Trumpeter 1/144 YF-22

KIT #: 1331
PRICE:  8 RMB (US$1.20) at Xinshi on Xinjiekou, Beijing
DECALS: One option


In the 80s, the USAF started to worry about a successor to the powerful F-15 that was just 5 years into its service career. The Russians were getting ready to field the MiG-29 and Sukhoi-27, and the Americans didn't want to be behind the curve.

The Advanced Tactical Fighter program was a competition to find the jet that would eventually replace the Eagle.

It was to be able to fly in supercruise - ie supersonic without reheat - and be stealthy, as well as have the usual fighter characteristics such as agility, powerful radar, and a useful collection of missiles.

By 1986 the competition was down to two finalists - the YF-23 (fast and stealthy) and the YF-22 (agile and a bit cheaper).

The YF-22 won the competition and entered squadron service in 2005 as the F-22 Raptor, 14 years after its first flight.

The YF-23 was consigned to a museum.


This neat little kit from Trumpeter is the sister to the YF-23 previewed right here on Modeling Madness.

Like its friend, this YF-22 kit is nicely moulded with engraved panel lines and some raised detail as appropriate. The main weapons bay underneath is open, and has some generic structural detail. The smaller side bays for the AIM-9 missiles are moulded closed. Wheel wells are enclosed with their own detail too. There's a tiny cockpit and ejection seat.

Four little AMRAAM missiles are included to arm the plane. They are held in place with a rack which doesn't really look like it what's on the real plane (or at least, on the pictures of the production F-22) but would do in this scale if you want to give some idea of the armament.

Some reasonably detailed undercarriage and a nice clear canopy round out this simple kit. There is some flash on mine, but nothing too bad.


Both YF-22s looked pretty much the same as other modern US fighters - various shades of grey. There's a small sheet that has US insignia, the red-white-blue tail stripe and a few small badges and numbers. Not much scope for variation with this aeroplane as only two were made.


There's no doubt the F-22 is an amazing aircraft, even if you can argue the toss about whether it's needed or in what numbers. The YF-22 kit is great because it's of a prototype, and you can get the YF-23 to sit alongside it. This might be one of the only example of a prototype competition where both competitors are available in simple injection moulded form.

Even at its price in the West, this kit is worth picking up, but at the street price in China it's a steal. I didn't have much prior interest in the type, but for half of the price of a cup of coffee (where I come from), I grabbed this and the YF-23 to build in the MM 2011 test-pilot and test-plane group build "Pushing the Envelope".

Richard F

February 2011

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