Q-Men F-35B Lightning II
QMEN is part of the Kitty Hawk Panda family and specializes in egg planes - planes shaped like an egg. These have been around from many manufacturers and are simplified versions of the real plane. In this case the plane is 19 parts and the pilot is an additional 13 plus a resin head. And the pilot is a kitty cat! There is even a tail and ears sticking out of a nice rendition of the F-35’s special helmet. The kit is meant to be snap fit and the tolerances are pretty tight so it all works. More on that later. The parts are well molded with no flash. Great color instructions and painting guide come with it and there is a sheet of water slide decals.
Construction starts by adding the intake inserts to the bottom of the lower fuselage. I snapped these in and glued. Fit was excellent. I glued the top of the plane to the bottom and then the two tails. No putty and a tight fit. I separated the landing gear doors and the struts and was pretty much ready for paint. One of the options was for a Blue Angels version of the F-35 so that’s what I chose. I painted the blue using Xtracolor then let dry overnight and started work on the pilot.
The pilot is built in sections from 10 parts. Several were left off as I wanted the pilot seated. The color scheme for the pilot is standard flight suit but I wanted Blue Angels so blue jump suit and yellow helmet. The seated pilot has the bottoms of the boots and the tail left off (the ears still stick out of the helmet though!)
I masked the plane and shot the cockpit gray and wheel wells white and exhaust Tamiya gloss silver. Time for decals. The decals on the flat surfaces conformed well but the larger ones were a little difficult. Also, if the yellow overlapped like the nose and behind the canopy you could see the line. The instrument panel and cockpit also get decals. The pilot gets 13 decals alone giving the suit have seams and pockets. Many disappeared over the blue.
The pilot was added and cockpit flat-coated. The canopy was masked and added. I didn’t like the decal overlap and density, so I painted on all the top yellow and gloss coated it. In hindsight, I should have masked and sprayed almost all of it. I added the gear doors and struts and then the wheels and it was done. While definitely a beginner kit, it was a lot of fun. Plus, cats flying airplanes, cool! A couple summary notes, once the parts were painted, the fit was tight in some areas like the instrument panel and landing gear doors. Nothing a modeler can’t handle but just a note to be prepared if working with kids.
Highly recommended to all those who want to have fun modeling. My thanks to QMEN and Kitty Hawk for such a fun kit and to IPMS/USA for the chance to build it.