by: Darren Baker [ ]
The F-35 A is intended to be the cutting edge fighter of the near future and is intended to serve with Air Forces other than the USA only, even the British are looking at having some in their inventory. The F-35A is the conventional take off and landing variant of the F-35 B, The F-35 B is classed as being on active service, but I believe a few issues have arisen that need to be fixed, Lets hope that it will be soon or the British will have an aircraft carrier with no aircraft. The F-35 A is in its final testing stages before going live with its end users. The HUD or head up display has been replaced with HMD or helmet mounted display and so allowing the pilot to be fed data as needed regardless of where he is looking, rather than when looking straight ahead which is the case HUD.
This offering from Hasagawa of the F-35 A in 1/72nd scale is supplied in a card tray with separate card lid. The contents are packaged in a small number of plastic bags that seems to have done a good job of preventing any damage to the parts. The contents break down as follows;
5 grey sprues
3 clear sprues
A decal sheet
A fold out set of instructions
I am rather impressed with the moulding quality on this model as even the ejector pin marks are all but invisible when possible. The plastic is very glossy and so may not want to accept paint until it has had a wash. All told this looks promising so far.
The instructions would have you believe that this model is complete in just eight stages, but there are a lot of sub-assemblies that boost that count by quite a bit. The cockpit of the model is very basic, but lets be honest that is not exactly a surprise, after all access is not exactly open to all comers. Hasagawa has however supplied quite a nice pilot to fill the hole, it is supplied with separate arms and head, the detail I find quite pleasing for 1/72nd scale and it will at least make the area pleasing to look at.
Hasagawa has supplied nice deep intake tunnels and a reasonably deep exhaust, I again suspect that most of this is best guess, but it should look the part. The fuselage, wings and tail mouldings are only two pieces and so should be an easy task to mate cleanly. The panel lines look to be a close reproduction of online images, these are also recessed and should look quite good when finished.
The undercarriage is acceptable to my eye, the wheels for the rear undercarriage are even sided. The addition of some wiring down the legs of the undercarriage will lift the area a tad. Of course the option is also there to have the undercarriage doors closed if preferred, the choice is yours.
The canopy is rather nice for this model, Hasagawa has provided the option of a clear or smoked canopy and even supplied additional framing for it. The option of having the canopy open or closed is offered, but from what I can see I strongly suggest it remain closed. Hasagawa has also supplied a multi positional stand in clear plastic for the model and this is one model I would consider using it with.
Hasagawa has provided two finishing options for the model, which are;
USAF 53rd WG 53 TEG 422 TES Green Bats
USAF 33rd FW CO
The decals are well printed and have no obvious issues I can see or feel. The thickness of them is acceptable and should snuggle down nicely with your favourite decal treatment.
I am of the opinion that this model is for the most part best guess and good use of photographic reference, that said I like it, it looks right and at this point in time that is what really matters. Construction seems straight forward and parts fit looks good.