Italeri 1/48 F-15C Eagle '1991 Gulf War' Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|F-15C Eagle '1991 Gulf War'
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.
Italeri has reissued their 1/48 F-15 kit, this time representing the F-15C circa 1991 during the first Gulf War. This kit was first released in the 1990s as the F-15A/C as well as an F-15E. The two kits shared one or more parts trees. More on this later, but first the kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Basic cockpit with instrument panel and side consoles represented as decals
- Reasonable ACES II ejection seat with pilot restraints and placards provided as decals
- Positionable canopy
- Positionable speed brake
- Radome can be positioned open to reveal APG-63 antenna
- Optional intake covers included
External stores options include:
- 1 x 600 gallon on the centerline
- 4 x AIM-9 Sidewinder
- 4 x AIM-7 Sparrow
The kit includes an outstanding decal sheet with the following subject options:
- F-15C-39-MC, 85-0102, 33 TFW, USAF, Tabuk AB, Saudi Arabia, 1991, Wing CC's flagship, 'Gulf Spirit', one MiG kill
- F-15C-35-MC, 83-0017, 71 TFS/1 TFW, USAF, Dhahran AB, Saudi Arabia, 1991, one MiG kill
- F-15C-25-MC, 79-0048, 525 TFS/36 TFW, USAF, Incirlik AB, Turkey, 1991, one MiG kill
- F-15C-28-MC, 80-0062/605, 13 Sqn, RSAF, Dhahran AB, Saudi Arabia, 1991
The decal sheet is very nicely done and includes an extensive set of airframe and weapons stencils.
- The rear fairings include ECM antennas that are fitted to the F-15E, find some good photos of the rear of the F-15C and trim away the excess plastic here
- There are no intake ducts, the intakes are open to fuselage interior and central blank w/engine compressor faces, use the optional intake covers
- Intake ramps are molded partially down, the rear tabs should be removed to bring them up to the top of the intakes
- Lower fuselage half has partial lower wing surfaces molded to provide a proper mount for the wings
- Engine nozzles are supposed to represent featherless nozzles, these need to be replaced
- The cockpit may be acceptable for some modelers, AMS modelers will want an aftermarket makeover
- The canopy doesn't have the 'blown' profile (as viewed from the front) which allowed the canopy to be molded without a mold line down the middle
- The forward fins of the AIM-9s appear to my eye to be too far forward - I'd consider aftermarket heaters
- The AIM-7s lack any cable channels on the airframe so they're quite generic. The Gulf War Eagles (and later) carried the AIM-7F/M which have distinctive channels. These can be added to the kit parts with Evergreen styrene strips, consult some online photos for placement
- You'll find flat and bulged main gear doors in the kit. Don't use the bulged doors as these are for the F-15E
The model is a relatively simple build and with a little work and some aftermarket help, it can be built into a nice-looking Eagle. It remains less expensive than most of the other options out there which also have their technical issues. With this kit back on the shelf, you have some additional options to consider.
My sincere thanks to Italeri USA for this review sample!