|PRICE:||$ 22.50 MSRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New mold kit so you can toss those prototypes|
OK, I admit it. I'm not a huge fan of grey jets. Don't get me wrong, I build models of them and enjoy the experience, but I'd just as soon build something with a nice camouflage scheme than multiple shades of grey. Yet that is how modern aircraft are painted and while I hope it is a phase they will soon leave behind before I die, I doubt it.
Right up there in the 'greys r us' category is the new F-22A Raptor. This incredibly expensive aircraft is the latest in the USAF inventory and has been slowly entering squadron service for the last few years, starting with the training unit at Tyndall AFB and then moving to the 1st FW at Langley AFB near Norfolk, VA (hey, just like the F-15 did 30 years ago).
Modern jet aircraft have a gestation period that is longer than the development and service life of planes of the 1930s and 1940s. Probably due to the need to incorporate and combine a nearly bewildering array of systems into an integrated package. Gone are the days of 'kick the tires, light the fire and off we go'.
The F-22 won a competition against the Northrop YF-23 that was too close to call as both aircraft performed the mission superbly. In the end, it was either a political decision against Northrop (who has never had really good relations with the politicians) or the 'fact' that the YF-22 would be easier to construct (though to many it made little difference) that gave the (hey how about a bribe and a nice lunch) Lockheed crew the nod.
Despite the fact that the plane has been in service for many years, your editor has never seen one (or a Super Hornet for that matter), as these planes just don't seem to hang out around here. Of course, those that fly the plane say it is just the best that there ever was and I'm sure they are 100% correct. One thing I know, there will never be the numbers built to match even the F-15 for production as the cost per unit of modern high-tech military jets is such that the Air Force and whomever also gets the plane (any bets on Israel), won't be able to afford a lot of them.
Instructions are standard Revell with 59 well illustrated construction steps. All paint references are for Revell paints and you have to mix all the exterior colors. Fortunately, the FS 595 numbers for these are also provided. The rather large and well printed decal sheet is by Cartograf so you know you'll need your strongest setting solution if you use such a thing. All the units operating the type at the time of this kit's release are provided. Four are for the 1st FW at Langley with the 1 FW boss, two different 94 FS markings and one for the 27th FS, two are with the 90th and 302nd FS at Elmendorf Alaska (looks like the ex-Luke reserve unit's number has been transferred to keep all the Tuskegee units going), and one is with the 43 FS at Tyndall, a unit that I believe, used to be at Elmendorf. The sheet also includes missile markings as well as airframe data markings.
So there you have it. Modern jet fans will be delighted with this one as it is accurate and doesn't cost $50. Painting it will be interesting, but the end result should be well worth the effort.
I came, I saw, I bought, you now know what to expect for your loot.
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