Airfix 1/72 F-22 Raptor
|KIT #:||J 6005|
|NOTES:||QuickBuild kit. A cross between LEGO and Snap Tite|
Conceived in the 1970s, designed in the 80s, flown and refined in the 90s and finally in service in the 2000s (if that’s a thing…?), the aircraft named Raptor is the first Fifth Generation fighter to see service. Even now, about ten years after it entered the USAF inventory, the only other 5th Gen fighter close to service is another Lockheed-Martin product.
It’s only ever going to be with the USAF due to an act of Congress, and production is already over, but it is an impressive beast based on what we know. It can go supersonic without afterburners, can launch missiles from within its own belly to minimise its radar signature, and its exhaust nozzles allow it to be extra manoeuvrable.
As well as popular air show appearances, including in Australia, the F-22 is well-known from video game and film appearances, including as a bad guy in the first three Transformers movies (the first to feature real F-22s rather than just CGI) and Iron Man.
Given the gestation period the F-22 has experienced it will come as no surprise to many of you that the USAF is already asking for Sixth Generation proposals – in all likeliness to be armed with lasers – but that also means the Raptor will be around for many years to come.
For a real history hit your local library or Googlebox – there’s enough to keep you busy for days and days. Not to mention the message boards.
Sometime late last year Airfix introduced this easy-build series of six aircraft models – an early-mark Spitfire, Bf109E c.1940, Eurofighter Typhoon, BAe Hawk, Boeing Apache Longbow and this, the Lockheed-Martin F-22A Raptor - priced close to the company’s top end 1/72 kits, using parts similar to LEGO and other construction blocks. I’m sure kids will love this as they can add Raptor wings to their starship-car-boat.
quick measure shows this kit to be 1/90 scale, but that may be a coincidence as all the Quickbuild kits have the same size box and are probably box-scale (the Eurofighter Typhoon on display at the toy shop was about this size).
The instructions are purely a pictorial guide to building and applying the stickers, but the back of the colourful box gives you vital statics about the real-world F-22A such as dimensions and performance (including power-to-weight ratio) and has one Flying Hour. Editor Scott will be glad to hear the kit comes with a stand, this is fortuitous as the gear is moulded retracted.
Surface detail is engraved and light, perfect for the scale. One minor gripe is that the tinted, one-piece canopy is very darkly-tinted, another is that the intakes are very short. But, on the whole, it looks like a Raptor and has only 24 parts (three of which are for the stand).
There are 21 steps and, as the pieces are loose in a bag a la LEGO, there’s no sprue to trim or flash to clean off. Everything snaps into place very nicely and in less than 15 minutes – I’m sure there are Hobby Boss easy-build kits which take longer to put together.
Each construction step generally covers the addition of one component at a time, starting at the tail and working forward. Parts layout is very clever in that, apart from the wings and control surfaces, none of the pieces really look very Raptor-y until it goes together.
The only extra parts to put on are underwing droptanks, which may ruin the type’s stealthiness but to me make it look mean as hell!
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Those who, like me, began their modelling careers with Revell-Monogram Snap-Tites will have a wave of nostalgia wash over them when they see the “decal” sheet. It’s eight stickers on a clear surround giving unit badges, tail number and codes, roundels and the darker grey camouflage spots. Kids will slap ‘em on without a care but if you’re a more experienced type you may get annoyed at how well they stick when you put them in the wrong place.
I’m not sure this represents an individual aircraft but it has the tail codes FF and apparently belongs to the 1st FW.
This was fun. I saw the range on Airfix’s website a while ago and had been thinking about getting one, and when I bought the Longbow Apache for my nephew’s birthday I thought I’d give it a try myself. I’m keen to try out the Typhoon, having seen it built in the shop, and although they’re a bit pricey it’s still cheaper than if LEGO were to make it.
Short verdict: fun, looks like the real thing, and a quick and easy build. Recommended for the kid in your life, or the kid at heart who wants something for the desk at work.
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