Trumpeter 1/144 YF-23






One of the two prototypes


Scott Van Aken




Back a few years ago, there was a fly-off for the nextgeneration of Air Force Fighters. The two contenders were the  theLockheed-Martin YF-22 and Northrop-Grumman YF-23. Both were twin-enginedfighters that incorporated stealth technology. This meant that all weapons hadto be carried internally. Each company provided two airframes, each powered bydifferent engines. One with General Electric and the other with Pratt &Whitney turbofans.

Though both airframes performed exceptionally well, money wasthe big factor and based on lower projected unit costs, the YF-22 was thewinning airframe. Preproduction versions, now called the Raptor, are now beingput through their paces at Edwards AFB. The YF-23s are currently being held insemi-storage by the NASA Dryden for testing purposes. 


Recently, therehas been a resurgence of 1/144 military kits.  In addition to DML,Minicraft and Academy have all had entries into this field. Now Trumpeter hasentered a number of kits. Most of them are of Chinese Air Force aircraft likethe F-7 and F-8II, but among them was this YF-23.

There are 24 parts to this kit, all but the canopy molded inlight grey plastic. It has engraved panel lines, and while certainly grossly outof scale, do look very nice. The overall shape seems to be spot on and testfitting the two fuselage halves sowed excellent fit. Unfortunately, my kit had ashort shot lower fuselage back near the exhaust which will be a real pain tofix, marring an otherwise excellent looking kit. You can see this glitch in theimage to the right. There is a full cockpit with seat and instrument panelthough you will have to make your own control stick.

Smaller parts are near scale in thickness, a real surprise insuch a small scale. One wonders how successful one will be in attaching theteeny pitot tubes to the nose of this kit. The instructions are a single sheetwith a parts diagram and decal placement on one side and an explodedconstruction diagram on the other. Paints seem to be Tamiya with a color chartgiven. It also tells you how much nose weight to add to the kit. The decals arevery glossy and seem to be adequate for the job. A minor difficulty is findingthe white decals as the backing sheet is also white.

Overall, it looks like a really super little kit. If the otherofferings are similar to this, then Trumpeter will do very well.

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet!! If any of youmanufacturers or shop owners want to send products for review and building,please contact me.