F-15 Eagle by Monogram

1/72 scale
Kit No. 7580
Cost: $10 -15 aftermarket
Decals: One version – U.S. Air Force machine assigned to 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, Langley AFB, Virginia
Comments: OBD (Old But Desirable) kit; raised panel lines; two-piece canopy; four Sidewinder and four Sparrow air-to-air missiles; comes with seated pilot figure, boarding ladder and crew chief; easy construction, accurate to the eyeball

History

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed to achieve and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. Spearheading the defense of the Western world, the F-15 is considered the most successful modern fighter with over 100 aerial combat victories, and no losses, in dogfights. It traces its origin to 1965, when the U.S. Air Force commissioned a feasibility study to come up with specifications for a new air superiority fighter to succeed the F-4 Phantom II — making what became the F-15 the first of its kind since the North American F-86. On New Year’s Day 1970, the Department of Defense awarded McDonnell Douglas the development contract. The F-15 took its maiden flight on July 27, 1972, and entered service in November 1974, and became operational in January 1976. The F-15 is expected to remain in service with the U.S. Air Force until 2025.

Despite originally being envisioned as a pure air superiority aircraft, the design proved flexible enough that an all-weather strike derivative, the F-15E Strike Eagle, was later developed, and entered service in 1989. From the beginning, pilots praised the F-15’s outstanding manueverability, performance, and handling characteristics. It can out-climb, out-manuever and out-accelerate any fighter in the world. Since the F-15 was the first fighter in the world able to produce more pounds of thrust than its own take-off weight, it was also the first fighter capable of of actually accelerating while in a 90 degree vertical climb. The F-15 was built to have such power specifically to enable it to catch the Soviet MiG-25, the main threat it was designed to beat.

Successor to the famed F-4 Phantom II, the F-15 Eagle is a classic study in high performance fighter design. The F-15 is fitted with a sophisticated Hughes digital pulse doppler radar system, which can identify targets for its primary air-to-air weapons, four AIM-7 Sparrow and four AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. Its back up weapon is the reliable M61 20mm Vulcan cannon, which armed later versions of the Phantom (mainly the F-4E) as well as the F-16 and F/A-18.

While the Eagle’s aerodynamics and maneuverability are still on a par with newer aircraft, quantum leaps in integrated circuit technology have made the original F-15 avionics suite obsolete. To address this, the Department of Defense launched the Multi-Stage Improvement Program (MSIP), to get the Eagle up-to-date with today’s vastly improved information processing systems. Under the MSIP protocol, all air-to-air Eagles have received improved radar, central computer, weapons and fire control, and threat warning systems. In total, 427 Eagles have received the new avionics upgrades. Since the 1970’s, F-15’s have been exported to Israel, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Specifications

Wingspan: 42 ft. 10 in.
Length: 63 ft. 9 in.
Height: 18 ft. 8 in.
Powerplant: Two Prattt & Whitney F100-PW-100 turbofans of 23,800 lbs. thrust each with afterburners
Performance: Maximum speed at low altitude 921 mph (Mach 1.1); Mach 2.5 at altitude; Range: 5,756 miles with three 600-gallon drop tanks; Maximum rate of climb: 40,000 ft./minute; Service ceiling: 63,000 ft.
Armament: One 20mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon and eight air-to-air missiles (four AIM-7 Sparrows and four AIM-9 Sidewinders), guided by Hughes APG-63 pulsed Doppler radar with search range of 150 miles

The Kit

Monogram’s first F-15 kit, initially released in 1977 just after the actual aircraft entered service, is an older kit reflecting none of the design variations that came with later versions (the F-15E Strike Eagle, for instance). However, the kit retains a strong appeal with its straightforward, eight-missile armament and the clean, uncluttered lines of an air superiority fighter. The kit is injection molded in grey plastic and consists of 58 parts on five sprues. The cockpit is a simple affair with an attempt at raised detail for the narrow side instrument panels and a decal for the main panel, but it does have a separate, fairly well detailed control stick.

The pilot figure is well detailed, right down to rolled up sleeves (probably not an accurate flight configuration), with a lowered helmet visor and oxygen mask and hose. The only slight drawback to the otherwise impressive pilot figure is a small sinkhole in the belly (likewise for the otherwise realistic crew chief). The ejection seat in constrast is rather simple. There is no interior sidewall detail for the cockpit within the forward fuselage halves. There is good interior detail on the interior of the landing gear doors, as well as raised detail on the weapons pylons and the central belly tank. There are boxed in wheel wells offering very good raised detail. The nose cone can be set in the open position to show the radar compartment, or it can be closed with slight modifications. However, closing the nose may give rise to some minor fit problems to be remedied with putty and sanding.

Conclusion

This is a dated but still attractive kit remarkable for its accuracy (for those modelling the F-15A) and ease of construction, hallmarks of Monogram before the 1997 merger with Revell. Highly recommended.

References

  • F-15 Eagle in Action by Lou Drendel and Captain Don Carson: Squadron/Signal Publications No. 24; Carrollton, Texas, Copyright 1976.
  • Federation of American Scientists: The F-15 Eagle – (http://www.fas.org/programs/ssp/man/uswpns/air/fighter/f15.html#service)
  • McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle: The Ultimate MiG Killer, by Carlo Kopp; Australian Aviation, September 1984
  • The Encyclopedia of World Air Power, Crescent Books, New York, 1980.
  • www.wikipedia.org

 

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