F-35B Lighting II STOVL
Thank you to Phil and to Bill for all the work that you do!
The JSF Joint Strike Fighter Program was a developmental project to create a new 5th generation all-weather multirole combat aircraft to replace the existing American and NATO strike-fighter force. The F-35B employs stealth technology and is characterized by its trapezoidal wings and application of the most advanced hi-tech systems, materials and avionics. The F-35B STOVAL (Short Take Off and Vertical Landing) capability has been specifically designed to operate from modern aircraft carriers such as the British H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth or the Cavour, the flagship of the Italian Navy. The U.S. Marines plan to deploy the
F-35B in both attack and ground support roles. From Italeri.
The kit contains four total sprues, three of which are pristinely molded light gray styrene and one which is a light-yellow clear plastic. The detail and engraving of the parts is excellent. The 19-page instruction guide is easy to follow and follows the usually aircraft building process. Color call-outs are in F.S. numbers or for Italeri-brand acrylic paint. There are several paint conversion charts available on the Internet should you wish to use other paint types. The last four pages provide full-color diagrams to aide with painting the plane and weapons. Decals are provided for common parts plus three versions: F-35B Lightning II Royal Navy Lighting Force, HMS Queen Elizabeth; F-35B Lightning II, U.S. Marine Corps VMFA-121; and F-35B Lightning II, Marian Militare Italiana, Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati.
- Decide before assembly if you want to display your plane with open or closed cockpit. See more details in the review as you will need to make early adjustments depending on your choice.
- Decide what kind (if any) weapon load you want to have. This will impact how many holes you will need to drill.
I had not worked on a 1/72 kit in well over ten years, so I was excited for the challenge. Luckily, this kit is 100% new molds and the engineering is excellent, so the overall build was relatively easy. Please note, that the review sample is augmented with SAC landing gear, which are discussed in a separate review.
The cockpit assembly was quick and easy and all parts fit excellently. At this stage, the instructions want you to install two parts 59B. These are needed if you want to display your plane with an open cockpit, however, if you want a closed cockpit, then the pieces will not fit. See photos for reference. I used the provided instrument panel decal, which is certainly adequate for this scale. Overall, the cockpit looks nice and is well-detailed for this scale.
In Step 2, you are instructed to drill six holes for the left and right wings. These will be necessary if you want to fully load your plane with weapons, however, if you want to go for a clean look, then skip this step. The review sample was completed to depict the “Beast Mode” and is fully loaded.
The wheel bays and landing gear fit tightly as did the air intakes, fans and jet engine. Although the air intakes have an unavoidable seam, do not worry, since once the plane is completed, they are unseen. You have to two choices for the exhaust nozzle: pointed straight out or down. The review sample shows it in the down position.
All control surfaces fit like a glove. However, the left and right ailerons have a sink mark (at least the review sample did). I solved this problem by filling the sink marks with some Tamiya White Putty. This was the only time putty was required to complete this kit!!
There is a lot of action going on with belly. Working with the landing gear doors was a bit challenging giving the number of small pieces and the tight confines, but with a little patience, everything fit well. The weapons were easy to assemble, but they did take a decent amount of time to paint and decal. Again, because of the tight confines, it takes some patience adhering all of the weapons to their pylons.
In the final steps, I attached the wheels, the fan air intake covering (in open position) and the cockpit glass and all of the weapons.
Prior to painting, I gave the plane a quick priming using Valejo primer. Once dry, I painted the body using a combination of Vallejo & Tamiya acrylic paints (gunship gray, light ghost gray & white). Next, a quick clear coat the then decals. The decals went on very well with the using of a little Micro Set, however, some of the decals are very tiny and require a lot of care when transferring. I gave the plane a final spray using Tamiya Flat clear coat.
Overall, this is an excellent kit. It is very well engineered and goes together easily. I was very happy with my outcome of working in 1/72 scale after over a decade of working on large scale planes exclusively.
Thank you to MRC for providing this kit, to Italeri for the honor of reviewing this excellent kit, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity!