Review by Geoff Coughlin (October 2017)
Price around £40.00GBP
Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II from the US Air Force present a Full Flying Display at RAF Fairford
Here’s a great reference site with some impressive video footage: http://www.aiirsource.com/f-35a-lightning-ii-behind-the-scenes/
Keep an eye on SMN’s Aircraft-Build Now for the full build by Gerry D coming soon and when it’s finished you will find the full build in the Aircraft-Finished Now-MENG pages
This is a kit that’s been eagerly awaited, especially as MENG has been getting a good reputation for producing quality mode kits – armour and aircraft. In fact we have covered a few MENG armour subjects here in SMN but only one aircraft to date – Adam B’s lovely F-102. My plan is to feature more MENG aircraft builds, so watch this space.
Back to this new kit
It’s a new-tool kit and features a good shape and will I’m sure make into a very reasonable representation of the type.
You do notice the raised panels on the airframe and these do look a bit overdone (look at the photo below that accompanies this review and the angular panels across the airframe look flush to me. Having said that, I’m sure they can be sanded back if you think they look too much as moulded.
Here are some observations about this kit that may help:
Photo etch – you get a seat harness in PE and this will add a lot to the neatly moulded ejection seat provided. A compressor blade array is on the fret too which is a neat touch
Weapons bay – good detail in these – both sides and opening it up to show the ordnance inside will add plenty to your model
Weapons selection – quite a bit is provided from AIM-120C AMRAAMs, GBU-53 racks – check out the pics above to see the full range included
Wheel bays – these are nicely detailed too with as much detail as is needed for most modellers
Cockpit – the cockpit of these ‘next-generation’ fighters is quite simple and what’s included looks accurate to my passing eye. Inevitably accurate up to date photos of the F-35A cockpit aren’t going to be widely available
Intake trunking and jet pipe – both are included to avoid any see-through issues with the reheat/afterburner can detailed well and should look good under paint and wash
Wheels/undercarriage – again good detail here and these are a big feature of the F-35A, so it’s worth taking care to finish them neatly
Canopy – the canopy has to be about the clearest I’ve seen – a super bit of moulding. Shape looks fine to me too
Good quality sheet with markings and full stencil data for two US F-35As
These are the standard fold out sheet – nothing too complex and seem clear enough from first look. Inevitably the suggested sequence will be one you’ll want to think carefully about and depart from using your experience to save the usual daft scenarios of trying to join sub-assemblies that have loads of smaller details attached.