Mitsubishi F-15J Eagle 40th Anniversary Special Marking

Published: August 22nd, 2018     
Product Image
Reviewed by: David Wrinkle - IPMS# 45869
Scale: 1/72
Company: Platz
Price: $38.81
Product / Stock #: AC-24
Product provided by: Platz

Most of you should be at the least generally familiar with F-15 Eagle in its role as a twin engine all-weather tactical fighter. The F-15 was introduced into service in the United States in 1976 and just two short years later in Japan. The Japanese government made its initial purchase of F-15J "Peace Eagles" built by McDonnell Douglass in the late 1970's before continuing to build additional J models and Pratt-Whitney engines under license. The F-15J is based on the US F-15C/D model for those of you familiar with the Eagle.

Making a quick search I found that if you want to build an F-15J in 1/72 scale you are limited on your choices. Hasegawa has produced two molds of the J. The earlier tooling dates to the mid-1970s and its follow on was released in the late 1980s. The handful of F-15J's packaged under other labels appear to be tied to one of these two toolings. To be fair and upfront this is my first 1/72 F-15J build so I have no frame of references for comparison. The Platz F-15J kit was first introduced in 2015 and has been released in 5 boxings with different markings as well as a J-MSIP version of the F-15J. My initial impression of the quality and detail of the Platz F-15J is very favorable. But please read on!

Before I address the build, let me touch upon the markings. As many of you may have noticed the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) has a colorful habit of decorating up aircraft for display each year. Usually the markings are used to commemorate a unit or the like, in this case it was no exception as this aircraft marks the 40th Anniversary of the 304th Air Defense Squadron. The artwork displayed on the upper surface of the aircraft is a "Tengu" The creature has its roots in Japanese and Chinese religion and is considered to be a type of Shinto God.

The Platz kit contains six sprues, not to mention of simply fantastic decal sheet printed by Cartograf. I'll cover the decals more in depth later but in an ideal world I really love to see more model companies utilizing Cartagraf decals. The instruction booklet is well done and everything is boxed up in a standard top opening cardboard box. No photoetch is included although Platz does make a couple of photoetched Detail Up sets for their F-15J.

I'm not going to step through the entire build in detail, but will highlight what I think is noteworthy. Like most aircraft kits construction begins with the cockpit and when finished is joined within the forward fuselage section. I don't recall any problems with the initial build and if I had to nitpick, the cockpit did seem a little cramped but when she is all buttoned up I don't even notice it. Don't forget to add the recommended 3 grams of weight in the nose cone. And yes, it is enough to make her sit correctly.

Following the forward section construction, the ducts are assembled and painted prior to being sandwiched within the main body of the fuselage. At the conclusion of this sub-assembly the fuselage sides are attached to the main body. Personally I found this assembly stage a bit fiddly but with a little perseverance the part fits correctly into place.

The forward and aft fuselage sections are joined next in the build. With my build, I found a slight discrepancy in the shape / fit between the forward and mid sections. Some sanding and test fitting yielded a decent join and all ended up well. The inlets ramps are added at this stage and yes, parts are included to pose the ramps either in the up or down position. Builders choice. The dorsal air brake is added and this part was one of my very few issues with the kit. The air brake appeared to be a short shot and the two forward hinge pieces were missing. (You will notice this on the sprue photos included in the review.) Since I was posing the brake down, it wasn't too big of a deal. I fabricated replacements from some epoxy putty and the finished product looks good to my eye. I'm not sure how this would work if the brake was to be posed in the open / up position. I later checked with another Platz F-15J kit owner who has an earlier boxing of this kit and his kit too had a short shot on the same part.

Moving on, the exhaust nozzles are assembled. The actuator arms are just a tiny bit fiddly but look the part when complete. Fins, stabs and main wing panels are also added at his time. Again, no problems here either. The main wings join with the fuse in such a logical way that little effort is required to get the wings in their correct position. J

Lastly, assembling the nose and main gear is accomplished and joined to the model. The gear pretty much self-aligns making this one of the easier kits to get the gear right. Finally the Air-to-Air missiles and drop tanks sub-assemblies are assembled and attached to round out the model build.

Before moving on to paint and decals, I thought it would be a good time to share my feelings on the overall design and layout of the kit parts. With only one or two small unavoidable exceptions, the fuselage and main wing parts join directly on the aircraft panel lines. With a couple of small exceptions, assembly came off without a hitch. Most of the seams were simply perfect with a few exceptions where it was necessary to utilize my favorite plastic putty filler. A quick swipe of putty took care of the tiny panel gaps.

I did neglect to mention the canopy parts for this kit. The canopy fit very well but like the few modern jets I've built, there seems to be a mold line on the main canopy part. This kit is certainly no exception although it does seem to be a bit more pronounced than most. Can it be sanded out and polished? Sure it can, work steady with you fine grit sandpaper and polishing compounds and you will end up with a great finished product canopy.

Moving on to painting I utilized the Mr. Color reference numbers called out in the instructions. Also included are reference numbers for Testors / Model Master paints if that is what you prefer. To facilitate painting, I left off the drop tanks, pylons, exhaust nozzles and landing gear. For me, this seemed to work out pretty well. The camouflage scheme is pretty simple so I didn't think it was necessary to use any masking for anything other than the metallic area near the exhaust nozzles and the canopy. When dry, a bit of Tamiya clear coat was sprayed in preparation for decal application.

With the model prepared for decals I began with the drop tank decal application. My thought process was that if I ran into any decal issues I could just leave the tanks off the model. Rest assured, I had no issues. Overall all the Cartograf decals were simply top notch. In most cases it wasn't even necessary to apply a softening solution. Work carefully but quickly as I found that once the decals began to stick to the model it was unlikely that you could move them around any further.

It became quickly apparent there are a good number of small markings spread liberally around the finished model. Although well labeled I didn't see a logical order to the locations on the decal sheet. Needless to say, I probably have more time invested in finding the decals then actually placing them on the finished model. Count on two or three evenings of work to complete this decal application. Take your time and check the reference photos. My best guess is that I have 5 or 6 hours in decals and twice that in model construction.

As far as the large "Tengu Warrior" decal on top of the fuse, I started with the air brake section as it seemed to me that alignment of this center decal section would be critical to getting the overall decal in the correct position on the airframe. Most of the decal sections for the Tengu Warrior were spot on perfect but on or two small sections had a bit of overlap with it neighbor. A quick swipe with my scalpel fixed that right up. I did see on the starboard side one decal section was slightly misaligned with an upper surface vent. A little bit of paint touchup fixed that right up though.

In conclusion I found this kit to be worth the time to build it. The overall fit was very good and a modeler with a few builds under their belt should be able to complete the build. I don't think this is a good choice for someone's first model build though. I should mention that I now have another Platz F-15J with different markings and look forward to its build in the near future. I would very much like to thank Platz Hobby for providing the kit for review and the IPMS USA for allowing me to review it. doumoarigatougozaimasu

  • Sprue Shot
    Sprue Shot
  • Sprue Shot
    Sprue Shot
  • Sprue Shot
    Sprue Shot
  • Sprue Shot
    Sprue Shot
  • Clear Parts
    Clear Parts
  • Canopy
  • Decal Sheet
    Decal Sheet
  • Markings
  • Short Shot on Air Brake
    Short Shot on Air Brake
  • Finished
  • Finished
  • Finished
  • Finished

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