Kitty Hawk 1/48 F-35B Lightning II

KIT #: KH80102
PRICE: $60.00 SRP
DECALS: Multiple options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver
NOTES: New tool kit


            The Lockheed-Martin F-35B is the STOVL version of the F-35 series, which will replace the AV-8B Harrier with the Marine Corps, and is planned to equip the Royal Navy with a new fixed-wing naval aviation capability.  If all goes according to plan (which one should not count on since nothing has gone according to plan so far with this airplane), in addition to the USAF, USN and USMC, the F-35 in its various versions may equip the RCAF, the Belgian, Netherlands, Danish and Norwegian Air Forces, the Israeli Air Force, ROKAF, JSDAF, Singapore AF, and RAAF.  This proposed widespread deployment has become a “definite maybe” as many of these countries are reassessing their actual need for this aircraft in light of changing economic circumstances and the continuing developmental difficulties, which are too numerous to list here but include such head-scratchers as creating a carrier fighter that can’t land on a carrier since the tailhook isn’t on the tail where they have been for 95 years, as well as a helmet display that controls all instrumentation and flight coordination that lags reality by a couple of crucial seconds, as merely the most obvious.


             This is the second kit from Kitty Hawk Models, a new manufacturer that has impressed the modeling community with their F-94C Starfire.  This is the second F-35 kit to be produced, the first being from Panda several years ago and representing the very early prototype.  This kit is the first that attempts to portray a production variant.

            The parts are very crisply molded in dark grey plastic, and test-fitting of the three major fuselage parts shows a very precise fit.  The F-94C also had precise fit, which augurs well for this release.

             A very complete engine is provided in the vertical take-off configuration.  Additionally all wheel wells and bomb bays are provided open in detail, along with all the planned armament and ordnance, including underwing configurations.  The cockpit has sufficient detail to look good on its own, and the clear one-piece canopy is very clear indeed.  The kit is designed to be displayed with everything open.  It appears to my non-SME eye that the designers benefitted from serious cooperation from Lockheed-Martin in getting the details right for this kit.

            Decals are provided for the F-35B prototype and one of the first production aircraft for US Service.  Additional speculative decals are provided both in color and greyed-out for all the various air arms that may or may not include the F-35 in their future inventories.


            The kit appears well-designed and is produced for ease of assembly with accuracy in details.  If modern aircraft are your interest, this is a kit you’ll want to include in your collection.  Given the amount of detail and the quality of production, the kit is good value for the money.

Tom Cleaver

August 2012

 Review Kit courtesy Kitty Hawk Models.  Available for pre-order at Pacific Models,  

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