Kit #0865

1/48 McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle

Reviewed By Paul Bradley, #35554

$28.00 m.s.r.p.

No need to write an intro to this aircraft, so let’s get straight to the review!  First, I have to say that I am a fan of Italeri kits as a rule.  They generally produce some nice kits that make for nice models, especially their helicopters.  However, even the nicest kit producers can have off-days, and this is one of them.

This kit comes in the Italeri standard top-opening box, bagged and on five sprues.  The molding is generally clean, with few sink marks and pin marks, though the ones inside the intakes will require cleaning up for sure.  There is no flash, but mold join lines affect all parts, requiring a lot of clean up.  Detail is a mix of raised and recessed, and here is where things start to go south.  The kit is obviously a modification of the Italeri F-15C kit with an extra couple of sprues for the two-seater and stores.  Some of the existing parts have had more detail added, but this has not been done well and spoils the appearance of the wing uppers for example.  Although it is nice that Italeri acknowledge the addition of some panels, this is something that could have been handled better.  Overall, detail is rather Spartan, especially in the cockpit, where the instruments are supplied as decals and the seats are each four parts but quite plain.

The engineering of the parts is also not very good.  Although the fuselage is split horizontally, the wings are separate and in three parts each; the air intakes are made up of three parts to be glued to the upper fuselage piece; and the cockpit area is separate.  The radome is in two pieces for some reason and can be posed open if so desired, although the poor detail on the radar pieces makes this rather unappealing.  This adds up to assembly that is altogether far too complicated and the fit of the major parts is very poor to boot.  The air intakes were enough to drive me to drink (A nice, strong cup of tea!) and the cockpit assembly is simply butt-joined to the rest of the fuselage!!  This proved to be impossible to do correctly, as the sides of the cockpit do not have the same radius as the rear fuselage section it is supposed to join to, and I ended up bending the cockpit sides in an effort to make them match.  Much filing and sanding and filling later, the join still shows.  More tea was imbibed while I considered the velocity of an unladen Italeri F-15E model – answers on the back of a postcard to Italeri…..

It seems almost churlish to mention that the wings do not fit well, and the seam here is really prominent – it takes a lot of effort to get this area up to snuff.  Once the wings were in place, I attempted to add the conformal tanks, but these are also not a good fit and I ended up leaving them off.  Nor does the air brake fit well; you have the option of leaving it open but it is, once again, too poorly detailed to consider this.

The undercarriage is quite nice, but the stores are very poorly detailed and the bombs are an odd shape making them worthless.  I added the pylons, which are reasonable representations and these help to make the model look less sparse.  The exhausts are correctly provided without the turkey feathers, but are poorly detailed inside and out.

Perhaps the best part of the kit is the decal sheet, which is well printed but offers two quite plain options, one of which has already been covered by the Revell-Monogram kit.

Speaking of the ProModeler/Revell-Monogram kit, one is inevitably forced to compare the two.  I built the RM kit some time ago and as is my wont, I kept the instruction booklet.  A comparison of the engineering reveals a far more sensible approach by RM, especially as the wing-uppers are integral with the fuselage upper, eliminating prominent seams in a particularly curvaceous area of the fuselage.  The cockpit section is also separate, but has some locating tabs to aid alignment, and although I recall having a little trouble with this area when constructing that kit, it certainly wasn’t as bad as the Italeri kit.  Detail on the RM kit is far better, both in the amount and the execution.  The RM cockpit area is far superior, as is the quality of the seats and other small details.  The RM decals are better, though only those of the ProModeler offer a “colorful” option.  In summary, the RM kit beats the Italeri kit hands down and, at least in the US, is can be found cheaper than the Italeri version.

Dimensionally, it squares away well, and in the end, it does look like an F-15E, although a bit odd in my case as I left off the conformal tanks.  I have struggled to find SOME good things to say about this kit; however, in the end this is a very disappointing kit.  I am afraid that I cannot honestly recommend this kit to anyone.  Young ‘uns and beginners will be frustrated by the overly complicated engineering and parts break down.  More experienced modelers will pale at the poor fit that seems to defy correction.  The most experienced, who claim to be able to make show stoppers from a Starfix kit, a plastic bottle and a baggie tie, might enjoy the challenge, though with the RM kit out there, there isn’t really much point.  I started this review by pointing out that, overall, I like Italeri kits and this one aberration does not change my mind.  I hope for a return to normal service ASAP for Italeri!

My thanks to Italeri for supplying the review sample.

Information, images, and all other items placed electronically on this site are the intellectual property of IPMS/USA ®