Review: Italeri 1/72 F-35B Lightning II

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The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather, stealth multirole combat aircraft, designed for both air superiority and strike missions. The aircraft was developed and is built by Lockheed Martin and its subcontractors, which include Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, and BAE Systems. The F-35 has three main variants: the conventional takeoff and landing F-35A (CTOL), the short take-off and vertical-landing F-35B (STOVL), and the carrier-based F-35C (CV/CATOBAR).

There have been a few F-35Bs released in 1/72. The manufacturers are Academy, Fujimi, Hasegawa and now Italeri. Any other F-35Bs are re-boxings of one of those 4 manufacturers.

The kit comes in a sturdy box made of cardboard. All the parts are inside a bag with the clear part sprue inside its own bags as well. In the box we have:

  • 156 plastic parts
  • 3 clear plastic parts
  • decal sheet
  • colour 19-page paper instruction sheet

The level of detail is very nice and the main parts have fine recessed panel lines ans also raised details that are very noticeable on this aircraft. The attachment points are small and you have a very detailed engine.  There are colour call-outs throughout the build.

The kit is built in 24 steps although the last 3 are optional.

  1. Putting together the cockpit. The seat is made of 3 parts with decals seatbelts. The detail on the instrument panel is partly raised details and partly a decal sheet. You have to drill a couple of holes in the upper fuselage.
  2. Drilling more holes in the upper fuselage.
  3. Fixing the main undercarriage legs in the details undercarriage bays and then fitting the bays into the lower fuselage.
  4. Assembling the engine, although most of it will be hidden. You assemble the air intake ducting and the front turbine and attach them all to the lower fuselage.
  5. Here you add the engine exhaust and you get a choice of the nozzle pointing down as if the aircraft is hovering or pointing straight back as if in flight or on the ground.
  6. In step 6 you join the upper and lower halves of the fuselage.
  7. Here you add the control surfaces on the wings and the twin tails.
  8. Step 8 builds and installs th enose undercarriage in the detailed undercarriage bay and adds doors to the nose undercarriage bay and the lift turbine outlet.
  9. Optionally add JDAMS to the very nicely details weapons bays.
  10. Add AMRAAMs to the inside of the weapons bay doors and fit the starboard door.
  11. Add AMRAAMs to the inside of the weapons bay doors and fit the port door.
  12. Add starboard outer weapon bay doors.
  13. Add port outer weapon bay doors.
  14. Add starboard main undercarriage doors and the main wheel.
  15. Add port main undercarriage doors and the main wheel.
  16. Fit the door under the engine exhaust in either the open or closed position.
  17. Add underwing pylons.
  18. Fit Paveways and SIdewinders to the pylons.
  19. Add lift turbine upper door.
  20. Fit orange-tinted canopy in either the open or closed position.
  21. Add a couple of small aerials under the nose.
  22. Optional – build a bomb trolley.
  23. Fit JDAMS to bomb trolley if you didn’t fit them in the weapons bays.
  24. Fit Paveyways to bomb trolley if you didn’t fit them in the weapons bays.

The painting guide gives you 3 options, RAF, Marines and Italian Navy. The colours are named and called out in the Italeri paint range and Federals STandard references.. Colours are called out as needed throughout the instructions. Your 3 options are:

  • Royal Navy Lightning Force, HMS Queen Elizabeth, Oct 2019
  • US Marine Corps, VMFA-121, MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, 2019
  • Marina Militare Italiana, Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati, NAS Patuxent River, 2018

This kit is available direct from us here for US$22.00 plus shipping.

Conclusion: This is a very nice kit with lots of detail and a full weapons load included.

Paul Tosney – Editor
HobbyLink International
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