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In-Box Review
148
F-15 B/D
F-15 B/D (2 in 1) Israeli Air Force & U.S. Air Force
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Brief background
You can't help but start to feel a bit old when you realise that an aircraft you remember first appearing during your childhood is still in front-line service over 40 years later! But so it is with the F-15 Eagle, which first set the aviation world alight in 1972. Acclaimed as the USAF's first true air superiority fighter in a generation, in addition to almost Gerry Anderson-style futuristic lines, the Eagle boasted an extraordinary power-to-weight ratio that allowed it to climb vertically coupled with unmatched manoeuvrability for its day.

The arrival of North American's Eagle fighter was followed around a year later by a two-seat trainer initially known as the TF-15 and later rechristened the F-15B. When the F-15C appeared entered production in 1978, it brought with it its own two-seater trainer version which became in turn the F-15D. 61 F-15Bs were built between 1972 and 1979, with a further 92 F-15D's following in production until 1985. Israel purchased 7 of each version. Although nominally trainers, the F-15B and 'D retain the armed capability of the air-superiority single-seaters and have seen combat in Middle East conflicts. The success of the initial two-seaters led the way to the F-15E Strike Eagle, a dedicated all-weather strike-fighter with a weapons officer taking the rear seat in place of an instructor.

Sources: Kit instructions and Wikipedia

in kit form
Great Wall Hobby's 2-seater Eagle is one of those kits that blows you away from the moment you open the box. It certainly helps that the first things you set eyes on are more of the company's uniquely (in my experience) well moulded one-piece missiles that rival some of the best resin upgrades available, but the kit continues to impress at every turn.

The first release in what is clearly set to be an extended series of single- and two-seat Eagles comprises:

208 x grey styrene parts
4 x clear styrene parts
7 x etched brass parts clear film
Decals for 4 x colour schemes

The moulding is quite simply superb. The crisp parts show no flash or sink marks, and ejector pin marks seem well hidden. The surface finish consists of fine engraving which varies in weight to depict panel lines and inspection covers, with lightly embossed rivets and fasteners – again in two weights. Slide moulds allow for some very delicate details such as the needle-like antennae on the sides of the nose (be careful, or you'll break them when handling the parts – yes, you've guessed it, I found out the hard way!) and the cones at the front of the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 engines. Multi-part moulds also allow the surface detailing to extend right around the complex contours of the eagle, with only the faintest of separation lines to clean up.

Test fit
The breakdown of the airframe parts is a little complex, but the engineering is such that a dry fit shows this should be a “no filler” build if you take care. A full span one-piece wing/fuselage top extends to just behind the cockpit area. The lower wing panels attach to a lower fuselage section with strong pins along most of the length of the joints, and the completed sub-assembly clips to the top section very precisely. The forward fuselage is split vertically and has a large locating block that is held in a “cradle” inside the rear section. Finally, a drop in piece bridges the area in front of the airbrake. The fit of all the sections is satisfyingly precise, with the joints mostly seeming to follow panel lines.

A few details
The 25-piece cockpit is well fitted out, with a choice of Escapac IC-7 or ACES II ejection seats, depending on whether you're building an F-15B or F-15D. Each type of seat comprises five parts and has moulded-on shoulder straps. These are perhaps the one point of the kit that I think could have been done better, as the straps are very basic (compared with the shots on The Ejection Site) and the rest of the harness isn't included. Previously, GWH have included etched belts – so it's surprising to see them mould them on this time. Aftermarket alternatives will no doubt be available soon.

As with the seats, there's a choice of control columns and instrument panels appropriate for each version. The panel detail is excellent, and individual decals are provided – around 20 per panel, so they should keep you busy while you hunker down and ride out this winter's storms. The front panel's coaming is rounded off with a nice 4-part etched/film HUD.

The cockpit tub shows some really crisp moulding on the side consoles that should look excellent with careful highlighting, and separate sidewalls slot in neatly under the cockpit sills,. The cockpit tub sits on top of a 4-piece nosewheel well which, again, has some very nice crisp detailing of the cabling and hydraulic lines.

There's a simple radar dish that can be displayed thanks to an optional open nose cone, and either side of the nose features a sharply detailed avionics bay. I've no doubt there's a lot more detail you can pile in if you have the necessary references, but the basics are certainly there and should really repay careful painting.

There's a choice of jet intake positions, and full length ducts lead back within the body to the engines themselves. There's a choice of PW-100 or '220 engines (the only difference being the front piece of the engine) and each is built up from 14 parts, with effectively detailed exhaust petals. There's no option to display the engines, and to be honest it's not quite clear from the instructions how they are held in place – they are simply shown to be inserted into the rear of the completed fuselage through the exhaust openings. Perhaps it will be self explanatory in the course of building the kit.

The canopy is crystal clear and is moulded with a correct blown cross-section. Inevitably, this means a light mould line to polish away. A nice touch is that the canopy is packaged with adhesive tape on the exterior to prevent any scuffing in transit.

The undercarriage looks good and sturdy, and sports some nice crisp detail. The mainwheels are slightly “weighted” and come with two styles of hub detail. The gear can be built raised or lowered, but no stand is provided, so you'll have to figure out your own way to display the model “in flight” (and, of course, there's no pilot figure).

Finally, there are the missiles and drop tanks. A quartet of AIM-7s and 3 x fuel tanks common to both versions, with the Israeli F-15B adding Python 3 and '4 missiles mounted on the fuel tank pylons. As noted previously with their MiG-29, GWH's one-piece missiles are incredible pieces of moulding, setting a standard I haven't seen another manufacturer match yet.

Instructions and decals
The assembly guide is printed as a 26-page A4 booklet. The diagrams are very clear, with a few bi-lingual Chinese/English notes. Experienced modellers will almost certainly depart from the suggested construction sequence in places, and build the basic airframe before adding some of the finer details as shown.

Colour matches are given for GS Mr. Color and Vallejo acrylics, and a nice touch is the inclusion of F.S. numbers for many of the colours.

Decals are provided for 4 colour schemes:

1. F-15B (73-0113), no. 113, Knights of the Twin Tail Squadron, IAF, 2006
2. F-15B (76-1524), no. 704, Knights of the Twin Tail Squadron, IAF, 1982
3. F-15D (83-0046), 67th Jet Line, USAF, 2009
4. F-15D (85-0129), 65th AGRS, USAF, Nellis AFB

The decals arrive on no less than four sheets and look very good quality, printed with a matt finish and in perfect register in the sample kit. There is an absolute mass of stencilling included – a totally daunting amount for the F-15B, and strangely less for the 'D. The tiny text is legible with a magnifier – although doing so reveals some typos (perhaps not surprisingly). Purists may hold out for aftermarket stencils, but the rest of us? - well, how often do you honestly look at your models with a magnifying glass?... I'll be content to use the kit decals.

Conclusion
GWH's Eagle is a gorgeous kit, that sits right at the cutting edge of current moulding technology. The construction looks straightforward enough to be suitable for anyone with a little experience, with just a few etched items to perhaps stretch newcomers to the medium a little. I think you can expect to see a lot of builds of this beauty at model shows in the year ahead! Highly recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
SUMMARY
Highs: Excellent engineering and faultless moulding. Great detail in most areas. Amazing one-piece missiles. Very well printed decals with perfect registration.
Lows: Simplified ejection seats. Typos in the stencil decals if you look through a magnifier.
Verdict: GWH's new Eagle is a real beauty! Great moulding and detail, coupled with what promises to be easy construction (based on a dry-fit).
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: L4815
  Suggested Retail: £59.99
  PUBLISHED: Jan 08, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.78%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.63%

Our Thanks to Great Wall Hobby!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)
FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2018 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



Comments

Good enough or not, cross section or even some outline problem may be negligible, but as far as I'm concerned, IDF/AF doesn't use ADU-552 adapter except on F-15Is, and USAF doesn't use LAU-7 rails on Eagles, but GWH, in this kit, give us ADU-552 & LAU-7 together..... I don't get it Anyway' I got my sample today, hope my "founding" & text above can help them do some correction on next issue, hope it will be a fully specific IDF/AF Eagle(with dash-1 CFT) or USAF F-15C MSIP
JAN 21, 2014 - 10:54 AM
While some of the other errors may be "negligible", the radome and forward fuselage cross sectional errors are not. GW's major shape error in the forward fuselage and radome are as significant as Academy's 48th F-14 nose cross section. True, the IDF F-15A/Bs don't use ADU-552 adapter, but that's not near as bad as the botched nose. It's an omission, but one they should have caught configuration wise for this kit release, since it was marketed as an IAF and USAF F-15B/D. I agree, it's a significant omission and miscue. ADU-407 adapters/ LAU-114s and early AIM-9s should have also been included, so technically the missile and launcher adapter configurations are wrong for both.
JAN 21, 2014 - 12:25 PM
I guess GHW might depend on "flat" 4-side linedrawing too much and did not notice "curves" as well..... As a evidence, photos in some built-up review did show that this kit's outline is just fine if viewed directly on top, bottom or each 90-degree-angle of view, but curve-wise, I agree, less than desired, if compared to HASEGAWA stuff. As for the rail-adapter issuse, in fact IDF/AF also use ADU-407, but for carrying LAU-7 rail they are a little blown up on the fore end, some modeler have "reconed" that for a long time, while manufacturer worldwide simply didn't, that's another mystery to me When this item was announced, I did hope that GWH would do different, they did on LAU-7(HASEGAWA didn't), ignoring modified IDF/AF ADU-407... As a result, even let nosecone issue alone, the kit can only built OOB as IDF/AF F-15B No.704 as it was in a relatively short period of time.(or with after market decal, other twin seat IDF/AF eagle, with the same configuration issue below) My best speculation would be between late 1982 to late 1980s, because early than that IDF/AF didn't have the arched Python-3 adapter, later than that No.704 would not even be No.704 anymore, along with 708 it was converted to 404 & 408 as gun-removed photo-recon plane. F-15B No.113 is not possible OOB. At the time this A/C get into service ( must be after year 1991, the batch is purchased after GW1), IDF/AF already fit Python-4 with LAU-7 /modified ADU-407 on F-15s, GHW kindly give as the missiles、rails but not the adapter, really a pity. USAF simply don't use LAU-7, but LAU-114/118, so OOB we can forget US F-15D option. With aftermarket stuff or kitbash the problem above can be solved, of course, not big problem but a little annoying for a brand new kit. ....and the kit costs $100 there ? I'm really surprised, it cost much less here~ shipping fee must be much higher than I thought~
JAN 21, 2014 - 01:18 PM
Hello, Mike! Probably some thing didn't come across here properly. I was not in any way trying to attack you in any form. We see and appreciate your input. Very much so indeed. I never said you were trashing the kit. Please read what I said. Why do I always, try to communicate these things? It's always the same. I should have kept shut up! This is pointless!
JAN 21, 2014 - 06:04 PM
No problem. It did feel like you thought my review was thrashing the kit, so my mistake. I don’t deliberately seek to destroy or bash a new kit when it has major problems or omissions. When I look to buy any new kit release, I want to know what I am getting into, especially is it’s super expensive. I don’t assume just because the faddish craze of a new is all warm and fuzzy, that it’s going to be the next best F-15, F-16, or any other subject. I appreciate a truly informative review with technical backing and one that’s bold enough to criticize shape, accuracies, or omission issues when they are deserved. When there is a minor fault, then call it out as minor. On the same note; if a kit has a major fault, identify it and to what degree it is. Major shape errors typically take precedence. Not at all pointless. Our discussions outlined some possibilities as to what went wrong with this kit. I wanted point out the process I’ve seen from another company’s aspect. Again, I think they rushed it and for whatever reason, missed some key details and shape errors, which is all their fault; not ours. Cheers I don’t what reference they used for the forward fuselage, but either they translated the data wrong or flat out used bad refs. I still think they should have caught that error before they cut tool. From the side, it’s not that noticeable, but from below or on top, the tip of the Radome has a shark nose contour. In addition to being Egg Shaped, the 207/208 radome bulkhead is also a bit short in the vertical dimension; see my precious photo next to Monogram’s, which has the 207/208 correct cross section. There’s also the transition area from the aft canopy to spine. GW did not capture this contour that well at all. The Revell F-15E ‘s aft canopy transition ( though not entirely 100% accurate) did a much better job capturing the contour; even the vent has the a decent crest to it. To be fair, Hasegawa’s F-15B/D/E aft canopy transition area is just as bad as GW’s. So the IAF F-15’s ADU-407 is a bit different than the AF version when mated to the LAU-7; I did not know that, thanks for the tip. So the kits LAU-7s requite some beef up on the fore end? Do you have any good reference photos of the Israeli F-15 ADU-407/LAU-7 configuration? So OOTB, you are limited to a short time period IAF F-15B. I should post some photos of the ESCAPAC seats, as they are terrible. They missed a chance here to make a decent base line seat. Again we’ll have t look to AM for a more realistic/correct ESCAPAC and ACES II, since those too are poorly done. This also brings up another significant point; Feathered Pratt Exhaust Nozzles. Most IAF F-15A/Bs carried the turkey feathers long after the USAF removed theirs in the early 80s, so technically GW should have also carried Feathered Pratt Exhaust as an option as well. This is good information to know, since weapons-stores are really not my specialty. Yes, a combination of kit bashing and/or AM (when available) can fix most of the omissions and errors, though the forward fuselage and Radome are not as simply fixed. The Radome can get a compromise fix, but it would be impractical to completely correct the forward fuselage and Radome cross sections and AM would be quite expensive to fix this area as well. Great Wall’s 48th F-15B/D MSRP in the US is $116! That’s ferociously expensive for a 48th scale F-15, especially knowing the shape and accuracy issues. You can find them for around $80; not including shipping. Even the kit did not have the major shape errors and omissions I still would have a hard time justifying $100. As it stands right now, the Hasegawa kit is more accurately shaped the GW’s F-15. One has to weight if the better surface detail, cockpit (except the seats), intake ramp position, and decal options is worth the cost over the Hasegawa kit. Mike V
JAN 21, 2014 - 07:45 PM
Too bad that all I know is from ISRADECAL's IDF/AF F-15 book, obviously I can't simply scan it and post it up here The book is really expensive, costs about the same price as this GWH model here, but systematically providing everything one need to know about IDF/AF F-15. "Google" can't do the same job, not even close. LAU-7 rails don't need modification at all, it's ADU-407 that need beef up at fore end where LAU-7 is attached.
JAN 21, 2014 - 08:51 PM
Just to add to the list of errors on this kit - look at the grilles behind the intake ramps at the top - GWH have made them symetrical - they are both identical on the real thing and I was amused to note the artist who did their box top got it right! (so did Hasegawa 20 years ago) - profiles and shape corrections aside this is neigh on impossible to correct without some major surgury and so annoying in what looks like a very nice kit. why oh why do manufacturers get such basic, external and easily spotted things wrong - a few rivets and switches out of place I can live with this one means GWH have lost another sale
APR 03, 2014 - 10:47 PM
The Israelis recognized that the export AIM-9J (P/N) was worthless and did not want to wait for the Lima to reach export clearance status through Europe as the 9S. USN superiority in Sidewinder design applied across the board but the AIM-9J in particular was a hotrod weapon, designed for low off boresight engagement with a very fast burn motor, to enable the SRM LAR envelope on high energy, opening, targets to overlap gun envelope from around 2,500ft to about 5,000ft and thus the weapon had a shorter duration motor impulse and 20 seconds less flight time. The Israelis, who used USN heart attack tactics designed to exploit fleeting shot opportunities at higher off boresight angles and Double Attack or LD section doctrine instead integrated the 60 second AIM-9D which they had stocks of already and which was superior (especially if it had G-SEAM GCS switchout, as rumored) to any USAF period Sidewinder. This is why the IDFAF F-15 has the LAU-7. Move forward 5 years. At the time of the Osirak (Opera/Babylon) mission, the F-15s were carrying AIM-9Ds because there were only limited stocks of the new AIM-9L on hand and the F-16s had nothing without it because their tiprails were not Navy 'Winder compatible. It was thus felt that they needed (for fuel burn reasons) a face shot merge capability, far more than the F-15s did as the mission was right on the edge of being outside the range of the F-16. If you want to model the Israeli Baz with their most famous loadout, you need Hasegawa Weapons Set C AIM-9Ds (or Brassin, if they have them). You also need the ALQ-131 Long Pod, one of the rarest versions of the 'Deep' variant, which was specifically loaded onto three F-15Bs which acted as SOJAM door kickers roll back for the final run-in to the reactor (whose SA-6 Gainful crews were, contrary to 'eating dinner' rumors, quite jumpy after the Iranian raid a few months previously...). These pods, and the active U.S. collusion in the raid they portended, were so secret that they were literally delivered to Etzion the afternoon of the day before the mission and then taken back off the jets the moment they landed back (the pods had inertial and altimeter sensors, connected to a timer, as anti-tamper gear to prevent the Israelis or Iraqis from getting access to the pods gizmology under crash or 'maintenance difficulty' prior landing conditions) and flown out again on the C-141. A fourth jet, depending on whom you believe, either provided AXQ-14 datalink support to early model GBU-15s which were used to destroy the dome or acted as a rebro comms relay, 'somewhere over Saudi' to signal to the war cabinet of Menachim Begin that the raid had been a success. 'Other Means' would have been used had it not been. The F-15s single seaters which actually flew the cover missions (one section each) to BARCAP H2/H3 and BIA were in overload condition with three 610s and CFT and either Four or Two AIM-7s plus the AIM-9Ds. This is why Etzion as the Southern Route was selected as it was critical to penetrate KSA after a final top off via in-flight tanking (the wings can carry more weight than the gear). For those who believe the myth that the F-16 can fly farther than the F-15, let it herein be said that the F-15s flew the same 550nm @
OCT 24, 2016 - 04:54 PM
@
OCT 24, 2016 - 04:59 PM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
Thanks.
   

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