The F-15E is a dedicated attack variant of the basic F-15 air superiority fighter. Equipped with a second crew member who manages the sophisticated Nav/Attack systems, the F-15 is capable of performing any desired close support and attack mission in any kind of weather. An F-15 Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) was once quoted during a documentary “The guy in front rows the boat while I shoot the ducks.”
Hypersonic Models has heretofore concentrated on resin details, mostly for the X-15 research aircraft. This decal set is a bit of a departure for them. The markings are crisply printed and perfectly in register. The set contains one double-sided instruction sheet, which is designed to be supplemented by a PDF file available for download from Hypersonic's website after purchase. One large and two smaller decal sheets and a set of vinyl masks complete the package.
The first and largest sheet contains most of the markings. Stencils and insignia are provided for one aircraft, and there is a choice of serials, individual markings and crew names for two different aircraft which participated in Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya during 2011. Aircraft offered are:
97-0219 from the 492nd Sqn, 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath
01-2003 from the 494th Sqn, 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath
Both aircraft were finished in overall Gunship Grey. The crew names were removed for the duration of Operation Odyssey Dawn, but were replaced afterwards, and mission markers added. The decal allows the option to portray the aircraft as they appeared during the operation, or as they looked for several months afterwards.
This sheet contains 18 “NO STEP” stencils in black.
This sheet contains 4 servicing stencils.
A sheet of vinyl masks is provided,
presumably for the natural metal area surrounding the engine exhausts although nothing in either the printed or PDF instructions confirms this.
Updated by the manufacturer: The masks are for the national insignia, tail markings and a few other areas. These are optional, and are offered to replace the decals marked with a small "?" on the instructions if the modeller prefers to paint these markings rather than use the decals. This had to be pointed out to me, but now that it has been the situation is much clearer.
The inclusion of vinyl masks without instructions is somewhat questionable. Either the builder must be an Eagle expert, or they will likely abandon these masks in favour of their own masking choice.
Overall grey aircraft are not to the liking of some modellers, but for those whose interests include the modern USAF this set is just what the Doctor ordered.
update from the manufacturer
Since posting this review, I have been contacted by Hypersonic models who have explained a few matters.
"First of all, I understand that paint masks aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I like them prefer painted-on markings to decals anytime and hence want to promote and encourage their use. When you’re new to them they are more work than decals, but the results are usually great, even for a novice. But they are optional, you don’t have to use them – you can just use the corresponding decals, it’s up to the modeller. It’s not true that there are no instructions for them. Both the small instruction sheet that comes with the decals and the main pdf guide contain indications for the masks, the relevant markings have both a decal number and a “paint mask” indication and the usual “?” for choice of options. If you follow the link at the top of the instruction sheet, you not only find the pdf, but also a generic, but very comprehensive guide to using the paint masks."
The real thing:
caught in the flare just prior to landing.
in happier times at an airshow display.
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