by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Platz have extended their range of modern Japanese subjects with crisp new-tool kit of the Mitsubishi F-15J - the JASDF’s licence-built version of the McDonnell Douglas Eagle
The kit arrives in an attractive top-opening box with the main sprues bagged together and the transparencies and decals packed individually. Platz’s Eagle comprises:
206 x grey styrene parts
5 x clear styrene parts
Decals for 10 aircraft
The moulding is excellent, with no sign of flash or sink marks on the sample kit, and the designers have done a good job keeping most pin marks out of sight.
The surface finish is very smooth and features crisply engraved panel lines and fasteners. The engraving is arguably a tad heavy for this scale, but it will certainly repay careful use of washes for modellers who like weathering.
Fit of partsI’m part-way through building the kit and the fit so far has been excellent. The fuselage breaks down into two assemblies - a main box-like section for the engines, plus a separate nose (which obviously opens up the possibility of a 2-seater at some point). The main section incorporates full-length engine ducts to stop any see-through look, and individual side panels to allow the engraved detail to extend to every surface. The joints fall along panel lines and you should be able to get away with little or no filler.
The wings attach very solidly and tightly and, once again, the seams follow panel lines. The fins slot in neatly, while the stabilisers attach with single pins so you could angle them if you wish.
A Few DetailsThe cockpit is neatly fitted-out for this scale with 16 parts - 5 of them for an ejection seat, which really only lacks a harness to look very effective. There’s a nicely rendered “office” with well defined side consoles and instrument panel, while the equipment bay behind the seat boasts some fine detail that will repay careful painting and highlighting.
Engine fronts and afterburners prevent a see-through look to the ducting, while the intakes can be built raised or lowered. The exhausts are designed with individual petals which should look excellent.
The landing gear looks good, with adequate detail in the wells, while the legs are sturdy but crisply moulded. Clear landing lamps attach to the nosewheel leg, and there are separate torque-links and retracting arms for the main gear. The wheels are moulded “unweighted” with good hub detail.
Platz’s F-15J carries a useful selection of stores for its air-defence role:
4 x AAM-4 under the fuselage
4 x AAM-3 attached to the wing pylons
3 x drop tanks
The transparencies are beautifully clear, and the canopy has a correct “blown” cross-section. This entails a 2-part mould, so there’s an inevitable seam to polish away - a small price to pay, and easily down with a padded nail-buffer from the local chemist/drugstore.
Instructions & DecalsThe assembly guide is clearly illustrated as 9 stages on a large fold-out sheet. Most of the text is in Japanese, but there are a few English notes, and in general everything is pretty self-explanatory anyway.
Colour matches are provided for Gunze Sangyo and Model Master paints.
An impressive decal sheet provides markings for no less than 10 colour schemes:
s/n 62-8958 - 305 Sq
s/n 92-8908 - 1st TS
s/n 02-8916 - 303 Sq
s/n 02-8801 - APW
s/n 42-8834 - 201 Sq
s/n 42-8945 - 304 Sq
s/n 22-8931 - 203 Sq
s/n 22-8931 - 306 Sq
s/n 42-8945 - 204 Sq
s/n 42-8834 - 23 TSq
The decals are custom-printed by Cartograf to their usual impeccable standard, with the thin and glossy items in perfect register and showing minimal carrier film.
Etched Companion Set - M72-035Platz have teamed up with Eduard to produce a neat little photo-etched upgrade set. The parts add detail inside and out, with the highlights being an eye-poppingly detailed pre-coloured instrument panel and seat harness. Together with a delicate HUD, these definitely lift the kit’s already decent cockpit to a new level.
Externally, the new parts offer linings for the airbrake and jet intakes, mounts for the AAM-4s, plus a number of small aerials and mounting plates to dot around the fuselage.
Platz's F-16J Upgrade set is available separately. Price: 1,944 JPY
ConclusionObviously aimed at Japan’s domestic market, Platz’s F-15J is a very fine kit that bodes well for future versions with international markings, as well as 2-seaters along the line. Recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.