Italeri 1/72 YF-22A Lightning II
KIT #: ?
PRICE: $14.99 MSRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard
NOTES: Prototype


 The YF-22 is destined to replace the F-15 in the USAF inventory. It represents the top of technology having an aerodynamic unparalleled design indication of the shape of future fighter aircraft. He YF-22 promises to be the single most effective air superiority aircraft of the modern era which combines speed and stealth in an agile airframe that was the most advanced weapon and systems to find and kill its target without warning. Its sophisticated electronic gear and engines demonstrate a completely new concept which presents a maximum of reliability and achievement.

 The YF-22 design was always heavily influenced by the F-117 stealth technology and when it was unveiled in August 1991 some observers pointed to its resemblance. More advanced in design and testing techniques allowed the F-22 to avoid the hard faceted edges of the stealth fighter. The YF-22 tail fins were huge as Lockheed wished to avoid the control problems they had experienced on the F-117s early flights caused by its too small tail surfaces.

 Two YF-22s were built, the first prototype N22YF was powered by a General Electric YF120 variable-cycle engines while the second N22YX used the Pratt and Whitney YF 119. The first prototype was also fitted for a time with spin recovery parachute for use during bending and high-alpha trials. When Lockheed won the Dem/Val Competition in 1991, N22YF did not fly again. The secondYF-22 returned to flight duties in October 1991, this time wearing its USAF serial 87-701. The YF-22 flew 39 times which is more than it had during the Dev/Val stage. Its contribution was limited by the major changes between it and the final F-22A design. The YF-22 was conducting a series of oscillations during a low, slow pass along the Edwards runway when it crashed in April 1992. It slid 8,000 feet and burned. In due course the airframe was repaired. The YF-22 was then used to test antenna designs for the F-22A at the Griffiths AFB.

 The F-22 is the replacement for the F-117 and F-15E fleet, and the Raptors as the F-22 is now christened are beginning to equip squadrons in USAF service at Langley AB Virginia, Tyndall AB Florida and Elmendorf AB, Alaska. 


The YF-22 Lightning II is an amazingly complete yet simple kit of a fascinating subject which is the forerunner of the present day F22 Raptor. The parts come in light grey injection moulded plastic having good surface detail which is also well defined. The kit comes with a folded out instructions having easy to follow steps of construction. There is a sprue diagram and at the back of the colour kit box has a useful 4-view drawing for colour markings and decal emplacement. There is a fully detailed cockpit consisting of neatly moulded parts. The fuselage is split horizontally which also integrates the main planes. There is an appreciable amount of detail to the undercarriage. One of the three weapon bays, the main central one, can be built in the open or closed configuration. It can exhibit a cluster of four AMRAAM missiles mounted on a central rack.


I preferred to assemble the bay with the doors closed as the detail inside did not appear effective and was rather scarce. The somewhat complicated intake contours are discontinuous and require additional work to rectify the missing interior wall with a measurably cut plastic card and fitted in place in both intakes. These were in the form of rectangular panels that once cut to measure are glued on the interior to form a continuous ducting. The YF-22 carried a pitot tube at the nose front. This I replaced with one made from a metal pin. Nose balance weight is added to the inside as forward as can be permitted. The cockpit is painted light grey with dark grey coming. Decals for instruments also added. The whole assembly is inserted in the upper fuselage. The wing/ fuselage halves are then fixed together without any major problems. The crystal clear canopy which had serrated front and hinged at the rear is the last thing to go on the kit and can be fixed open or closed. 


The bay and wheel wells are semi matt white. The lower surface of the kit was then airbrushed in light ghost grey FS36375 for which I used Humbrol 64 and the upper surface was in two tone grey camouflage FS36320, Humbrol 126 and the darker grey, Gunship grey FS36118. For the equivalent I used Modelmaster 1728. Decals cater for the first prototype which is of good quality. I simply trimmed the excessive carrier film that goes outside of the decal. The three colour stripes only go to the outer surface of the fins upper. A decorative crest decal fits to each side of the air intakes and the remaining decals were quite effective on the overall appearance of the kit. The complete kit was finished in satin varnish by Model Master.


 The finished kit  appeared to capture all the lines of the YF-22 Lightning II. The aircraft itself differed greatly from the eventual evolving F-22 Raptor production aircraft. Definitely recommended to those modellers who follow the development of the future fighter aircraft F-22A Raptor.


World Air Power Journal Vol 38 Aut/Fall 1999

Carmel J. Attard

June 2008

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