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Platz F-15J Eagle J-MSIP

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT
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Platz’s new Japanese Eagle can be built in either the Multistage Improvement Program I or II configuration. There are markings for seven aircraft. Exquisitely molded light gray plastic parts feature recessed panel lines and outstanding surface details.

Raised details on the side consoles and instrument panel highlight the cockpit. Decals are also provided for the panels, but no mention of them is made in the instructions. The five-piece ejection seat looks OK but would benefit from seat belts. The well-appointed electronics bay behind the seat will only be visible with the canopy posed open.

The painting directions lack detail, and photos weren’t much help. I ended up referring to the instructions for a larger scale kit from another manufacturer.

Pay close attention to the notes throughout the instructions, including some that are rather inconspicuous, for the differences between versions; there are holes to be opened and different parts.

The upper and lower fuselage halves sandwich a full-length intake and exhaust. The intake’s sides were marred by odd globs that needed to be sanded off, and ejector-pin marks had to be filled.

The trickiest part of the build was assembling the fuselage, which consists of upper and lower sections with separate sides. Once I had everything aligned, the parts fit pretty well. I tried several methods, dry-fitting parts, and found the sequence in the instructions worked best.

You can pose the intake ramps raised or lowered, but the inserts to lower them (parts C21 and C22) leave unsightly gaps inside the intakes. Other options include posing the canopy open or closed and the air brake up or down.

The kit reproduces the Eagle’s complex engine nozzles beautifully. Each variable nozzle, modeled without the turkey-feather covers, comprises 21 parts, including separate actuator arms. Assembly was a little tedious, but the results were well worth it.

The main wings mount to the fuselage with a kind of lap joint, and the seams follow panel lines. The sturdy joins were nearly perfect; I used just a touch of filler in a couple of spots along the bottom seam.

The nose landing gear is molded as a single piece with separate wheel. The main gears are more intricate, with five pieces each and two-part wheels. The legs fit into the bays positively for good alignment and a stout assembly.

On the other hand, the main gear doors lacked anchor points. So, I applied cement to the edges and held them in place with tape until the glue set.

After painting, you can load your Eagle with a full complement of drop tanks and AAM-3 and AAM-4 missiles.

I probably spent as much time applying decals as I did building the F-15; it took four full sessions to finish the task. Printed by Cartograf, the decals’ quality is impeccable. But some are really small, plus they are really tightly packed and somewhat randomly placed on the sheet. So, finding the one you’re looking for is like a game of “Where’s Waldo?”

The model scales out well according to the dimensions given on Wikipedia, and the finished model looks nearly identical in size to an older Hasegawa kit I have.

I spent a little longer on this build, but the level of detail is quite a bit higher than most of my out-of-the-box builds. Some assembly is a little tricky, and some parts are tiny, so it’s probably a kit better left to someone with some experience. But I definitely recommend it for anyone at that skill level.
 
It’s certainly the best 1/72 scale F-15 I’ve built, and quite possibly one of the best 1/72 scale kits I’ve ever built.


Note: A version of this review appeared in the March 2017 issue.

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