1/32 Tamiya F-15E Strike Eagle

by John McCormick

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This is my most recent build, the Tamiya F-15E Strike Eagle "Bunker Buster".  I won't bore you with a full blown review, but suffice to say that this kit would be a beautiful build completely out of box.  However, I can never resist buying aftermarket goodies for my kits, and this one is no exception. 

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The people at Cutting Edge probably could have retired after they received my order, because I used quite a few of their products for this project.  I started with their F-15E update kit, which includes a GPS antenna and the small auxiliary air intakes for the "Dash-229" engines.  I also used their seamless intake set and their set of corrected engine nozzles.  I had a pair Cutting Edge AIM-9L Sidewinders leftover in my stash, so I used those.  Additionally, I bought Cutting Edge's AMRAAM's with the LAU-128 launch rails.  I bought 2 sets, as there are only two launch rails included in the set.  In theory, I could have used the kit's launch rails for the Sidewinders, but I couldn't find any reference photos with F-15E's using mixed rails, so I bit the bullet and bought the second set. 
 
The Black Box cockpit set was used, as well as the Eduard F-15E update set.  The BB set was very nicely cast and fit with a minimal amount of effort.  The Eduard set had very few pieces but included some nice details for the canopy. 

In addition to the Cutting Edge air-to-air armament, I purchased a set of four Black Box GBU-12 500 Lb Laser Guided bombs.   These were somewhat of a disappointment.  The seeker heads were badly cast, and I had to clear out a large amount of excess resin that was in between the outside ring and the four small connecting fins.  The tail fins lacked sufficient detail, so I added the elongated bumps on the fins using sheet plastic.  I also added the portion of the bomb's retractable fins that protrude from the outside edge of the tail fins using long, thin triangular pieces of mylar.  This bomb set was supposed to be for a Navy aircraft, so the shell portion was cast with a rough surface to simulate the fire retardant that coats the real bombs.  This was sanded smooth so that they looked more like the Air Force version. 
 
The GBU-10's and GBU-28 are from the kit's armament, and the two 610 gallon "WRM" fuel tanks were converted from the centerline fuel tank included in the Monogram/Revell F-4 kits.  The weapons loadout is a variation of Loadout #3 for Operation "Iraqi Freedom" found on www.f-15estrikeeagle.com.  The change I made was the inclusion of the GBU-28 on the centerline rack.  I figured since I spent the extra money on the "Bunker Buster" version of this kit, I'd better use some of the new armament they supplied!
 
Hope you enjoy!!

John

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Photos and text by John McCormick