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1/32 Early F-15B Eagle - 58TTW

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On 10/19/2018 at 5:09 AM, RichieB said:

Many thanks for the steers chaps, much appreciated.


I'm going to do this one in flight (again),  it avoids the undercarriage issues but then you have to put aircrew in the jet and try to paint them realistically!

Dan -  following your build with interest, the width of the replacement seats is definitely an issue.


Here are some seats for comparison of the problem. From left to right Aires Aces (with pouring block still attached), Aires Escapac and Revell Aces. Even without the launch rails the Aires seats look undersized (although I suspect the Revell one was made bigger to fit the cockpit). You will notice a slight modification to the Escapac seat which consists of a wedgey to widen the bottom of the seat. This performs 2 functions, it makes it look wider in relation to the cockpit side instrument panels and wide enough to fit the Tamiya's pilot I'm intending to sit on it. I must admit I wasn't brave enough to completely slice the seat in half and the mod will eventually be hidden by the pilot sitting on it.!




This is the Revell tub with the kit ACEs seat in the front and a 'modified' Escapac seat in the back. As you can see the Revell seat is the wrong type for my version and a bit soft on detail but it fits. The Escapac seat is now better but I think I'm still going to have to narrow the cockpit sides to avoid the rather large gap.




By the way the cockpit detail is ok but the throttles need moving on the rear cockpit which also has an F-15E IP. I am also working on incorporating an Aires F-15A front cockpit as the detail is better, particularly on the coaming, and as a bi-product also fits the Aires seat better.


Kind regards, 


the problem isn't the seats, its the width of the Revell tub.  compare it to the Tamiya tub.  The walls need to be moved in about the width of the plastic.  You can check me on this but on the B and D model the throttles are aligned, your throttles need to be moved to the right.  look at  http://partsrparts.homestead.com/start.html

contact me


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Many thanks for the heads up Bruce. The side walls have been moved in a bit and the IPs adjusted accordingly along with some thickening of the side walls. I've also used your resin rear cockpit IP which is much more suited to this version than the Revell offering. Throttles are also moved as per your recommend.

In other news I have added the distinctive fairing on the airbrake that was only used on the  very early versions (like this one).




And primed the seats just to see if there were any glaring errors. Looks ok so far!

You can see where I've added some blocks to the bottom of the seat to raise it to a more acceptable level in the cockpit when the canopy is down.




All in all, I suspect the Aires Escapac seats are a bit undersized. 

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Has it really been over a month? Small steps and all that!

As the Revell kit doesn't have any aircrew I've 'borrowed' some from an F-4 kit as the flying kit is about that period. I've repositioned the arms to fit the cockpit better (hopefully) and added some seat-belts from the Aires seat PE though there are still some elements to that which I will add nearer the end to avoid knocking them off.




I've also added some Archer rivet detail and the visor slide to the helmets. I've removed the oxy hoses as I usually add guitar string instead. It's more realistic, longer and can flex how you want it.




You may recall I queried if this was correct for the canopy support ...



Turns out it wasn't, so after some internet photo searches and a good study of Jake Melampy's F-15 book (highly recommended if you are doing any F-15) I found another use for the Archer rivets (which I really like). I also reshaped the plastic and added some detail that you probably won't see when it's in a closed cockpit.


I think the Revell kit is a good starting block but it's a bit bland without some help.

More, eventually!


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OK, progress (a bit!)

I've mostly been tinkering with the pylons and fuel tanks but decided to switch to the cockpits just so I can paint something. The front pit is the Aires early model which is very nice. I have yet to add the dial instrumentation as that bit comes when I add the lighting,




The sidewalls from the Aires kit are also quite nice. The holes have been added for cockpit lighting.



The rear tub is the modified Revell one with a resin replacement for the IP. Again instrument dials need adding. At some point I'm going to have to work out how to sandwich these two halves together so they fit the front fuselage. 



The jet jockeys also get some green. They look a bit shinier in the photos than I remember, must be newbies! Clearly their heads will be added at some point but I find it easier to paint them separately and I'm toying with the idea of adding squadron markings to them rather than have them plain white. However, not seen many pictures of early F-15 helmets painted this way so it will be a bit of artistic license if I do. 




And something to sit on. I've got some additional PE to apply when the pilots are added. 




Well, another small step closer. Just plucking up the courage (and will power) to rivet and add missing detail to the external aircraft surfaces which are missing from the Revell kit for the most part.

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Many thanks Maru, will try!


I did indeed read your thread Steve and I think the Revell kit is a very good base which allows you to add as much detail as you want depending on your thirst for accuracy and the size of your wallet! 


Kind regards,

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Well it's been a while! :o

What with a new job at work, finishing my studies and life in general, things have been a little less productive in the modelling dept than I had anticipated.

Still, progress has been made in some areas, the most interesting of which has been a little experiment with Electroluminescent (EL) Tape. It took a while to understand how to wire the stuff up in different sizes and whether it would work for what I had in mind, which is the F-15s slime lights. It's great because it is very thin and gives a very even glow unlike LEDs. This is what EL tape looks like:




The tape at each end is to protect you from an electric shock as this uses an inverter to develop 100volts!

You can choose different colours to cover the phosphor depending on use, this piece is 10mm wide.

To make the slime light I had to cut away the kits plastic version, thin that space out a bit as the plastic is quite thick. I then filled the space with some clear plastic to give the EL tape something to shine through. I made the gap a little too wide but the overlap can be painted to avoid excess light escaping. I also added some Eduard formation light surrounds to frame the light better and add some nice detail. I'll add the slime light spacer bars later.




Having placed the EL tape behind the slot, time to test!




Some areas to black out but a nice realistic glow. I will give the clear cover a bit of a tint of yellow colour as it looks a bit too green when the EL tape is switched off, hopefully the EL tape will still shine through this covering. Now to work out how to do the wingtips!

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Another area that has been occupying my attention are the somewhat detail-anaemic pylons. The ones Revell supply are designed to have the Aim-9s stuck in place and have somewhat solid attachment points for the fuel tanks. In keeping with the rest of the kit there is also no rivet detail, in fact, no real detail at all as the photo below demonstrates. Clearly my 'that needs to be fixed right now' alarm was burning a vivid red so armed with some reference material I decided to have a go.




The first fix was to remove the Aim-9 launchers from the main rails and replace them in toto. As my scratch building is not quite up to that standard yet, I nicked some nice ones from the Tamiya F-15C kit and also added small magnets so I can attach and remove the Aim-9s at will. The hardest part was to work out the magnetic polarity so I used the F-4E I had done previously to ensure they were all magnetised in the correct sense. I then add some bolt, hinge and latch detail using plastic rod, archer resin details and spare PE to lift the detail level. The rear of the pylon also received some small ball bearings to replace the somewhat vague plastic ones and of course some rivet detail was added.




The underneath of the pylon where the fuel tank attachments was given a bit of a makeover by carving out the necessary spaces and backfilling with bits of plastic rod etc to make it look a bit more business like. I also added magnets to allow the fuel tanks to be removed as required. I ended up needing 3 to provide sufficient stability but tried to put them in places where the fuel tanks are naturally connected directly to the pylon. For those doing something similar, note that the early F-15s had different lugs and BRUs to the later models.




The centreline pylon received similar attention but this photo also shows the lugs added made from plastic card and guitar string.




The only snag with the kit so far is that incessant voice telling you that the Revell blandizer has been working overtime. This in turn leads to many, many evenings of fiddly bits and carpet huntings.It also tends to mean that it is difficult to look at any scrap material without wondering whether it could be used as a bit of plumbing or mechanical structure, let alone the steadily increasing collection of tools 'required' to manipulate them into the aforementioned work of detail art. It's a slippery slope! 

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And so to one of the first major steps of this project, assembling the cockpit section which also means constructing the cockpit lighting.

As you can see from the picture below the front cockpit is the Aires F-15A resin version trimmed to fit, and the rear cockpit is the Revell one, somewhat adapted to F-15B standards.

The placing of both was mainly through lots of dry-fitting and the use of plastic blocks to prop the cockpit up. Each of the main instruments in each cockpit was fed by an appropriately sized fibre optic and routed to one of 2 LEDs. I also added some additional lighting optics on the side instrument panels for a bit of artistic license.

Each of the 4 sidewalls and the HUD was fed by a separate fibre optic and connected to a green LED to add some colour interest. The foil is to cut out stray lighting.

Luckily this is all on 1/32 otherwise it would be a bit tight what with the EL tape lights in there as well.




The hole to the right is for a vent which I cut out and replaced with a scratch built one to give it a bit more depth.




Once all connections, both electrical and fibre optic, had been made I glued the two halves together. Key was to ensure the cockpits were level and of the correct height to allow the canopy to sit properly with the seats and pilots in.




Quick test to make sure it all still works! The front cockpit dial detail is from Aires and has some great detail on the acetate sheet placed behind the PE. The Radar and RHWR were created in colour separately and printed onto acetate to give those displays more colour and detail. The Radar and RHWR displays in the rear cockpit were done similarly but the rear instruments are a mix-match of acetate dials from other kits and dials copied from cockpit jpegs and printed onto acetate. My preferred choice was to have been some decals for the cockpit dials but whilst they looked good, they did not let enough light through. I doubt any F-15 pilot would actually be able to fly of the gauges in the back but they do at least resemble a cockpit!     




And one in the dark for effect.



Quite glad the cockpit section has come together at last as it finally begins to take shape, might have to blank some of that excess light out though.

That said, lots of work to do yet on the fuselage if the cockpit section is anything to go by!

That's all for now but thanks for looking and wishing you all a Happy and Constructive New Year!

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Before any major assembling is done I decided to address one of the weaknesses of the Revell kit which is the lack of surface detail, specifically rivet detail. Now there is a fine line between too little and too much but in the right proportions it does add to the sense of scale and realism. The trick is to find a good reference (or three) and stop before it looks like the plane is made from nothing but rivets. Jake Melampy's F-15 book is a great start but for real detail you cannot beat the Chuck's epic walk through of his F-15C aggressor listed below:


Tamiya F-15 Kicked Up a Notch


 I also had a few older F-15 references as I wasn't sure if the F-15A/B were different in panel line detail to the F-15C/D. Funnily enough the Revell kit follows the panel line details found in an old Squadron/Signals publication so not sure who copied who as the detail is slightly different to others, perhaps more recent! One thing is sure, this aircraft had a lot of rivet detail but not all of it would show up clearly as the photo (by me) below shows:




Anyway, in keeping with my 80% mantra I'll change the panel lines if it's obvious and add detail where its relevant, so I've started the process with the wings. Now considering that there was the no rivet detail at all when I started, this kit is going to require hundreds if not thousands of these dam things. I'm desperately trying not to count them when I add them. While I was at it I also removed the wingtip slime lights and anti-collision/navigation lights - more of that later.



Mostly done by hand using spacers marked on Tamiya masking tape, or the 1mm Rosie Riveter tool. Some of it may be too subtle so I'll probably need to go over the weaker lines again - what joy! This had better be worth it.



The underneath area of the wing is generally poorly referenced but also rarely viewed on the model. Not sure about those panel lines at towards the trailing edge of the wing, are they for real or over-exaggerated rivet lines? While I was at it I also thinned the trailing edges of the wings as the are quite thick. Now working on the fuselage which has a whole load of additions and changes to be made - what fun! 

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