Tuesday, June 10

Gary looks at just what has changed in the re-tooled GWH F-15 in 48th scale in this side-by-side comparison

Gary had more than just started his new Great Wall Hobby F-15 in 48th scale (he was hinting at a Japanese Aggressor scheme, who knows?) He was keen to get it done when hoots and hollers fro the online community made GWH re-tool several key parts of this kit (it was previously reviewed as near fault-less) - anyway before he re-commenced with the build Gary was kind enough to tell us what has changed in the kit. 


Great Wall Hobby
Kit No: L4815
1/48th scale
Available from: Great Wall Hobby directly & most model shops
Model by Gary Wickham

GWH 1/48 F-15B/D Eagle Correction set review here.
GWH 1/48 F-15B/D Eagle - Build Review Part I
GWH 1/48 F-15B/D Eagle - Build Review Part II
GWH 1/48 F-15B/D Eagle - Build Review Part III
GWH 1/48 F-15B/D Eagle - Completed Gallery

In late 2013, Great Wall Hobby released a newly tooled F-15B/D kit in 1/48. The kit was generally well received but it was not long before knowledgeable folks on the forums pointed out several errors. Nothing new in that I hear you say, but its what came next that was a pleasant surprise. In the past Great Wall has shown a genuine desire to create kits to a very high standard and obviously took note of the feedback on the new kit and set about correcting most of the mistakes.

Now this is not the first time that GWH has made every effort to correct their kits (they did so with their P-61 and MiG-29) but it is the first time that have they decided to release (at no cost) a specific correction set for an existing kit. In the case of the P-61 they corrected several errors in the second and subsequent boxing but if you purchased the first boxing you were out of luck.

This review will examine only the correction set. I’ll be building the kit itself for a future review so stay tuned for that.

The update set comes with 6 new sprues, some of which are complete replacements for the original kit sprues (A, G) and others are sub-sprues (B,C,J,R) containing only the parts needing correction.
I thought the best way to show the changes was with photos of the two side by side. In some cases you have to look hard to see the difference and in others it’s pretty obvious.

Lets start from the very front of the model and work our way backwards. The shape of the radome has been fairly widely criticized and GWH have addressed this both in its lengthwise shape and taper as well as in cross section.

As you can see, the radome (part C38) has been re-shaped to be less “bulbous” and more conical in shape along its length.
In cross section the radome has also been re-worked and here you can see that the new part is far more evenly rounded (particularly at the bottom) than the original part. The original part had a very pronounced point on the bottom.
Of course if you change the shape of the radome then you need to change the shape of the forward fuselage (parts C1 & C10) cross-section to match. As the photos show this change is visibly less obvious than the radome itself but let me assure you it is quite obvious if you try to mate the old radome to the new fuselage.
To keep their re-tooling costs down GWH have skipped some parts and you will need to use the original items with the new parts. In some cases this means that the new and old parts do not fit perfectly and as can be seen here if you plan to display the radome open you will need to deal with this minor gap
As we move further back along the airframe the next stop is the canopy and windshield. The original kit canopy (like so many modern kit canopies) was not sufficiently “blown” at the sides. What I mean by this is that when viewed front on most modern jet canopies are bulged at the sides and somewhat flat on the top, basically they are not perfectly circular. Kit manufacturers seem to have a tough time reproducing this effect.

The replacement canopy (part G1) is noticeably more “blown” than the original part and provides a more convincing representation of the real thing.
The shape of the canopy lengthwise has also been adjusted (ever so slightly) by GWH. The original canopy suffered from too sharp a taper from the mid point to the back. On the updated part the rear section of the canopy has been raised in height in both the clear part and the mounting frame.
When viewed from front to back you can see that the replacement canopy is higher in the rear portion.
Of course if the canopy shape has changed then the windshield (part G4) also to be adjusted to match. The updated part has been “blown” which results in the top being flatter and the lower sides more rounded.
The canopy framing (part C4) has been updated to accommodate the new canopy shape. The most visible change here is in the height extension of the rear shelf.
The forward framing (part C5, which houses the 3 x mirrors and standby compass) has also been slightly modified in shape and size.
Moving backwards along the upper fuselage, directly behind the canopy we find part B7 that includes the Secondary Heat Exchanger exhaust vent.  GWH failed to realize that this exhaust is a very different shape between the single and dual seat F-15.
The vent on the original part is wider and flatter (like the F-15C) and on the new part they have corrected this to accurately represent the dual (B/D/E) vent. GWH have also adjusted the size of the circular TACCAN antenna just behind the vent and forward of the UHF blade antenna.
The last change to part B7 is a reduction in the size of the cut-out holes for the air-brake mounting arms.
The airbrake itself (part B2) has also been updated with thinner mounting arms and a slightly different arrangement for the handhold slot at the very rear of the brake. I am a little unsure if this handhold should be present at all on the B/D model as Jake Melampys excellent book “The Modern Eagle Guide” indicates it was only present on the F-15E.
Turning to the wheels (of which two types are provided in the kit) we find that on the inner face of the hub the alignment of the brake drums and hydraulic line was incorrect and needs to be rotated by 90 degrees i.e. from the horizontal to the vertical.
Both type of wheel hubs (B & D) had the same problem and GWH supplies updates for both sprues.
Easily the biggest part that has been corrected is the upper fuselage/wing (part A9). This part incorporates the complete rear fuselage and upper wing surfaces, so it’s pretty large.

The main correction on this part is the shape of the engine humps, specifically the way they taper at a forward point. The original parts were too wide and rounded at the tip where it blends into the upper body. This has been adjusted in the replacement part to more accurately taper to a sharper point as shown below.
I also noticed that the refuelling receptacle door outline was more clearly defined on my replacement part. I’m not sure if that’s a moulding problem on my original part or something intentional on the new part, either way it’s a welcome improvement.
So there you have it, only a handful of parts but that’s not the point really. The truly impressive thing about this correction set is that GWH not only talks about wanting to make the best model kits they can, they actually put their money where their mouth is. They wanted to stand behind this model so much that once issues were identified they quickly committed to the modelling community that they would make a correction set and then they followed through on that commitment. That is something you don’t see very often.

I was already a big fan of GWH having previously built their excellent P-61A Black Widow. I’m now really looking forward to building this F-15D kit (it’s going to be a JASDF F-15DJ Aggressor) and with the update set I know it will be that much better.

If you have not yet purchased your GWH F-15B/D then most retailers will have received and added these replacement parts to the kit already but it’s probably worth asking to be sure. If you do have this kit already (L4815) and not this correction set then contact the shop where you purchased it and ask them to source the correction set for you.

Many thanks to Great Wall Hobby for supplying the review kit and for this subsequent correction set.

Gary Wickham

Thanks to Great Wall Hobby for sending the update to this kit. – Gary is soon to add ti to his kit – we shall see what scheme he cooks up when the build goes online soon..