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Revell Germany 1/72 scale Lockheed F-22A Raptor

Kit: No. 04386-0389
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Revell Germany, 49-05-223-965-0,
Price: N/A
Comments: Injection-molded, 118 parts, decals
Pros: Near seamless construction; full complement of decal markings
Cons: Untinted canopy; no wheel-well detail; some sink marks and flash;
imprecise location of weapons doors and small parts; questionable color recommendations
Issue Published: November 2008
The F-22A Raptor looks as though it will be invincible as well as nearly undetectable. It can cruise supersonic without afterburner, execute seemingly impossible maneuvers, and reach out and touch bad guys with the latest radars and weapons.

Revell Germany's new kit offers a full set of AIM-120 AMRAAM, a choice of AIM-9M or AIM-9X Sidewinders, and a pair of JDAM bombs for a weapons bay that opens, and a pair of external drop tanks. Other bonuses are alternate wide or constricted afterburner petals, a posable canopy, and a deployed barrier hook.

The decal sheet looks complete, with markings for seven different Raptors based at Langley, Elmendorf, and Tyndall air bases.

Revell Germany's Raptor is a step up from the earlier Italeri kit, especially when it comes to fit. Major construction places the seams along easily cleaned edges. But surprisingly, my sample had several sink marks and ejector-pin marks, notably on the missile bay doors and in the missile bay. Some of the small parts also showed flash. The kit's one-piece canopy is untinted, even though the real thing is heavily tinted.

Cockpit detail is adequate, relying on decals for the cutting-edge "glass cockpit" displays. The serpentine intake trunks are deep enough. The weapons bays have adequate structural detail, but the landing-gear bays have none.

Construction went smoothly until it came to attaching the weapons-bay and landing-gear doors. The main weapons bay houses as many as six AMRAAM missiles and air-to-ground ordnance. It is covered by a pair of bi-fold doors, molded together in the kit as one piece - handy if you want to pose the doors closed. The instructions have you slice the part into six pieces - four door parts and two strips, each measuring 2" by 1/16" - that must be cemented to the outer edges of the bay. I wish these strips were molded to the fuselage, because gluing them was difficult - there's very little bonding surface. Each of the folded doors must attach to one of these strips and be held in position by a pair of struts which are shown going into small holes in the doors. The holes are not molded, and it isn't clear what the proper angles of the doors should be in their folded, open position.

I encountered similar problems placing the hangers for the inboard main-gear doors and the pivot for the canopy - they don't quite fit they way they are shown.

Revell Germany's instructions recommend three colors for the camouflage scheme. I couldn't find anything to refute them, but the painted model looks too "warm" (on the reddish side of neutral). The main color, FS36251, matches the stencil decals so well that they disappear. Also, the colors in many photos of real Raptors show a metallic tinge that may contribute to the stealth capabilities of the aircraft. I used Testors Model Master enamels. I had to use FS36173 for the contrasting "cloud" color, as the slightly darker FS36176 recommended is unavailable.

The decals went on fine. Aside from some of them being the same shade as the background color (making them invisible), the decals are one of the kit's highlights.

I put in about 36 hours, much of it devoted to painting and decaling. You'll need some skill to work out the problems with the doors, tint the canopy, and find accurate colors for your Raptor, but this is the kit to build in 1/72 scale.

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