|KIT:||Testors F-19 Stealth Fighter|
|PRICE:||$Long out of production|
The Vietnam War and 1973 Yom Kippur War (Israel vs Egypt/Syria) showed the increasing effectiveness of radar guided SAMs and AWACS aircraft. The USAF realized that their current generation of aircraft would have a hard time dealing with Soviet SAMs, AA guns and AWACS if the big one (World War Three) started. They wanted a strike plane that had a low radar cross section (RCS) which could penetrate the most heavily defended airspace in the world, complete its mission and survive.
The Stealth Fighter project was initiated in 1973 to evaluate various potential stealth designs. Eventually, Lockheed’s Skunk Works won the contract to develop a stealth fighter. By the early 80s, many defense “analysts” had heard of the stealth fighter program and there was wild speculation on what a stealth fighter would look like.
When Testors/Italieri released the F-19 model kit, they claimed that their design of the stealth “fighter” based on the literature that was available at the time and the guesses of aviation experts. As politicians have a tendency to do, they got upset at the release of “secret” information and ran a congressional hearing over a model kit(?). The shape of the F-19 was strikingly similar to the SR-71 which was a reduced, but not low, RCS design (most folks didn’t know about the low RCS flying wings that Northrop developed in the 1940s which was the basis of the B-2.) For most of the 80s when folks talked about a stealth fighter, they imagined the F-19 or something similar to it.
As many of you know, this particular kit was called the best selling model kit of all time and beat the previously declared model, the original Star Trek USS Enterprise in record time.
In the 1986 novel, Red Storm Rising, Tom Clancy wrote about a two seat stealth fighter that was the similar to the Testors F-19. It could shoot down Mainstay AWACS aircraft and fly strike missions thru EM rich airspace undetected at treetop level. The novel and the hype of many aviation experts gave the ordinary folks (like the reviewer who was a teenager at the time) the impression that the stealth fighter was the ultimate flying killing machine. Of course many of us were kinda disappointed when the real F-117 Nighthawk (should have been an A, not F) was unveiled to the public in 1988.
The F-19 kit is a fairly simple kit compared to the ones today as it consists of 62 black parts and 4 clear parts. The detail is pure 1980s with plenty of ejection pin marks on the insides of the doors and somewhat thick small parts.
The cockpit detail is rather spartan, but one has to remember that this was a speculative kit (so no remarks about accuracy.) The ejection seat is pretty sparse of detail as well. The whole cockpit screams for scratch built details (which is what I’m going to do when I get around to building this kit.)
The engines are reasonably well done with exhausts and baffles while the intakes are on top of the airframe and equipped with baffles to reduce RCS (but in reality would also restrict airflow in any high angle climb leading to possible flame out.)
The kit allows for both inflight and on the ground configurations, but it does not provide a stand. As for weapons, it comes with an internal weapons bay and two Maverick missiles.
The F-19 comes with two different decal markings, a daylight paint scheme and a night paint scheme.
When the F-117 was unveiled in 1988, a lot of people were disappointed that it didn’t look anything like the F-19. It wasn’t even the correct designation number! About the only thing that the model maker got right was that Lockheed was the manufacturer.
Personally, I like the look of the F-19 even if it is just a fictional aircraft.
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