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F-15E Strike Eagle w/ Bunkerbuster




S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description: 60312 - F-15E Strike Eagle w/ Bunkerbuster
Scale: 1/32
Price: 12,400 Yen (Japan)
Contents and Media Injection molded plastic, white metal landing gear, metal screws, and rubber tires
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Updated ordnance. Improved drop tanks.
Disadvantages: Some items associated with the new weapons not included.
Recommendation: Recommended


HyperScale is proudly sponsored bySquadron

Reviewed by Dave Williams




Ten years ago, Tamiya caused a stir among large scale modelers with their release of the F-15E Strike Eagle. Until the release of the 1/48 Revell kit a few years ago, this was by far the most accurate Strike Eagle kit made. Even in 2003, the original release is an excellent kit with one of the minor nits being that, except for the GBU-10s, the weapons loadout is somewhat dated. To move the kit into the new millennium, Tamiya has reissued the kit with more current weapons. The new loadout consists of two GBU-28s, four AIM-120s, two GBU-15/AGM-130, two JDAMS, and a pair of drop tanks.

Basically, the new kit is the same as the previous kit except for the addition of two new weapons sprues and a supplemental decal sheet. All the original parts, including the ordnance (AIM-9L/M, GBU-10s, Mk 20 Rockeyes, and MERs), are still in the kit, as are the original decals. The old parts are not modified, so some of the updates that have occurred over time, such as the GPS antenna, are not represented. A double-sided instruction page supplements the original instructions and covers the assembly of the new weapons and the added decal options.

Two duplicate sprues contain the new parts. Each sprue consists of two new subsprues, “K” (part number 0606186) and “L” (part number 0606187), joined together. Sprue K contains parts for one GBU-28 Bunkerbuster, two AIM-120A AMRAAMs, and one half of a newly tooled 600 gallon drop tank. Sprue L contains parts for one GBU-15/AGM-130, one GBU-31 JDAM, extra sway braces for the new weapons, and the other half of the drop tank (note that you need to buy both sprue K and sprue L to make one tank).


The molding on the new weapons is excellent. The GBU-15 (Mk 84 warhead) is designed to be built as either the GBU-15 or as the AGM-130 by simply opening a couple of flashed over holes and adding the separate underslung rocket motor. The new drop tanks mitigate one of the problems in the original kit with the tank being too small in diameter. The new tanks are larger in diameter, but the ends are still too “pointy”. In addition, the new tanks are still smaller in diameter than the centerline tank in the newer Revell F-4 kits, which many consider to be fairly accurate. Note that the original too-small tank remains in the kit, so it is not recommended to mix the new tanks with the old on the same aircraft.

Although not listed in the new parts, the seeker domes for the GBU-28, GBU-15, and AGM -130 have been added to the original “J” clear parts sprue. Tamiya has provided separate seeker domes for the GBU-15 and the AGM-130. The clear portion of the “GBU-15” seeker is centered on the weapon centerline, while clear part of the “AGM-130” seeker has a downward slant. Strangely, only one of each type of seeker dome was added to the sprue so Tamiya has provided two complete clear parts sprues to allow the building of two of each of the new weapons. In other words, the kit comes with two canopies and windscreens which might be handy for someone needing a spare.

Click the thumbnails below to view the details of the new sprues in larger images:

One disappointment with the kit is that some of the items associated with the new weapons and markings are not included. When GBU-15s or AGM-130s are carried, normally an AN/AXQ-14 data link pod is carried on the centerline pylon and this is not included. Although a second aircraft could carry the pod and “buddy-guide” the weapon, it seems much more common for the pod to be carried on the same aircraft. Unfortunately, neither the LAU-128 missile rails nor the associated ADU-522 pylon adaptors are included for the AIM-120s. The kit only contains the original AIM-9 launch rails, which do not carry the AMRAAM. Finally, one of the new decal options is for an aircraft fitted with F100-PW-229 (“Dash 229”) engines. One external clue to the presence of the improved engines is the addition of a prominent air intake on the side of each CFT, which is not included in the kit.


The supplemental decal sheet includes markings for two aircraft: one from the 266th Wing, 391st FS “Bold Tigers” and one from the 48th FW, 492 FS, with the latter aircraft having Dash 229 engines. Stenciling for the new ordnance is also included on the sheet. In addition, a sheet of paper “Remove before Flight” tags are included (click thumbnail to view larger image).





The kit was an excellent kit back in 1993 and that has not changed in 2003. The new weapons are very well molded and represent some of the latest weapons carried by the Strike Eagle. Tamiya should be commended for making the effort to update the kit. However, it is a little surprising that they missed some obvious items associated with update.

Sample kit courtesy of my ever dwindling bank account.

Dave Williams
IPMS/USA 19050

Review Copyright © 2003 by Dave Williams
Page Created 14 February, 2003
Last updated 15 August, 2003

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