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BOOK REVIEW


The Modern Eagle Guide: The Boeing F-15 Eagle/Strike Eagle Exposed (Second Edition)

Reid Air Publications



Now 45 years after its first flight, the F-15 Eagle remains perhaps the second most potent and capable fighter jet ever produced, outclassed only by the F-22A Raptor (and probably soon the F-35, given the results of early head-to-head matchups).  The Eagle is also a favorite subject for scale modelers.  By my count, approximately 406 kits of the F-15 have come out over the years spanning 1:144 to 1:32 scales, and those have been paralleled by tons of aftermarket detail sets and decal sheets.  There’s also been a lot written on the F-15 including titles aimed at the scale modeler.  I’ve got most of them.  Jake Melampy’s recent book, The Modern Eagle Guide: The Boeing F-15 Eagle/Strike Eagle Exposed (Second Edition) landed on our review bench a little while ago and it represents the ultimate definitive reference on the F-15.  Let’s take a look.       

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As the sixth of the Reid Air Publications “Modern Guide” Series, the second edition of the Modern Eagle Guide clocks in at 204 pages long and contains 1,034 photos.  It is printed in full color.  Print quality is exemplary as is the technical aspects of Melampy’s photography (and the same applies that of any of the contributors’ photos in the book).  Graphic design and layout is also flawless.  The first Modern Eagle Guide sold out some years back.  The second edition is not a reprint, but it qualifies as a new book with nearly 75% new material drawn almost completely from photos taken over the last few years.   

The book begins with an overview of the Eagle’s history and current status, and then proceeds to walk the reader through a meticulous tour of the airframe, its systems, and other details of direct relevance to the scale modeler.  Even unique details fitted to export Saudi, Korean, and Singapore Strike Eagles are given attention.

Starting off the nose, there are great photographic reference photos of the AN/APG-63, and -71, as well as the AN/APG/63 (V1, 2, and 3) AESA radars.  The tour of cockpit layouts covers the F-15A, F-15C, MSIP upgrades, the very important Bay 5 behind the cockpit of the single-seat Eagles, and the front and back cockpits of the F-15B, D, and E. The photographic coverage is so thorough as to not miss a detail.  Both versions of the ACES II ejection seat are also covered in detail.

Forward, mid-, and aft fuselage details are also explored with the same degree of focus.  Many of the photos in this section were taken of F-15s undergoing phase maintenance, and so there are sections that proceed like a detailed structures and systems tour, from obvious things one would expect covered such as avionics bays, the canopy, gun, speedbrake, stabilizers, and so forth, but also includes details on heat exchangers, the upper fuselage’s tiny GPS antenna, aileron switching valves, ECM pods and blisters, countermeasure dispensers, and so forth.  You get the idea: Melampy doesn’t miss a thing.  There’s even some details captured here that I am not sure even are represented on the top-of-the-line Great Wall Hobby 1:48 F-15, such as small air cycle air conditioning system inlets just inboard of the intakes. The section on the conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) was also enlightening, including the details and photos of the CFT hardpoints. Also, did you think only the F-15E carried CFTs?  Melampy provides photos of Keflavik-based F-15Cs that also flew the CFTs and took advantage of all that extra gas to extend their range while patrolling the North Atlantic.   
     
Coverage of the gear, early and late wheel hubs, gear bays, engine bays, jet fuel starter, centerline gearbox, and the powerplants (F100-PW-100, -220, -229, and F110-GE-129 fitted to some export Eagles) is excellent and will give many readers ideas about scratchbuilding extra detail into their F-15 build. 

Pylons and external stores are also given exhaustive systematic attention and include the AIM-7, -9, -9X, -120, ACMI pods, and air-to-ground ordnance from various JDAM models, LGBs such as the GBU-12, -24, and -28 (the Bunker Buster), and sensors from the LANTIRN pod system to the Sniper Pod and the Tiger Eyes IRST.  And even while colors and markings of the F-15 are beyond the scope of the book, there are various photospreads of F-15 tail markings and other distinctive USAF and JASDF schemes here and there.  

While the images in the book are themselves filled with visual information, Melampy’s captions are not just authoritatively written but leave the reader having learned a lot from every single one.

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There are no identifiable shortcomings to this book.

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Jake Melampy has created a comprehensive and definitive reference for the modern F-15 Eagle.  To me, it’s the best of this kind of F-15 book every produced by far.  Enthusiasts will love it and scale modelers won’t be able to build without it. This is a book that deserves every “sierra hotel” and “bravo zulu” I can muster!

Many thanks to Jake Melampy for the review sample.  You can find Reid Air Publications at http://www.reidairpublishing.com/category-s/1824.htm and get this decal sheet straight from that site or at Sprue Brothers (http://spruebrothers.com).

    

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale


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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

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