Academy 1/48 F-22A Raptor Air Dominance Fighter Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2008||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||F-22A Raptor Air Dominance Fighter||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||12212||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||At last, an accurate Raptor in 1/48 scale! Beautiful detailing and an outstanding decal sheet||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$69.00|
For a brief history of the F-22 program and the first 1/48 scale kit of the aircraft, look here.
Academy has stepped up to the plate with this new tooling of the F-22A in 1/48 scale. There's been little information about what was coming and even the preview at iHobbyExpo 2008 was based upon a wooden desk model. Clearly the engineers that designed this kit had far more information to work with and the results are there.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees (one duplicate tree not shown) plus two trees of clear parts. The tree containing the upper fuselage half is mounted on a cardboard tray that is displayed upon opening the box. Under the tray, the remaining parts trees are safely sealed in their own parts bags.
I was surprised to see an aftermarket resin cockpit available for this kit prior to its release, and while the detailing was nice, it made me wonder what inspired the company to release such a detail set. A quick look in the kit cockpit reveals a bit of a Spartan interior. Stick and throttle, ACES II ejection seat, and instrument panel are all here, but the multi-function displays (MFDs) are all rendered as decals. The side consoles are a little soft as well. But is this really wrong?
In 1/48 scale, is there enough depth between the MFD screen, bezel, and buttons to warrant a resin cockpit whose details will be clear, but way out of scale depth-wise. The answer is simple - this is going to be up to the modeler as to their preference for cockpit details. The decal-based MFDs may work for many modelers, the resin cockpit replacement will address those needs effectively, but I think the answer lies in the Czech Republic - Eduard color photo-etch. Depth-wise, photo-etch can capture the details and render the color details without overdoing the details. This one is up to the individual modeler!
The main weapons bays are beautifully rendered with all of the structural ribbing, plumbing and wiring. Ditto on the lateral bays.
The intake ducts run from the inlet to the compressor faces. The afterburner chambers also have turbine faces visible. If anyone really stares into the intakes or afterburner chambers, they'll see that any details in there that resemble the F119 engines are strictly coincidental. Since the intakes are pained white/light gray for FOD visibility during pre-flight, you're going to want to replace those compressor faces. The afterburner chambers are devoid of any texturing on the walls and those turbine representations also have to be replaced. These are minor nits, but will take a little work for the AMS modeler.
Back outside the airframe, the trailing edge flaps and horizontal stabs are positionable. The ailerons and rudders are molded in neutral position.
Actually to sum up the options and features of the kit:
- Detailed weapons bays
- Positionable weapons bay doors
- Choice of retracted or extended weapons trapezes
- Positionable landing gear
- Positionable flaps
- Positionable stabilators
- Full length intake ducts
- Positionable thrust vector pedals
- Choice of stowed or extended tail hook
- Choice of clear or tinted canopy
- Positionable canopy
- Optional crew figure
As for internal/external stores:
- 2 x wing pylons
- 2 x 600 gallon external tanks
- 2 x AIM-9M
- 2 x AIM-9X
- 6 x AIM-120C
- 2 x GBU-32
This canopy is really nicely done with the frame separately molded and even the rocket motor is provided for the front of the canopy.
This is one of the most impressive decal sheets I've seen in a kit and virtually eliminates the need for an aftermarket option. There are markings for 18 (!) different aircraft on this sheet. These include:
- F-22A-30, 05-4101, 1 FW, FF, Wing CC's mount, Langley AFB, VA
- F-22A-20, 04-4071, 1 OG/1 FW, FF, Ops Group CC's mount, Langley AFB, VA
- F-22A-20, 03-4042, 27 FS/1 FW, FF, Sqn CC's mount, Langley AFB, VA
- F-22A-30, 05-4094, 94 FS/1 FW, FF, Sqn CC's mount, Langley AFB, VA
- F-22A-20, 04-4082, 192 FW, FF, VA ANG Wing CC's mount, Langley AFB, VA
- F-22A-20, 03-4049, 149 FS/192 FW, FF, VA ANG Sqn CC's mount, Langley AFB, VA
- F-22A-30, 06-4109, 433 WS/57 WG, WA, Nellis AFB, NV
- F-22A-10, 99-4010, 422 TES/53 WG, OT, Nellis AFB, NV
- F-22A-10, 91-4008, 411 FLTS/AFFTC, ED, Edwards AFB, CA
- F-22A-30, 05-4103, 3 WG, AK, Wing CC's mount, Elmendorf AFB, AK
- F-22A-30, 05-4090, 90 FS/3 WG, AK, Sqn CC's mount, Elmendorf AFB, AK
- F-22A-30, 05-4102, 302 FS/3 WG, AK, Sqn CC's mount, Elmendorf AFB, AK
- F-22A-30, 06-4125, 525 FS/3 WG, AK, Sqn CC's mount, Elmendorf AFB, AK
- F-22A-30, 06-4122, 525 FS/3 WG, AK, Elmendorf AFB, AK
- F-22A-10, 02-4040, 325 FW, TY, Wing CC's mount, Tyndall AFB, FL
- F-22A-10, 01-4018, 43 FS/325 FW, TY, Sqn CC's mount, Tyndall AFB, FL
- F-22A-30, 05-4088, 49 FW, HO, Wing CC's mount, Holloman AFB, NM
- F-22A-30, 05-4106, 7 FS/49 FW, HO, Sqn CC's mount, Holloman AFB, NM
The sheet is beautifully printed by Cartograf and also includes a complete set of airframe stencils as well as stenciling for the weapons.
If you're wondering if Academy provides any hints to recreate the metallic effects of the upper surfaces of the airframe, no such luck. The paint guide does provide good four-view diagrams with paint call-outs using Gunze, Life Color, Humbrol, and Testor ModelMaster paint equivalents.
This kit is a vast improvement over the only other kit in this scale from Italeri. While there are some areas in intakes/afterburner chambers that lack detail, this is minor in contrast to all of the other features in this box. While Revell had the title of best Raptor in any scale for a short time with their 1/72 kit, the title goes to Academy's new kit. I doubt if we'll see any contenders for the title appear anytime soon.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!