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Rico's Rig: 1/48th Tamiya F-15A Eagle

The 1/48th scale Tamiya F-15A Eagle was a nice enough kit when it was released in 1978, certainly one of the best F-15A kits available at the time, however it has been surpassed by better kits now (For such a successful fighter it is surprising to me that there haven't been more companies producing F-15A/C/D kits in 1/48th scale.)


1/48th Tamiya F-15A Eagle

Notable Kit Features:

  • Positionable canopy with support piece and actuator

  • Rear bay sidewall detail

  • Intakes feature engine faces (but no intake trunks)

  • Nice panel lines and surface details

  • Nicely detailed landing gear with center wire supports

  • Generally good lines (E.g. It looks like an F-15 Eagle)

  • Decent fit

  • Air-Superiority tanks (3) of proper type


1/48th Tamiya F-15A Eagle

Build Inspiration:


Even though this kit wasn't a model "C", I had the decals for Cesar “Rico” Rodriguez's F-15C that gained two victories during Desert Storm. This aircraft was in the markings of the 58th TFS, “Gorillas,” based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida and was one of two groups of Eagles to form up in Saudi Arabia, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. I decided that the truth stretch was minimal and set forward with the build. (The F-15Cs typically didn't have the "Turkey Feathers" on the exhausts and the "A" models had carried them until they became problematic.)


Cesar “Rico” Rodriguez in his F-15C Eagle


Heads-Up Report:

  • The cockpit is a bit sparse having only decals for instrument panels and consoles

  • Ejection seat lacks detail and is the very early F-15A seat which was later replaced by the later ACES II seat

  • Speed brake is not correct

  • Missing strakes above rear AIM-7 Sparrows

  • Some fit issues (especially wing intakes and underwing join)


1/48th Tamiya F-15A Eagle

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • Built out-of-the-box with the exception of the third party decals


1/48th Tamiya F-15A Eagle

Finishing:


The paint scheme for this F-15C aircraft was the Air Superiority scheme at the time consisting of FS 36375 and FS36320 camouflage. (Although in the cockpit shot above showing the aircraft used for "Rico's" first MiG, the darker gray is not apparent around the cockpit area.) I topped this camouflage paint off with a gloss coat however either the (Testors lacquer) gloss coat wasn't sufficiently smooth or the decals weren't the best (I suspect the former) as I got some decal "silvering" happening in a number of places. I patched some of this up as best I could but didn't get it all. (I would at least learn from this mishap and other errors along the way.) I didn't apply a panel wash on this model as I don't think I was familiar with that process as yet. The final matte coat was sprayed over top to seal everything in and achieve the proper finish.


1/48th Tamiya F-15A Eagle

The After-Build Report:


Certainly for its time it was a good F-15A kit and still is a good bargain kit for an "A" model. If you want to build a "C" version this is probably not an accurate kit as the exhausts have "Turkey Feathers" in place and the "C" model typically had these removed. The (1986 original release) 1/48th Hasegawa kit is a step above Tamiya's IMO and the more recent Great Wall Hobby kits are currently best in class for an F-15 (but then, so is their price tag:).


Completed build #64 - December 1999 using the 1/48th scale Tamiya #MA124 kit.


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 supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers


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