Last updated: Starting the model: Weapons, Decals, Complete - September 18, 2015
F-15 Eagle History:
In 1967 the Soviet Union revealed their MiG-25 'Foxbat' interceptor. The MiG-25 was a dedicated high-speed, high-altitude interceptor aircraft. In order to excel in this role, the aircraft made many performance tradeoffs. Its very very high speed, over Mach 2.8, required the use of stainless steel instead of aluminum in many locations on the aircraft. This added weigh, and this in turn demanded a larger planform so the aircraft could operate at the high altitudes it needed. This Soviet aircrft, with its very high speed and a large wing offering high maneuverability, lead US planners at the time to re-think some of their planning (Notably the F-X program) becasue they feared that the US was being outclassed.
So, in early 1968 a new propsal was developed for the US Air Force to develop its own deciated air superiority aircraft. By August 1968 the new proposal was ready. The new requirements would be a single-seat fighter with a maximum take-off weight of 40,000 pounds with a maximum speed of Mach 2.5 and a thrust to weight ratio of 1:1 at mission wieght. The new aircraft would also be a twin-engined fighter becasue it was believed twin engines would respond to throttle changes more rapidly. The details of the avionics were left largely undefined and up to the manufacturer.
Four companies submitted proposals. The US Air Force eliminated General Dynamics early on and awarded developmental contracts to Fairchild, Rockwell, and McDonnell Douglas for the definition phase of the project in December 1968. By June 1969, all three companies had submitted technical proposals. In december 1969, the US Air Force announced that McDonnell Douglas had been selected to prodcue the aircraft. Their winning design resembled the Grumman F-14, but with fixed wings.
The initial version of the F-15 included a single-seat aircraft called ther F-15, and a two-seat trainer version called the F-15T. LAter, the designation was changed to F-15A for the fighter, and F-15B for the trainer. They would be powered by new Pratt & Whitney F100 engines to achieve a thrust-to-weight ratio in excess of 1:1, a M61 Vulcan gun, a onformal carriage for up to four Sparrow missiles, and pylons on the wings for another four sidewinder missiles. The wing was set high on a flat, wide fuselage which itself acted as an additional lifting surface.
The first F-15A flight took place in July 1972 with the first flight of the F-15B in July 1973. The aircraft was introduce dinto US Air Force service in 1974.
The aircraft had a "look-down/shoot-down" radar that could identify low-flying moving targets from the ground clutter. The F-15 used computer technology with new controls and displays to lower pilot workload which allowed a single pilot to effectively operate the aircraft The F-15 also had only a single canopy frame with clear vision forward. When it was introduced at that first flight, the US Air Force announced that the F-15 Eagle would be "the first dedicated USAF air superiority fighter since the North American F-86 Sabre."
The design and its innovations proved so successful, that numerous allies desired the aircraft. As a result, Israel, Japan, and Saudi Arabia purchased and use the aircraft in the interceptor role.
The aircraft has been steadily improved. The single-seat F-15C and two-seat F-15D models entered production in 1978 and conducted their first flights in February and June of 1978. These aircraft benifited from the Production Eagle Package 2000, which included 2,000 lb of additional internal fuel, provisions for conformal fuel tanks, and an increased maximum takeoff weight of 68,000 lb. The increased takeoff weight allows internal fuel, a full weapons load, conformal fuel tanks, and three external fuel tanks to be carried. The new APG-63 radar had the first programmable signal processor (PSP) in the world on an aircraft enabling the radar to be programmable for new armaments and equipment. Other improvements for the F-15C/D included strengthened landing gear, a new digital computer, and an overload warning system, which allows the pilot to fly up to 9 g at all weights.
Beginning in 2007, 178 F-15Cs were retrofitted with the AN/APG-63(V)3 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. A large number of F-15s were also equipped with the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS). An IRST system was developed for the F-15C. Finally, the Eagle passive/active warning survivability system (EPAWSS) upgrade will include sophisticated jamming, integrated digital RWR/ geo-location and electro-optical/ IR threat detection and decoy capabilities.
Having started service with earlier version of the Sidewinder infra-red guided, short range missile, and the Sparrow medium range radar guided missile, currently the F-15 carriers the latest, all-aspect AIM-9X Block II Sidwinder misisles, and the latest AIM-120C AMRAAM radar guided fire and forget missiles with ranges of over 100 miles.
These continous upgrades have allowed the F-15 Eagle to remain very competitive in todays world of 2015, 43 years after the intial F-15A took flight. Over 250 F-15C/D aircraft are currently operatied by the US Air Foce.
This is not to mention the development of the two-seat F-15E Strike Eagle multi-role aircraft that began development in 1979 with its first flight in 1986, and was introduced into US service in 1989. This is a completely new aircraft based on the F-15. It retains all of the F-15s capabilities in terms of air dominance, but has added a stronger air frame with conformal fuel tanks to allow for a heavy air to ground munition load as well, with precision guidance. These aircrft have also been upgraded and have significant capabilites that are extending their use. The US Air Force operates over 210 F-15E Steike Eagles. They are also operated, in various individual configurtions for the diffenet nations by Israel, Saudi Arabia, The Republic of Korea, Singapore and others.
F-15 Eagle Service:
As a result of its significant combat experience, it has ammassed the best modern combat kill ration with upwards oof one hundred (or more) combat air-to-air kills and no air-to-air losses.
The first kill by an F-15 was achieved by an Israeli F-15 flown byIsraeli ace, Moshe Melnik in 1979. In Israeli conflicts between 1979–82, F-15As downed:
36 x MiG-21 "Fishbeds"
The US used F-15s in the first Gulf War and ever since. in fighting over and around Iraq, the US acheived the following:
01 x Su-7 "Fitter"
Saudi Arabia has also scored killes with their F-15 air dominaince aircraft in combat:
02 x F-42 "Phantoms"
The F-15 was also used in successful test of an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile. In September 1985, an F-15A flown by Maj. Wilbert D. "Doug" Pearson, flaunched an ASM-135 ASAT missile some 200 miles west of Vandenberg Air Force Base. The missile successfully destroyed the US Solwind P78-1 satellite flying at an altitude of 345 miles. The F-15 climbed to 38,000 feet at Mach 1.22 in a 3.8g zoom climb at an angle of 65 degrees and released the ASAT missile. The ASM-135 ASAT released its kill vehicle above the atmosphere which intercepted the 2,000 lb (907 kg) Solwind P78-1 satellite at closing velocity of 15,000 mph, completely destroying it.
The F-15 has now been joined with another air-dominince foighter, the 5th genertion F-22 Raptor stealth aircraft. it wa designed as a pur air cominance aircraft, though it has recenly also been modified to proved precision ground support service as well.
The F-22 has replaced the F-15 as the pre-iminent air suptriotiy aircraft for the US Air Focre with over 180 aircraft deployed.
Despite this new, very capable fighter, the F-15C/D aircraft are expected to continue service until the introiduction of the US Air Forces 6th generation air superiority aoircraft in the 2030s.
F-15 Eagle Seocifications:
Crew: 1: pilot
This was a very good and up to date kit in its time, but users today will notice that there is some flash on the sprues, and that the pieces are somewhat thicker than what you can get today with the better injection modling available today. Nonetheless, the kit is a good kit.
The model comes with a decent box and box art. Inside you find two large sprues of gray parts...though they really represent five or six sprues that are all attached together.
With the clear parts for the cockipit, there are about 80 pieces.
The fuselage is in four piecs. Upper and lower main pieces, a upper cockpit cover piece, and the nose cone. There are also two engine exhausts.
Each wing is made up of two pieces, the upper pieces with a recess area for the lower piece that fit into the recess. The horizontal stabilizers and vertical stabilizers are a single peice each.
The panel markings on the aircraft look accurate and are well done for the period.
The kit comes with AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-7 Sparrow missiles (which Sparrow missiles advertise it age). I will replace the missiles with newer AIM-9X Sidewnder and AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles.
There is a straight forwward instruction guide on one side of the fold-out instructions. It appears intuitive and will work fine. The other side of the instructions is the paint guide. It is well done with one glaring exception. The kit comes with all the paints you need and they are maked with alphabetic identifiers. The paint guid point to these identifierss..."A","B," "C," etc. without any further identification. BMy paints are all dried out and so there is no way to determine what the specific paints are in terms of either FS numbers or manufactuer numbers.
So, just be aware of this.
I will use white for the landing gear bays, Dark Ghost gray for the lighter gray on top and covering the complete lower surfaces, Flat Gray for the darker camo pattern, flat black, gunship gray, exhaust, steel, and other obvious paints.
The decal sheet is detailed with a lot of markings. We will see during the build how these decals have faired over the years. If necessary, I will buy a new set of F-15C decals.
Here's how the aircraft looked out of the box:
The Build - Cockpit, Fuselage, Wings, stabilzors, exhaust, nose cone - September 15, 2015
I started by building the cockpit. Not a lot of detail for this cockpit. N raised surfaces, but it does have some fairly nice decals for the instrumentation...but all analog. MNo MFDs. . The ejection seat is very basic, with the seat, headrest, and vanilla structure. Aslo a decent stick. I painted the cockpit area accordingly, added all of the parts, and decals for instrumentation .
I then began building the airframe and control surfaces. I glued the upper and lower fuselage halves together, built the wings, and then added the winfs, the horizontal stabilers, and then the vertical stabilizer.
Now it was time to add the exhaust cones, the cockipt assembly, and the nose cone. All fairly straigh forrwards, but now definetely looking like our F-15C Eagel.
That's it for the first session. As I say, she is taking shape as a F-15C Eagle.
In the next session, I will add the intakes and then paint the fuselage, including the landing gear bays. I then will build the landing gear and add them.
The Build - Intakes, Landing Gear, Pylons, Canopy - September 17, 2015
I started this session, as promised, by building the intakes for the engines on either side of the fuselage. They are each a small assembly of four parts.
I then proceeded to paint the entire model. I painted the whole model first in a Model Master's Dark Ghost Gray, and then followed this with the camo pattern on the upper surfaces using Testor's Flat Gray.
I also painted the inner surfaces of the landing gear bays flat white, and then the areas around the jet exhaust in Model Master Steel, as shown.
Then it was time to do the landing gear. The kit has some nicely detailed wheels and tires, the toires being painted black and the wheels flat white per US Military standards. i then painted the landing gear bay doors (flat white enterior and Model Master Dark Ghost Gray exterior).
Once these were painted and glued together, I added them to the model.
Next came the pykons for each wing. These pylons have three attack point each, with two side pylons on each side, and then a place for an additional fuel tank down the middle. The attach points for other missiles are confronal to the sides of the aircraft and so there was nothing to add there. There is also a place for a center line fuel tank.
One the pylon assemblies were together, I added them to the aircraft.
Finally, I painted the canopy and dry fitted it to the aircraft. Later, after the finishing dull coats are added, I will glue this down permanently.
That is looking very fine. Clerly a U.S. Air Force F-15C air superiority fighter coming together here. That last pic shows where I am on the aircraft.
In my next session I will add the weapons, the additonal fuel tanks, and various antennae, sensors, and the tail hook. If time allows, I will also add the decals in that session.
The Build - Weapons, Decals, Complete - September 18, 2015
I started this secssion by paining the weapons and additonal fuel tanks. I determined that I would have the following load out:
4 x AIM-9X Sidewinder infrared-guided air to air missiles
Once I had painted these, I added the decals for the stripes on the missiles. I then placed the missiles and the fuel tanks on the aircraft, the sidewinders and the fuel tanks on the wing pylons, and the AMRAAMs conformal to the fuselage, two on each side.
Then it was time to add the decals. I decided to use the 21st Tactical Fighter Wing which was based in Alaska. There are a lot of them for this model. I ended up placing 94 decals altogether on the aircraft. They look pretty good...though the decals are old and a few of them are showing some mis-color. After all these years...I was pretty surprised they turned out as well as they did.
I then did touch up work on the aircraft and then applied the two coats of dull coat as a finish. Once that was dried, I glued down the canopy.
Now it was time for the finished photos. First the standard photos from around the aircraft:
Then a few close ups and other angles:
And there you have it. A US Air Froce F-15C Eagle air superiority fighter from the 21st Tactical Air wing in Alaska. Now I will move on and do some foreign allied aircraft. The RAF Typhoon, and RAF Merlin helicopter, and two French Rafaels.
The completion of the PLAN Carrier group was centered on the already completed Trumpeter's 1/350 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Mini Hobby's's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168. I recently pre-ordered a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, announced by Trumpeter and due out in October, 2013. I will end up adding two of those, propbably LPD-998 Yuzhao and LPD-999, Jinggangshan, add the PLAN- DDG-139, Ningbo, and the PLAN DDG-115, Shenyang, along with the PLAN Weifang, FFG-550 and thus build a PLAN ARG.
The completion of the US Carrier Strike group was centered on the completed Tamyia's 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, (in addition ot the other escorts already completed) included Trumpeter's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Dragon's USS Preble, DDG-88 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. When a 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-80 (or any Gerald R. Ford Class) is released from Trumpeter, Tamiya, Dragon, or whomever else, I will add it to this group along with another AEGIS Cruiser. Whichever Ford Class coms out in 1/350 scale, I will build it as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.
The US ARG will include Tamiya's 1/350 scale, USS Iowa, BB-62 (which I have already completed), Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Iwo Jima LHD-7, Gallery's 1/350 scale USS Sommerset, LPD-25, Bronco Models 1/350 Scale USS New York, LPD-21, Cyber Hobby's USS Independence, LCS-2, Acadamy's 1/350 scale USS Rueben James, FFG-57, and another Flight IIA US AEGIS class detroyer based on Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Lassen, DDG-82...all of these models which I already own.
The completion of the UK Group featured the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious, R06 as its centerp[iece until a 1/350 scale Queen Elizabeth carrier is released. When that happens, I will add that carrier to the group as its centerpiece. The Royal Navy CSG will also include two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (one of which is already completed), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (one of which is already completed), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN (which is also already completed) and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Tragalgar SSN. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Ocean LPD come out, I will use tt to start building a Royal Navy ARG.
The French CSG is centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gualle, R91. I have purchased the 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, the French Duquesne, D603 DDG which is an anti-air multi-purpose DDG, and the French Aconit D612 FFG and Gueprattet F714 FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These five vessels will round out my French CSG. As soon as a French Robin class nuclear sub, like the French Perale S606 SSN is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will purchase two of them and replace the De Grrasse and Duquesne with them, and then save those two for when a Mistral Class LPD is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale so I can create a French ARG with those vessels.
The completion of the Japanese JMSDF group was centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181. It will be escorted by Trumpeter's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-174, Kongo class (which I own), Trumpeters's 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami and DDG-111 (both of which are Takinami Class DDGs which I own), and by the 1/350 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. As soon as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale is released, I will add it to this group. Should a 1/350 scale Osumi Class LPD be relased, I will buy two of those vessels and create a JMSDF ARG.
Then, finally it will be a complete Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which I own) the Russian Kirov Class nuclear battle cruiser (CGN), the Peter the Great, by Trumpeter (which I own), the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumperter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udaloy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the new Yasen class Russian SSN (which I own), all in 1/350 scale. Some time in the more distant future when a 1/350 scale Russian version of the French Mistral class comes out (which is building in real life right now), I will add two of those and build a Russian ARG.
Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and became the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapaults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present. I have however purchased a set of 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhawks and S-3 Trackers to build a suitable airwing for the Sao Paulo.
Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Carrier Strike Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Carrier Strike Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimatly an Australian Strike Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian Carrier Strike Group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier, the Vikrant, and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.
Years more worth of work!
You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifictions at my site:
...and most of their surface escorts at:
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