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Hobby Boss 1/48 YF-23 Build Review

By Sundiata Cowels

Date of Review November 2013 Manufacturer Hobby Boss
Subject YF-23 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 81722 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Finally a kit in this scale! Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $69.99

The Project

Dear fellow modelers, I have a confession to make; it's been almost twenty-years since I've actually built a scale model. I know, I know… the shame is humbling. But when Mike Benolkin offered me the opportunity to put together one of my favorite "Could-have-been" planes in 1/48 scale, I jumped at the chance! You can read our YF-23 First Look here.

I am using an Excel hobby knife with an assortment of X-acto blades, Testors Non-toxic Modeling glue (3521), Testors Hobby Sanding Films pack (8802MT) and the ubiquitous Squadron Green Putty (09050)… if the need arises.

For reference I am using Bill Sweetman's exceptional book about the ATF program, "YF-22 and YF-23: Advanced Tactical Fighters- Stealth, Speed and Agility for Air Superiority" which was printed by Motorbooks International (ISBN 0-87938-505-7) back in 1991. I am also taking advantage of an interesting website devoted to all things YF-23, named appropriately enough, Lastly, I retrieved from by basement a build I made of DML/Dragon 1/72 scale YF-23, which, as you'll see, proved to be more accurate than this new release from Hobby Boss. Ah… that's the whistle blowing. It's time to open up my aircraft factory.

The Build

The YF-23 kit begins with the building of the ejection seat which is supposed to be a derivation of the ACES II series of ejection seats that are available on many of today's U.S. tactical aircraft.

Hobby Boss' ejection seat is comprised of four pieces; the launch rails (Parts D4 and D5), the seat backing (C13) and the seat itself (C24) with harness scribed onto the surface. The detailing is very basic, more like a bas relief. (Unfortunately, my review kit arrived a bit damaged in transit. The side hand grips on the ejection seat were compressed, as if they had been in a vice, and upon cutting the seat from the parts tree with care, caused them to crumble.) If your budget allows it, I would suggest replacing the seat with a True Details ACES II resin version.


The launch rails attached without a hitch to the back of the seat but there is a gap between the seat backing and the seat itself- the register pin hole on the top part of the seat, appears to be too shallow. I removed it and used some clothes pins to hold the assembly firmly together while the glue set.


Construction moves next to the nose landing gear assembly. This is comprised of four parts (D10, D22, D25 and D49) that have an excellent fit. Make sure that you take the time to orient the parts correctly before you add glue and the fit will be a snap.

Within the same step, you are instructed to put together the nose gear tire/wheel as well. The fit is almost seamless and with some slight sanding should be fine.


To be continued!

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!

For a walk around look at the YF-23 PAV-2 airframe, check out our YF-23 Modeler's Reference.


  • Notice: The appearance of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Defense, or NASA imagery or art does not constitute an endorsement nor is Cybermodeler Online affiliated with these organizations.