Fujimi 1/72 F-22 Raptor
|KIT #:||722221 (BSK1)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||A brand new kit|
The Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth-generation fighter aircraft that uses stealth technology. It was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities that include ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is the prime contractor and is responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems and final assembly of the F-22. Program partner Boeing Defense, Space & Security provides the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and all of the pilot and maintenance training systems.
The aircraft was variously designated F-22 and F/A-22 during the years prior to formally entering USAF service in December 2005 as the F-22A. Despite a protracted and costly development period, the United States Air Force considers the F-22 a critical component for the future of US tactical air power, and claims that the aircraft is unmatched by any known or projected fighter, while Lockheed Martin claims that the Raptor's combination of stealth, speed, agility, precision and situational awareness, combined with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities, makes it the best overall fighter in the world today. Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, Chief of the Australian Defence Force, said in 2004 that the "F-22 will be the most outstanding fighter plane ever built."
The high cost of the aircraft, a lack of clear air-to-air combat missions because of the lengthy delays in the Russian and Chinese fifth generation fighter programs, a US ban on Raptor exports, and the development of the cheaper and more versatile F-35 resulted in calls to end F-22 production. In April 2009 the US Department of Defense proposed to cease placing new orders, subject to Congressional approval, for a final procurement tally of 187 Raptors. The US Senate and House each passed 2010 budget bill versions without F-22 production funding in July 2009. Congress worked to combine these versions into one bill, and President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 in October 2009, without funding for F-22 production.
Fujimi's new F-22 is not the first kit of this aircraft, but may well be the best. Molded in their usual grey plastic, each sprue is individually bagged to prevent scratches and parts damage from the sprues rubbing together. The kit also includes two canopies; one of them clear and the other tinted a smoke color.
This kit has had quite a bit of buzz from the modern jet folks with the general feeling being rather positive. It has probably all the features one would want with a modern 1/72 kit. There is a nicely done cockpit with a well molded bang seat, though no harness is provided. I know some don't like decal harnesses, but I'd rather have that than none. All of the control surfaces are separate items and that includes the rudders. All of the weapons bays can be displayed open and one has a choice of weapons to put into them. Well, at least the central bay, which can handle either a pair of AIM-9X or two AIM-120s and two GBU-32s. The side missile bays have a single Sidewinder. Of course, these can be built closed is one wishes.
There are a pair of Pratt & Whitney engines onto which the vectored burner cans are attached. These are designed to be movable. The kit features full engine intakes and complete wheel wells. In fact, one builds all these things that fit into the fuselage first, then cements them into the fuselage before closing the upper and lower halves. The fuselage halves include the wings. The canopy is also hinged to be displayed open or closed. No modern jet would be complete without fuel tanks hanging off the wings and two of these are supplied with the kit. As a bonus, there is an engine dolly so you can show one of them out of the plane.
Instructions are very well done and while in Japanese, the 22 construction sequences are very well drawn. Color information by Gunze, of course. All of the external camouflage colors need to be mixed and a ratio is provided for that purpose. Markings are provided for four aircraft; the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB in Virginia gets two of them along with one from the 49th FW, the ex-F-117 wing at Holloman AFB in New Mexico and another from the 302 FS based in Alaska. The decals are very well done and provide not only full stencils for the aircraft but for the weapons as well. A goodly portion of the sheet is for 'remove before flight' tags which will be hanging all over the aircraft when on the ground.
I dare say that this is probably the best F-22 kit on the market today. It is not the least expensive and that may keep some from picking it up, which would be a shame. Were I to build but one F-22 model in 1/72 scale, this would be it.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Get yours at your favorite shop or ask them to order it for you.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page