As a companion to the Israeli H. A. S. I am currently building, I decided to assemble an aircraft and I settled with the F-15I. I had a Revell’s F-15E kit in my pile of to be assembled kits and converting it to an F-15I looked like something I could achieve. This first post shows the small changes done to Revell’s F-15E, bringing it closer to the F-15I look.
As with most aircraft builds, the cockpit was the first thing to be tackled and it was quickly completed after a simple paint job and decal application.
The major components of the model were assembled without major issues, with only small amounts of filler required (on the union between the lower wing’s parts and at the rear fuselage union. I decided to vac-form my own canopy, as the included canopy is very thick and had some other problems. I usually use the kit part to make the “master” (a.k.a. the buck), after sanding it down and polishing, but this time around this proved unsuccessful and I ended up wasting enough plastic for some 10 canopies! I was constantly having problems with the plastic cooling down before properly adjusting to the buck’s base. All my attempts resulted in parts that are way to wide. The following photo shows my best formed part, which I could not properly mate with the fuselage.
I ended up replacing the canopy with a Brengun’s vac-formed part, which after careful trimming, fitted flawlessly.
At this small scale, the conversion route I picked is not exhaustive, concentrating only on the major and most noticeable differences. It consisted in replacing the exhaust nozzles with resin parts from Heroes Models, featuring the turkey feathers, profiling front CFT pylons (their shape is slightly different from the E version), the ECM pod on the left vertical tail was deleted (both tails got harmonic balancers made from shaped plastic rod) and the round dome (of another ECM device) at the end of the left tail boom was replaced by a different shape, carved from plastic stock (both tail boom tips were replaced to have a consistent appearance of the details). There are also several chaff/flare dispensers that will be added later, as decals. The following photos show the conversion parts highlighted. The air intake ramps were also added from plastic card, hiding some injector pin marks.
With all modifications completed, the various components were attached to handles, readying them for primmer application.
The aircraft I am modeling was armed with four AIM-7M Sparrow missiles and I did not have any in my spare box. I modified 4 missiles with similar length and diameter, replacing their wings with wings cut from thin plastic card. Here is a small video, showing how I replaced the AIM-7M missile wing and fins.
Here are the four AIM-7M Sparrow thus modified, under a coat of primmer.
With all building tasks done, this first installment is completed. Stay tuned for the second part, where it will be painted and completed (hopefully soon)!