Italeri 1/72 F-35B Lightning II Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||January 2020||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Subject||F-35B Lightning II||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||1425||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice details and options||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$49.99|
The F-35B Lightning II is the STOVL (Short Take-Off/Vertical Land) version of Lightning II family designed for the United States Marine Corps and the allied nations who operate (or previously operated) the Harrier aboard ships. The F-35B differs from the F-35A or F-35C by having a lift fan behind the cockpit and movable exhaust nozzle to facilitate STOVL operations while otherwise having most of the same capabilities as the other two variants. While the F-35 is heavier than the Harrier, it is equipped with an afterburning turbofan engine that allows the F-35 to fly supersonic. Unlike the Harrier, the F-35 is a network-centric aircraft that has the latest low-observable technologies and can carry its armament inside two weapons bays. For operations that don't require stealth, the F-35 can also carry additional external stores under the wings (like the Harrier).
Italeri released their 1/72 F-35A Lightning II kit over six years ago, and here is the second variant in this scale - the F-35B. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees plus one tree of transparent yellow/gold parts. The detailing in this kit is much better than their 1/72 F-35A, the details inside the weapons bays are sharp and remind me more of their 1/32 F-35A kit. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Detailed ejection seat w/decal pilot restraints
- Detailed cockpit
- Positionable canopy
- Detailed weapons bays
- Weapons bay doors are positioned open
- Detailed F135 engine in areas that can be seen
- Positionable engine nozzle
- Detailed wheel wells
- Weighted wheels
- Optional external pylons
The kit provides some weapons options including:
- 2 x GBU-31 2000lb JDAM
- 4 x GBU-12 LGB
- 2 x AIM-120C AMRAAM
- 2 x AIM-9X Sidewinder
Markings are provided for three subjects:
- F-35B, XM151, 017, RN Lightning Force, HMS Queen Elizabeth, 2019
- F-35B, 169164, VK/0, VMFA-121, MCAS Iwakuni, 2019
- F-35B, MM 7451, 4-01, Italian Navy, NAS Patuxent River, 2018
The exterior of the aircraft has molded radar-absorbent materials (RAM) on the surfaces like F-22 and F-35 kits from other manufacturers. Like the other examples, the thickness of the RAM is out of scale/proportion to the full-scale aircraft but these can be cleaned up with some careful sanding.
While the instructions indicate that the lift engine doors and weapons bay doors are only positioned open, you can dry-fit the doors to the fuselage without the hinges installed and if this kit is like other recent Italeri kits, you should be able to position all of the doors closed (if you wish), especially given that the engine afterburner nozzle can be positioned in normal flight position.
This is a nice-looking kit and will build into a nice renditon of the Marines' newest close air support workhorse.
Thanks to MRC for the review sample.