF, and once again the Eagle reigns supreme.
Hasegawa first released the F-15E in 1/48 scale many years ago though the initial releases had inaccurate weapons station locations on the FAST packs (they based their tooling on early prototypes) and feathered F100 engine nozzles. Over time, Hasegawa modernized the tooling and details in both their F-15A/C and F-15E kits, though it has been some time since the last time I've looked inside one of the Strike Eagle released. I'm certainly glad I did this time!
First the basics - molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on 20 parts trees plus a two trees of clear parts. This release has obviously received a number of updates since that first release. This kit has the following features and options:
- Good cockpit (though AMS modelers will go aftermarket with a resin cockpit)
- Two seated crew figures (you may want to save these for another Vietnam-era project as the crew are wearing the old 'hard' helmets)
- Optional boarding ladder
- One crew figure posed climbing the boarding ladder
- Positionable canopy
- Intake ramps can be positioned open or partially closed
- Choice of feathered or featherless F100 nozzles
- Photo-etched actuators for the featherless nozzles included
- Positionable speed brake
- Revised ASPJ antenna fairings around engine nozzles
- Revised weapons suspension on FAST packs
This release also has a nice selection of modern external stores (not usually included in regular releases):
- LAU-127 (current configuration) missile rails provided
- 4 x AIM-120C AMRAAM
- 4 x AIM-7F Sparrow
- 4 x AIM-9L/M Sidewinder
- 2 x AIM-9X Sidewinder
- 12 x Rockeye
- AAQ-13 LANTIRN pod
- Choice of AAQ-28 LITENING pod or AAQ-33 SNIPER XR pod
- 2 x 600 gallon drop tanks
There are additional JDAMS and such included on the weapons trees along with an HTS pod from the Block 50/52 F-16C/D. These are not used in this build though you'll want to stash them away for other projects.
Markings are provided for two aircraft:
- F-15E, 90-0250, 391 FS/366 FW, Mountain Home AFB, 2005, 'Tiger Meet'
- F-15E, 89-0473, 4th FW, Seymour-Johnson AFB, 2012, '2012 Turkey Shoot'
The decals are nicely done and include maintenance stenciling and weapons stencils.
This is a beautiful kit straight out of the box and provide several loadout options (with more still available using the Hasegawa weapons sets). Don't believe the instructions when it tells you that the AIM-7 can be mounted on the LAU-127 instead of the AMRAAM or Sidewinder.
Hasegawa has really evolved this kit and aside from the out of date crew figures, they've got the aircraft in a configuration that is more contemporary than the Revell kit and offers most of the same options as the most recent F-15E release from Academy.
My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!