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 REVIEW: Hobby Master HA4501 McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle, 391st FS, Bagram AB, 2012

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PostSubject: REVIEW: Hobby Master HA4501 McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle, 391st FS, Bagram AB, 2012   Sun Mar 12 2017, 23:15

September 16, 2014

Hobby Master 1/72 Air Power Series
HA4501
McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle
AF 90-0233, 391st FS
Bagram AB, Afghanistan, 2012
1/72 Scale

August 2014 Release

Well, the long awaited Hobby Master F-15E Strike Eagle is finally here.

Previously Witty Wings (who later shared their tooling with Gemini) and Dragon Warbirds had released there own versions of the Strike Eagle. Witty's Strike Eagle sufferred from that horrible erroneous canopy which (for me anyways) has always been a focal point of my models. Dragon lacked weapon attachments points on the CFTs (therefore a totally inaccurate weapons load) and had exhaust nozzles the same as a regular F-15. The Dragon was also devoid of any targetting or navigation pod as well. Basically the Dragon release didn't have any of the features that separates the Strike Eagle from other F-15s.

As a result there was demand from collectors for a correct Strike Eagle. Collectors asked for a better F-15E and Hobby Master has delivered.



391st Fighter Squadron (FS) (Bold Tigers)

The 391st Fighter Squadron is part of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho (Tail Code "MO").

The mission of the 391st Fighter Squadron is to plan and conduct F-15E operations as a component of the USAF's Air Expeditionary Wing. The Squadron maintains combat readiness F-15E aircraft and 330-plus personnel to execute directed missions in support of contingency operations worldwide. The squadron employs conventional and precision guided munitions against surface targets, day or night, in interdiction, counter air, and defense suppression combat roles. The Squadron has been deployed multiple times to Bagram AB in Afghanistan in support of NATO operations against the Taliban.



The Model

The aircraft represented is 90-0233 from the 391st FS which was deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan in 2012.

Overall the shape of Hobby Master's F-15E looks accurate to my eyes. The model comes with the Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs) attached. The weapons provided need to be attached to the appropriate weapon stations but fit snugly without any white glue required. A Sniper Targetting Pod and a Navigation Pod are also included. In addition the weapon attachment pylons for the CFTs have to be attached by the collector. While no instructions are included for weapon or pod placement, using Hawkone's website photos provides any required guidance.

The model comes with two separate canopies - one open and one closed and are completely transparent and clear. There are also two separate parts to display the Speed Brake open or closed as well.


Hobby Master has got the colour of the paint completely correct (note my photos are a bit on the overexposed side - so reality is a shade or two darker).

This release does come with a display stand - but for those who prefer the look of the Witty Wings F-15 stand, it fits like the Hobby Master model was built for it.

While the exhaust nozzles could have used some additional detail - they are acceptable in my opinion. If one really prefers they could always purchase more detailed "after market" versions and install them themselves.


Hobby Master had a former F-15 Pilot advising them on this release and all the details seem right. A couple of Pre Production errors have been corrected on the Final Product. The Bureau Numbers are now correctly added on top of the port intake and the tail hook fairing has been removed (which is a unique feature of the "E" model). The rear seat also appears to have been raised.

Overall an excellent effort by Hobby Master and one I happily recommend to others.

Dan
Wink



















Below: A Witty F-15 Stand fits perfectly.

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REVIEW: Hobby Master HA4501 McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle, 391st FS, Bagram AB, 2012
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