Having reviewed Academy’s 1/48 scale F-22A Raptor last winter, I was wondering how Hasegawa’s new kit would compare. The answer is that, with work, it’s the best yet in this scale.
The kit comprises 378 parts on 10 light gray styrene sprues with two sets of poly caps. All the sprues were individually bagged with the exception of the two marked E. There are two sprues of the same clear parts, but one is molded in a smoke tint. Surface detail features fine recessed panel lines as well as overstated raised panels that replicate the many RAM-coated access panels on the airframe. The fuselage is molded in just two sections with the main wing as part of one – quite a feat. The cockpit has raised detail for the instrument panel and side consoles; decals are provided for CRT displays. The multipiece ejection seat looked OK but had no seat belts. Perfectly printed decals provide markings for four aircraft.
The missile bay and main wheel well detail is amazing! Each of the three missiles bays is almost another kit, with 17 parts in each side bay and 41 in the center; the door interiors are molded separately, and robust hinges lend strength. The intake ducts go all the way past the main gear bay, just like the real aircraft. The main gear bay rivals the missile bays, with multiple add-ons and multipiece main gear. The nose-gear strut was just as nicely detailed, but, strangely, its bay lacked the same detail.
The builder only has a few options with this kit: The canopy, exhaust nozzles, and missile bays can be posed open or closed. However, the kit does provide a weapons store of two AIM-9X Sidewinders and six AIM-120 missiles.
The rear stabilizers are movable via poly-cap attachments. Also included is a pilot figure with a choice of two helmets.
Construction started with the cockpit and seat; I painted it all black and dry-brushed to make details pop. The missile bays made things interesting. Almost all of the many small parts had ejector-pin stubs to cut off and clean up, and there were easily hundreds of those small bits. It took me more than eight hours.
With that out of the way, the kit started to fall together. An interesting feature is how interior braces hold the fuselage/main wing assembly together for a very rigid structure. With all that complexity plus full-length intake ducts, I expected fit issues – but everything fit perfectly! Only a bit of filler was needed on the very tip of the nose where the sprue had detached during shipping.
I sprayed all the bays Testors Model Master semigloss white before installing them; while the white was drying, I sprayed Xtracolor light grey (with a few drops of Mr. Metal Color chrome silver added) around the main gear bay to avoid having to mask against overspray after the bay was in place. I closed the missile doors to protect those bays.
The kit references Gunze paints. I used Xtracolor with a few drops of Mr. Metal Color silver and stainless steel to replicate the Raptor’s unusual sheen. The glossy paints negated the need for a clear coat before decaling. The decals went on well and settled perfectly with Mr. Mark Softer.
No dark washes were necessary for a brand-new, well-maintained aircraft; I finished with a coat of Testors flat clear. Then I attached the landing gear and wheels using the poly caps. (Not sure why Hasegawa did that; the parts are not removable.)
The finished model looks great despite some over-scale surface detail, and it really captures the Raptor’s essence. Detail, engineering, and ease of construction set it ahead of its Academy rival, but the many small parts and complex assemblies make it for advanced modelers. Still, with patience, they will be rewarded with an outstanding model of the F-22A Raptor.