Dragon 1/72 YF-22 Lightning 2

KIT #: 2508
PRICE: ~$25.00 or so 'used'
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1997 release


The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine, all-weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed for the United States Air Force (USAF). The result of the USAF's Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program, the aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but also has ground attack, electronic warfare, and signal intelligence capabilities. The prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, built most of the F-22's airframe and weapons systems and conducted final assembly, while Boeing provided the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems.

The aircraft was variously designated F-22 and F/A-22 before it formally entered service in December 2005 as the F-22A. Despite its protracted development and various operational issues, USAF officials consider the F-22 a critical component of the service's tactical air power. Its combination of stealth, aerodynamic performance, and avionics systems enable unprecedented air combat capabilities.[

Service officials had originally planned to buy a total of 750 ATFs. In 2009, the program was cut to 187 operational production aircraft due to high costs, a lack of clear air-to-air missions due to delays in Russian and Chinese fighter programs, a ban on exports, and development of the more versatile F-35. The last F-22 was delivered in 2012.


This is Dragon's kit of the prototype YF-22 which won the competition with the YF-23 as it was more maneuverable and less risky (whatever that means). The YF-23, on the other hand was more stealthy and faster. The YF-22 was basically a technology demonstrator and the resulting F-22A was a similar looking, but fairly different aircraft.

The kit is a fairly simple arrangement with a basic cockpit with a tub, seat, control and instrument panel. All instrument detail is raised, though a decal is also provided. The fuselage is split horizontally with the upper half containing a full wing and the lower a stub. Wheel wells are inserted in the lower half and this also contains the lower exhaust section.

One then attaches the  landing gear and gear doors before gluing the upper half. The horizontal stabs are trapped between the upper and lower halves. Fins, upper exhaust and canopy are then glued in place and that's it. As I said, a pretty simple kit

Instructions are well done with Gunze and Italeri paint references. Both decal options are painted in FS 36118 over 36375. Decals are printed in Japan so the whites are off-white and will take very hot water.


With kits of a proper F-22A currently on the market, this one will really only interest those who like to model prototypes. Since it is such a simple kit, it should be a pretty quick build.



September 2020

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