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by Juan Solorzano




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Here is my Hasegawa 1/48 scale F-15DJ Eagle ďAggressorĒ.  The Japan Air Defense Self-Defense Forceís dedicated aggressor force is the Hiko Kyodotai, which flies F-15s from Nyutabaru, on the southernmost island of Kyushu.  This unit swapped the T-2 for the F-15.  The Hiko Kyodotai operates F-15DJs in the aggressor training role.  It shares its Nyutabaru base with 202 Kikotai (F-15C/DJ) and 301 Kikotai (F-4EJ Kai).





I started with the cockpit, which went together quite well with the exception of the seats. Since the seats provided didnít have any harnesses, I used some shoulder belts, survival kit straps and ejection handles from a True Detail Modern American Jet Models photo etched set. I just dry-brushed the cockpit a bit since most of the photos I have seen of F-15s cockpits show little or no weathering.  I then dry-brushed the two ejection seats using Model Master aircraft gray over Gunze Sangyo flat black. Other than that, the kit was built straight out of the box.  

Here are some pictures of the finished cockpit. 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:



The rest of the construction went well. The biggest problem I had was the assembly of the front and rear fuselage.  It took me a while to align them.  I tried to make the joint as smooth as possible as it is hard to fill and sand the seam you may leave if you have the intakes already glued, which was the case. I achieved a smooth joint and only needed a swipe of Mr. Surfacer 500. I sanded the Mr Surfacer with wet sandpaper 400 grit before it was fully dry. This permitted me to fill the fine gap without destroying surface detail.

I had to remove two of the antennas from the bottom of the front fuselage because they are not present in an F-15DJ. 



Hasegawa provides photo etched parts for the variable area afterburner nozzles. These are the same used in their F-15E.  The assembly instructions for this are not very clear, so I opted for some pictures of the real thing to get an idea how the nozzles look like. Once they are assembled, they really look great and are much better than the original afterburner nozzles provided for the F-15C/D. I delayed gluing the nozzles to the main body until the end.






After the main body was assembled, I was ready to paint. In this step I had to choose one of the six camouflage schemes the kit offers. 



All the schemes are great but in the end I decided to use the one I liked the most.   I chose the aircraft with 02-8072 markings. 



I first applied Model Master FS36375 as an overall base color.  After the first coat was applied, I checked the entire model surface for possible seams.  I found two, which were quickly filled with Mr. Surfacer 500 and sanded over again with 600, 4000, and 6000 grit sandpapers. Two more thin coats of the same color were then applied. 

After the base color was fully dry, I started masking the sections of the kit not destined to wear the FS36375 color.  It was a time consuming task but I finally did mask everything. I then applied the dark color.  The instructions recommend a mix of Gunze H5 Gloss Blue and H40 Flat Base. I decided not to use the flat base as I was going to apply a clear gloss prior to the decal application anyway. I gave the model three thin coats of blue and I let it dry overnight.  I then removed the masking tape from the kit and, to my bad fortune, some of the gray surfaces were oversprayed with blue. 

I then masked the blue surfaces where the base color had to be applied again. Here is when the problem comes.  I used Tamiya masking to do this.  I have always used this masking tape without having any problem.  But in this case didnít work.  When I removed the masking, it left horrible marks on the blue paint that I couldnít remove with anything.  Unable to remove those marks, I decided to sand those spots using 4000, 6000 and 8000 grit touch pads and reapplied the blue again.  I donít know what I did wrong.  Maybe the blue color wasnít dry enough or acrylic paint over enamel didnít work well this time.  I have applied acrylic over enamel or enamel over acrylic without any problem.  I will appreciate any suggestion about this.  Finally the kit was gloss coated and I let it dry for one day before applying the decals.



Decals and Finishing


Once the gloss coat had dried, the decals were applied.  The kit comes with two sets of decals, one for the F-15D/DJ and one for the F-15DJ aggressor group. 

The clear carrier film of the F-15D/DJ was a bit yellowed with age but fortunately I only used some decals of this set.  The rest of the decals were applied from the aggressor set.  Everything went quite well until I started applying the big decals from the aggressor group set. After dipping the decals in warm water, as usual I tried to loosen them from the base paper and then a problem appeared.  Every time I wanted to slide off base paper, the decals shattered.

After many failed attempts, I tried to place the decals on proper position on model. Some decals, especially the numbers were totally shattered that it was impossible to fix them so I opted for using decals from the same sheet that were in better condition since they differ only for one or two numbers.  Again, it was a time consuming task, but in the end I could overcome this problem.  Then I applied a decal setting solution called Solvaset.  This is the first time I use this product and really works well.  It helped me a lot with the shattered decals. The Solvaset was applied after all the water and trapped air bubbles were removed.  The decals snuggled down into every crevice. Decals were left overnight. The decals and finished model were sealed with Gunze flat varnish.



I left the model for three or four days until it was thoroughly dry. Panel lines were highlighted with a mix of chalk pastels and dark gray watercolor artist paint to make the model look old and realistic.

The last step was to glue all the remaining components: tanks, pylons, undercarriage, airbrake panel, and missiles, afterburner nozzles and canopy, which went together well.

The kit comes with four AIM-9J Sidewinder and four AIM-7F Sparrow missiles. 



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Text and Images Copyright © 2001 by Juan Solorzano
Page Created 14 September, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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