1/48 Hasegawa F-15C

by Chris Churchman

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Hasegawa F15C Eagle out the box with resin replacement seat. Built in the colours of USAF 313 Air Division Commander's Aircraft (from the kit decals).

As with the majority of kits, work begins in the cockpit...

Even though the cockpit is not quite as detailed as what can be expected with resin and etched parts, I do like using cockpits that have good raised detail. I feel that it is not all about accuracy, but the effect that can be achieved by careful dry brushing and picking out the dials and switches in various colours.  Although every switch and dial may not be exactly where it should be (or even there at all) the overall effect can look very good. I also find it is far easier to paint these types of cockpits than struggling with photo etched parts that can sometimes look a little 'two dimensional' for my liking.

Having said all that the seat from the kit was atrocious, and the only thing to do was bin it, and replace it with the excellent Aires ACES II resin seat.

The only part that had me struggling was the colour of the electronics bay behind the main cockpit. Is it metallic green or blue? Never being that bothered about being 100% accurate, I looked at what some other people had done and decided to mix Metallic Green and Blue 50% - 50%. That way I would be at least 50% right (I think!).

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Once the cockpit was finished, I started building the main fuselage. This is where I start to get lazy. I hate jet intakes, and find the whole process of trying to sand and smooth the intake and then paint it, far too time consuming and tedious. The F15 intakes were never going to be easy to get to the standard I would want them, so I didn't bother with them. I simply planned to fill the intakes with a red cover and add Remove Before Flight Tags.

The wing joints required a small amount of filling, sanding and line rescribing. The nose section to fuselage joint was slightly worst, but careful alignment before leaving it to set in place left me with only moderate filling and sanding. This is made more difficult however by the intakes (I hate those things!!) covering part of the join.

The rest of the main assembly was very straightforward and had no hidden challenges.

Before painting begins all the necessary masking was done and the whole aircraft was given a light rubbing down with fine grade wet and dry. This takes the shine of the surface and is a good base to apply the primer.

Car primer was then used to cover the whole airframe. After leaving it to dry (which car primer does very quickly) I lightly rubbed down the surface again and washed the dust off. The base colour of Humbrol light grey was then applied with an airbrush, to the whole aircraft and left to dry for two days. I then used Blue-tac and Cling Film to mask the camouflage pattern before applying the slightly darker shade of grey. I find Blue-tac is excellent for these kind of schemes, and Cling Film is very easy for forming masking between the Blue-tac. The Cling Film also adheres extremely well to the Blue-tac and does not have to be cut exactly to size; it simply folds back on its self and stays out the way.

Painting was completed by airbrushing the metallic section at the back of the aircraft with Humbrol Aluminium, and spraying a gloss coat overall in preparation for the decals. 

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Decals were numerous and small, as with most modern jets, but went on easily with the help of microset and microsol. Another coat of satin varnish and the 'Eagle' was ready for some weathering.

I used a technique for the first time, so I was surprised when it all seemed to go pretty well. I used pastel chalk mixed to a darkish brown, which I applied to all the panel lines with a brush that had been cut back, so only 1/16" of the bristles were left. The chalk was applied as a dust (NO water was mixed!)  working a small section at a time.Then with a damp tissue I rubbed off the excess working ALONG the panel line. The more I rubbed the more faded the line became, so it was easy to control how weathered I wanted the model to look. This had the effect of giving me a nice dark recessed panel line and a preshaded look either side of the line, without having to preshade the model beforehand.

I liked this technique so much I went back and applied it to two older models I had not bother to weather at the time of building.

After weathering was complete and another covering of satin varnish was applied, it was time for the small parts to be added.

I still have to add a couple of pitot tubes and have some resin exhaust nozzles from Aires that I am going to put in place of the kit parts. I also have to fix in the red intake covers and add the lights to the front wheel.

Overall this kit took about two months to complete (about 80hrs) and I loved every minute.

I would like to thank ARC and all the contributors who make life a lot easier when building my own projects. I hope this helps someone else out in the same way.

All the best,

Chris  UK.

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Photos and text by Chris Churchman