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.
images below to see larger images
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!).
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.
images below to see larger images