Pro Modeler 1/48 F-15E Strike Eagle 'Tigermeet'
Frank Anselmo reviewed the original release of this kit in the May 2000 edition of Internet Modeler. Those of us that picked up this kit were not disappointed as this is the best F-15E available in 1/48 scale. What was a little puzzling was the vast emptiness on the tree that contained the LANTIRN pods and AIM-9 Sidewinders. One wondered what was supposed to go into this otherwise oversized parts tree!
In this release of the F-15E kit, we find out. Packaged under the Pro Modeler label, Revell-Monogram filled in the blanks on the weapons tree and added an additional (and smaller) weapons tree.
These 'missing links' are actually four GBU-10 Laser-Guided Bombs (LGBs), two GBU-15 Optically Guided Bombs (with the datalink pod also included), and a pair of AIM-120A AMRAAMs. If you're looking for some of the more current weapons like the GBU-24 for your F-15E, you'll have to acquire Hasegawa's 1/48 Weapons Set D.
One of the interesting tid-bits in the instructions would have you install a 'rail' (part 192) on each of the AMRAAMs. This is in addition to mounting the missile on the newer launch rails (part 55). This 'rail' is actually a cable channel that provides a wiring path between the guidance unit in the forward section of the missile and the flight control electronics in the rear of the missile (and safely around the solid rocket fuel section). You'll find this same detail on the more accurate late-model AIM-7 Sparrows as well.
With the exception of the new weapons, the kit is identical to the original Revell release last year. That is not counting a new decal sheet however...
This new sheet provides markings for one of two aircraft - a 550 FS/405 FW aircraft from Luke AFB; and 494 FS/48 FW aircraft from RAF Lakenheath. The 494th aircraft carries the special markings used for Tigermeet 1998. While not as colorful as many of the other NATO participants, this F-15E is probably the most colorful bomber Eagle in service at that time. The tiger pattern was carried around the conformal fuel tanks and up along the engine intakes. A tiger is also seen perched atop the aircraft's serial number.
While it was unfortunate to have to wait for another release of the F-15E to get air-to-mud munitions, the kit is now updated and available on your hobby shop shelves. The decal sheet is also worth the 'trade-up' if you already own the first release.
My sincere thanks to Revell-Monogram for this review sample!