F-15 Eagle Mid-Life/Late Wheel Set
From the website - Mike Reeves has been an aircraft nut his entire life. It all started when he was a kid growing up in Phoenix, Arizona watching the Blue Angels flying their A-4 Skyhawks practicing for their air shows at Deer Valley Airport from the roof of his house after school. When he got to meet the Blues pilots he was hooked and his love of military aircraft began. He served in the USAF and spent a lot of time in and around fighter jets both in the CONUS and abroad in Germany.
His love of the hobby began at a very young age when he would watch his dad and brother build models at the kitchen table at their home in Michigan. His dad and brother built cars and trucks but Mike always wanted to build airplanes. His first model was a Revell 1/72 Blue Angels F-4 Diamond set! Testors tube glue and sloppy paint work started the journey through the hobby that continues today.
His passion for the hobby eventually turned to making details for kits that did not exist. Once he discovered the allure of resin aftermarket from the likes of Verlinden he decided it was a game that he wanted to get into. Two Mikes Resin Accessories was born in 2005 with a small number of products and has been a learning experience from day one. Two Mikes took pride in excellent quality, timely service and excellent customer relations.
They have grown a lot since 2005, and in 2017, Two Mikes Resin Accessories rebranded itself into Phase Hangar Resin Accessories to both reflect that growth and better distinguish themselves within the industry. The new name reflects Mike's time in the USAF as a Crew Chief and the Phase Hangar's significance to an aircraft’s service life. And that's what they do; Phase Hangar Resin Accessories will continue to produce high quality and detailed resin accessories to improve the quality of your models.
The Phase Hanger product line includes wheels, weapons pylons, intake ducts, ejection seats just to name a few. All the popular scales are included. A visit to this site is well worth the time.
This particular set has three parts: the main wheels and the nose wheel. The parts are cast with a fairly small casting block which should allow for a quick removal and clean up. The wheels are cast in a medium/dark resin, with a slightly flattened surface where the casting block is attached.
I have three 1/48th scale unbuilt F-15's in my stash: The Great Wall Hobby F-15B/D, the Hasegawa F-15E Strike Eagle,, and the old Tamiya F-15C.
Academy, Italeri and Revell also offer a F-15E. I compared the Phase Hanger replacement wheels with those kits in my stash. Here are my observations.
- Great Wall Hobby F-15B/D kit number L4815. The kit I have has three set of main gear wheels sprues in it, and therefore reading the instructions is a must before a selection is made. The main gear wheels are two part, while the nose gear is a single part. Molding is clean and crisp, and the wheels appear to have slightly flattened bottoms, but no bulge.
- Hasegawa F-15E Strike Eagle kit number P8. The instructions appear to date this kit back to 1985. The main gear wheels are molded in two halves, while the nose gear is a single part. Detail is crisp and adequate, and the tires are round with no bottom bulge.
- Tamiya F-15C.kit number 61029. This is the older kit dating back to 1991, but still reflects Tamiya dedication to detail and quality. All three wheels are molded in two parts. Detail is crisp, while the tires are round with no bottom bulge.
Looking closely all four kits' wheels and the resin set I could see they are different. This is one of the fun parts of the hobby: determining when to use upgrades to kits and still be reasonably "correct". I have a copy of Jake Melampy's "The Modern Eagle Guide 2nd Addition". Pages 156 through 165 have several detailed, color images of the Eagle's landing gear and wheels. Each image is accompanied with explanations. The nose wheel for the kits and resin wheel examples appears to be the same and matches the images in the above mentioned publication.
The Great Wall Hobby F-15B/D Eagle kit's wheels are the early wheels as depicted on page 163 in the above noted publication. Early Eagle wheels were later replaced with the modern wheel as also shown on page 163. Therefore, it would appear the Phase Hanger Mid/Late resin wheels could be used on this kit.
The Hasegawa F-15E Strike Eagle kit's wheels appear to be appropriate for this version, and the Phase Hanger Mid/Late resin wheels would not be appropriate for this model. The F-15E wheels are similar to the "light grey" Eagles but are wider due to the increased weight of the "E" version.
The Tamiya F-15C kit wheels also appears to be an early version. Here too it would be my opinion the Phase Hanger Mid/Late resin wheels could be used on this kit.
I cannot comment on the Academy, Italeri or Revell kits or other 1/48th scale Eagle kits
The Phase Hanger Mid/Late resin wheel are finely detailed replacement parts and are very nicely done. The above comments are strictly my interpretation based on my reference material. I am no expert on this topic. When using these replacement wheels, they will offer a fine enhancement to most any 1/48th scale Eagle kit. Good, quality reference material is always the order of the day.
At this point I need to decide if I will use the Phase Hanger wheels on the Great Wall Hobby kit or the Tamiya.
You just need to carefully cut the wheels from the casting blocks, give the saw cut a buffing with a sanding pad and the wheels are almost ready. You will need to carefully drill out the openings for the landing gear axel.
While doing research for this article I found there are a few other manufacturers that offer replacement resin wheels for 1/48th scale F-15 kits. The prices vary between $9.00 to over $13.00 per set. At $10.00 the Phase Hanger set is about in the middle of the price range which makes this a competitive and appealing offering to any F-15 model.
I wish to thank Phase Hanger and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this product. Highly recommended based on the quality and the detail of the parts.