This Revell F-15E kit was released in 2000, and it is still one of their best kits (although now maybe showing its age a bit with some mold flash, but don't let that stop you). For some time after its release this was THE kit to build for F-15 fans.
Notable Kit Features:
High parts count with plenty of detail everywhere
Excellent raised detail in the pit consoles and instrument panels
Well done ejection seats
Closed main gear doors for simplicity of build
Detailed engine exhausts (which will take some time & patience to build)
Fine engraved panel lines
Thin, clear canopy parts
Canopy interior framing detail
Weapons, weapons, weapons
Good (maybe very-good) overall fit
A ton of stencils come with the decals (if you like that sort of thing)
Engine air intake covers (optional)
Comparatively reasonable price
The USAF overall gray aircraft of this era did not particularly inspire me to build any (similar to the current USAF jets). After seeing a few builds of these F-15E kits, with the variation of metals on the undersides, the detail in the engine exhausts in addition to the F-15Es impressive combat career seemed to wear me down and eventually win me over to the "inspired" side, so I put this kit on the "Buy List".
Later I came across a release of Two Bob's 1/48th scale decals "F-15E Anaconda Squeeze Play" featuring some combat veteran Strike Eagles and I had my build package set.
Photo credit: Master Sgt. Lance Cheung, James D’Angina and Steven Turner / U.S. Air Force
The F-15E saw combat for the first time during Operation Desert Storm, which took place between Jan. 17, 1991 and Feb. 28, 1991. It was during this conflict that F-15E Strike Eagle #89-0487, from 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron “Chiefs” was credited with one of the most unique air-to-air kills in aviation history. The air engagement took place on Feb. 14, 1991 when Capts. Richard T. Bennett, pilot, and. Daniel B. Bakke, Weapon Systems Operator (WSO), scored the first air-to-air kill for an F-15E Strike Eagle using a laser-guided bomb (LGB) to shoot down a Mi-24 helicopter.
Due to the shape of the blown canopy there is a molding line down the center which will need to be removed (yeah I know I was thinking, "What? I have to scrape and sand down a clear canopy part and then refinish it so it looks perfectly clear again!" OK, you can do it... maybe get some micro-mesh... and some Future floor finish as well :)
The Conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) or FAST (Fuel And Sensor Tactical) packs require some patience and fitting to get a tight fit
Engine exhausts are 40 parts in themselves (many of them small actuator rods) so you'll need some patience at this stage and maybe a drink ...and some magnifiers!
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Used Two Bob's decals 48-037 "F-15E Anaconda Squeeze Play"
Added seatbelts made of painted masking tape
Overall paint job was in FS 36118 Gunship Gray with light weathering. This particular aircraft's "Lucky Strike" 911 nose art, shadow tail squadron codes and "Chiefs" tail stripes make this kit build a winner on the display shelf. Shockingly to some, I didn't laden my F-15E down with weapons... as I typically don't heavily arm my kits. Having said that, the GBU-15 guided bombs are very nicely detailed, (the GBU-10 bombs are not quite as nice, but still decent) and you have lots of Air-to-Air missiles and designator pods as well.
The After-Build Report:
I would highly recommend this 1/48th Revell F-15E Strike Eagle. The model is well engineered with excellent fit which makes for a good build for modelers of intermediate or better skill levels. The only caution I have is that the parts count is high (232) and the engine exhausts are a fiddly build portion that may take away some of the enjoyment for some. (Maybe a F-15A/C with the "Turkey Feathers" in place may be better for you :)
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers