Tamiya 1/32 F-15E Strike Eagle - Part 2
By Douglas Chan
It is quite boring for such a big size model if there is nothing special. Opening the equipment bay will solve this problem. The equipment bay is nicely molded except the handle for the equipment is molded solid. So, I cut the molded handle, drilled holes and inserted copper wires to make the handle. The equipment bay was colored as instructed in the booklet. Then placard was added to make it looked more realistic.
The canopy is nicely molded with the frame separately from the clear part. As usual, there was a seam along the doom shaped part, so I used the usual technique to remove it (file, sand with #400, #1000, #2000, then rub with #3000 paste, and then apply a coat of Tamiya wax). Holes of dia. 0.5 mm were drilled to simulate the screw marks on the canopy frame. The tapered canopy locks from Eduard set #32031 were attached to the canopy frame by CA glue. The inside of the canopy frame was hand painted with flat black. The outside of the canopy was masked with Eduard Express Mask SL011 and then the frame was sprayed with the body grey color. The Eduard mask proved to be a very good tool.
The standard armament provided in the kit is AIM-9, GBU-10, and cluster bombs. However, the usual loadout in the recent missions shall be AIM-9, AIM-120, and GBU-10/GBU-12. So, I replaced the original armament with Gunsmoke parts. The detail of the Gunsmoke AIM-9, AIM-120, and GBU-10 is amazing. The missile body and the bomb body is of resin material, all the control fins are of photo etched parts. One thing I do not like is the laser seeker which is cast in white metal. It is not quite accurate so I used the seeker provided with the kit. Other that this minor issue, the Gunsmoke parts are highly recommended.
There was one more modification for the armament. I filed the front part of the AIM-9 and the GBU-10 and then fixed a clear lens (blue for the AIM-9 and amber for the GBU-10) for the IR seeker and the laser seeker respectively. The result is very good.
The color of the Strike Eagle is of a simple grey color. In the Tamiya instruction booklet gunship grey is specified. However, I feel it is too dark. After several color trials with some scrap model, I decided to use Tamiya AS-10 Ocean Grey, which looked more or less the same as the reference photos I have. Due to the big size of the model, spray can was used. I used almost three cans of AS-10 for the whole work.
When the grey color was completely dried, areas other than the engine area was masked, then the engine area was sprayed silver. The panel lines were later highlighted with thinned black color enamel.
The decals supplied with the kit are for the squadrons stationed at Seymour-Johnson AFB (SJ). I preferred to used an after-market decal for the 492th Fighter Squadron stationed at RAF Lakenheath (LN), as my references are all of the LN planes. Of course now you guys have another choice from TwoBobs.
The decal I used is from Astra Decals ASD-3201b. The quality of the decals seemed not quite well as I noticed there was some "silvering". May be it is because of the dark base color (grey), but it just doesn't look quite good. However, it is all too late to switch to another marking.
Unlike Navy aircrafts, weathering is kept to a minimum because I never seen a photo of the Strike Eagle which is dirty.
When everything was set, I sprayed a coat of flat clear to protect the decals and to keep the body color consistent.
The display base is simple to make. A wooden stripe, a cardboard and a glass cover. Lines were drawn by ink pen on the cardboard. The cardboard was then fixed onto the wooden stripe by UHU glue.
I've heard people say this is a once in a lifetime kit because of its size and cost. After I built it, yes, I agreed it is so. I started working on it since end of November 2001. I finished it in end of May 2002, a total of six months. For a kit of this size, the details as molded are very impressive. However, there is still rooms for extensive detailing. This is my first ever 1/32 kit. I don't think I will go back to 1/48 again, 1/32 is really fun and I enjoyed building in such a scale, particularly with the support of my girl CC.
I hope you guys like my Strike Eagle and I am glad to share with you all my experience.
Once again, thank you my love CC!
- Thanks Twobobs for sending me a photo of a laser guided bomb hanging on the forward pylon under the CFT (the one in their F-15E MO decal instruction sheet)
- Thanks Gunsmoke for granting me the permission to scan their instruction sheets for AIM-9, AIM-120, and GBU-10 Reference
- Twobobs Mountain Home AFB F-15E
- Verlinden Lock On No. 22
- www.f15estrikeeagle.com [defunct]
- www.fas.org [defunct]
- www.af.org [defunct]
© Douglas Chan 2002
This article was published on Wednesday, July 20 2011; Last modified on Saturday, May 14 2016