1/48 Italeri F-15
65th Aggressor Squadron

by Ryan Turgeon



Hello everyone, this is my first submission to ARC.  This model was a must do for me, after seen a picture of the 65th aggressor eagles on my desk calendar.  This model had many firsts for my modeling experience.  I owe everyone a big thank you for the helpful sections on this website.  This model was my first experience with aftermarket resin parts, first use of extensive reference photos, first build with accented panel lines, first build to use future on canopy, collision lights and decal application, first use of clear coat, first use of scratch built parts, first experience with nail polish remover and filler and most of all the LONGEST build I have ever done.  Besides learning all these techniques I also learned a few other things along the way, such as, not all model kits are created equally!  I bought the Italeri kit, but after reading some reviews online I really wish I would have gone with a different one.  Some parts didn’t fit all that well, there are some inaccuracies (HUD, tail section between the engines, ejection seat was for F-16) and there were no cockpit details only decals.  I decided to not worry too much about the cockpit details because I was planning to display it gear up hanging from the ceiling with a pilot from the Hasegawa USAF ground crew kit.  The engine detail was more than I could over look, though.  I was originally going to ignore it but the more time I spent on this model the less concerned I was about dropping $30 on the Aries F-15 exhaust nozzles (late).  The F-15 engines, without turkey feathers, have too much detail that it would a shame NOT to use resin cast parts. The detail of the engines with this resin kit was awesome compared to the OOB engines and I am glad to have paid out the money.  Construction of the rest of kit was not much fun.  The fuselage and wings did not fit together well and required some patching.  Unfortunately, I got a little impatient and continued on were a bit more patching could have helped the final outcome.  I used a hack saw to cut off the pointed section between the engine cans and patched it with plastic.  I traded some JDAMs from another kit to a guy on the forum for an F-15 tank so I could have two wing mounted tanks. That seemed to be the most common configuration shown in photos.  I scratch built an ACMI pod by softening plastic tree with a lighter and pulling it apart until thinned to a point.  I used Model Master Enamels to paint using a pseudo-spray can/airbrush that I got with a Testors paint kit a few years ago.  It is okay for painting large areas but not details like an airbrush.  Believe me, an airbrush has moved up on my wish list since finishing this build and seeing pictures of what can be done using an airbrush.  I first sprayed down the light blue (medium flanker blue) and then started the daunting task of masking with tape.  It took me no less than 12 hours.  I am sure other modelers can relate.  I then painted on the darker blue (standard blue) and crossed my fingers I would not get any seepage.  It all worked out well, one more masking for the steel around the engines and gray nose cone.  The decals were obtained from Afterburner decals (good guys to deal with).  They went on very well using future, Polly S decal softener and following the tips and tools procedure by Gordon Kwan.  I was finally able to get that “painted on” look everyone strives for with decaling.  Another coat of Polly S gloss clear to seal them in and I used a chalk wash for weathering/panel lines as described by Steve Bamford.  After a final coat of Polly S flat coat, I present to you my completed F-15 aggressor.  Oops, I found a resin Elta 8222 ECM pod and NOW, it is finished.

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Overall I learned a lot about modeling techniques and the cost of Italeri kits make them good for experimenting.  I learned never to attach small exposed parts until the very end!  I lost 4 of 4 Sparrow missile mounts while decaling and weathering.  Luckily, I was able to find 3 of 4.  Finally, I rediscovered that finger prints, super glue vapors and canopies are bad news (Future to the rescue!).  

Estimated Total completion time: 60+ hours.  Next project: F-18 NSWAC aggressor or F-14 “Vandy-1” This time I ordered the Hasegawa kits ;)

Thanks again for all the tips and help from ARCers.  Please post comments, constructive criticism and suggestions on the forum.


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Photos and text © by Ryan Turgeon