Tuesday, July 7

Review: Revell 1/48th scale F-15E "Strike Eagle & Bombs"

 A very popular aircraft, now with more ordinance in arguably the most popular aircraft scale? What could go wrong? Well let’s see if Revell of Germany’s new F-15 Strike Eagle “with bombs” is on target or not…
Revell ref. 04891
Scale: 1/48
Type: Injection moulded parts, recessed panel lines
Number of sprues: 5 (+ 1 clear)
Number of parts: 232
Product Link on the Revellof Germany Website.

It’s elegant, it’s powerful, it’s versatile and even after 40 years, it still looks modern. The F-15 Eagle is a force to be reckoned with. The fighter is a great warrior and a supreme dog fighter, while the newer version called the "Strike Eagle" can carry an enormous load to it's target.
Ever since I started to build models, I can remember there being kits of the F-15. In the beginning, the Revell 1/72 prototype kit with red and white stripes on the wings, another one with straight wingtips and small speed brake. And later on Revell’s 1/32 scale green/grey Strike Eagle with all the blue bombs made me make the switch towards the big scale.
A lot of kits of the F-15 exist, but one of the best Strike Eagles in 1/48 is the Revell release from around 15 years ago. Recently, it has been re-released with new decals and an increased set of weapons. Now, that’s pretty good news if you ask me! Especially at the price it is slated at. But let’s not take our fond memories as fact - shall we see how this 15 year old kit has aged?
With 232 parts, this kit is built up out of many parts, although it needs to be said that the engine exhausts count for some 40 parts in themselves. For some reason, the box I got contained 2 upper fuselages. I don’t know why, they are completely identical...

The plastic is rather a-typical for Revell, it is very shiny and I think it might be of a harder kind than most other Revell kits. The parts lay-out is logical and the panel lines are well done and very fine which is very good for 1/48th scale.
The main gear doors are closed in the kit, which is pretty logical as well to me - since they only open for a few seconds when the gear is retracted or lowered.
Some sprues show their age and have some flash on them. This means you need to take the time to clean them and it will slow your progress a little.
The ejection seats Revell provides are very convincing. Some of the nicest in injection moulded plastic if you ask me. However on some parts you’ll need to remove some flash, as can be seen in these photos.
The instrument panels are nicely represented and the decals to fit them make them look pretty good in this scale.
When painted, the highly visible cockpit takes a lot of attention, but as this  photo from Revell photo shows, it can be built into a nicely detailed ensemble out of the box.
One detail I like a lot in this kit, is the canopy framing:
I mentioned that the engine exhausts are built up off many parts and they are a real eye-catcher. The parts are very detailed and experience taught me that they fit very well. This part of the kit might take some time, but it is well worth the effort!
And again the finished example from Revell
The main difference with the previous release of this Strike Eagle is the addition of weapons and targeting pods. For an impressive aircraft known to carry heavy loads such as the Strike Eagle, this is a very nice addition. The pods are well engraved, they just need to be painted, washed and decaled to get a good result.
I feel some weapons are rather basic compared to others. The GBU-10 bombs and especially the Sidewinders can use a bit of extra work...
... but the GBU-15 guided bombs are very detailed.
And fully loaded, a Strike Eagle is very impressive indeed!
This new release features the addition of two air intake covers.
The landing gear is detailed, but especially the nose gear could benefit from some brake wiring. The main wheels are beautifully detailed, but you probably won’t see a lot of them when you put all the ordinance on the Eagle. They are flattened on the bottom to represent the weight of the parked aircraft.
The nose wheel on the other hand is highly visible, and as I said before, could use some extra detail. But first, you need to get rid of some heavy flash...
The canopy and windscreen are clear and thin. The canopy has a thin moulding line on top of it: this is because of the shape of the canopy but with a little flex pad and micro mesh it’s off in about 10 minutes!
The decals in this re-release are designed by Syhart decals and they are of the usual high quality.
The decals are sharp in every detail. You get decals for two aircraft: the first one is a Tiger of the 391st Fighter Squadron, 366th Wing, based in Mountain Home AFB. It has a very cool looking tiger and a 9-11 “Never Forget” design on the nose. Under the windscreen, it carries a lot of mission markings.
The second one is of the 336th Fighter Squadron of the 4th Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB in 2011. I went with over these decals a magnifying glass and they are really very sharp! The only problem you might have, is not knowing which one to pick, but hey: no-one says you can’t build both of them!
Even though the kit is starting to show its age a little; it’s just a little flash that needs to be cleaned, but when you look at what’s in this box, you still have an extremely good kit of the mighty Strike Eagle. In the “good” list, you have the overall details of the kit, the weapons, and the very-very nice decals and of course the very reasonable price. On the “so-so” list, you have flash on some parts and the not so detailed Sidewinders.

I’ve built this Strike Eagle before and I have to say that the fit of the parts is really good, you won’t have trouble getting it together. The colour scheme is not hard to replicate either, so I don’t really agree with Revell on the skill level of “5” that is mentioned on the box. It's not a hard kit to build. I’d recommend it to both experienced and less experienced modellers. So nice to have it available again!

Nicolas Deboeck 

Our thanks to Revell for sending us this very nice little kit! Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit www.revell.de/en