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Hasegawa 1/72 F-35A Lightning II - fast simple build!

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Hi friends,

I'm coming off of a 2 year battle with the Trumpeter 1/350 USS Lassen with a bunch of photo-etch so am looking for a fast and easy out-of-box build.

I have chosen the F-35A Lightning II by Hasegawa. It looks great on the sprue so hopefully I can do a decent job whilst just enjoying throwing it together.


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Painted the inside of the intakes white and glued them together then stuck them in the lower fuselage half.

The plastic of this kit is very high quality and hard.

There are some ejector pin marks in the intake (which I didn't fill) but it's such a snaking intake that I doubt they will be very visible.


The intake assembly joins the fuselage in what I thought would be a disastrous seam, but this kit is so high quality the fit between parts is fantastic with minimal work.

You can dry fit whole sections and they just sit happily together with no glue.


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Things are rolling along nicely and the two fuselage halves are now glued together.

My favourite aspect of modelling is the appreciation you get of an aircrafts shape from building a model of it.

The biggest surprise I have seen in the F-35 is the nicely curved wing, it really demonstrates the jump between aircraft that were designed in the 60s/70s compared to those designed nowadays.

I was also impressed at the apparent dihedral on the horizontal tails.

Here is a link to the real aircraft for comparison, I was initially worried my model had warped.


And here is my model viewed from behind.


I accidentally mistook the fan for the turbine and painted both incorrectly. I should paid closer attention to the instructions as I now have a burnt iron fan and a titanium silver turbine. The fan is impossible to see but the turbine disc will need a repaint.

The instructions say to install the exhaust nozzle before joining the fuselage halves but as I wanted to be able to paint it separately I left it off. Luckily you can easily fit it later, I was worried the aft fuse section would be to small to allow that.


You get extra gear doors to model them closed/inflight which is how I am building this one. These are perfect and only required minor sanding, mostly on the aft edges of the nose gear doors, to drop into place.

Before you glue the halves together the instructions direct you to open up some holes from the inside so that parts E4, E5 and E11 can be installed later on.

I chose not to do this as I think these might be those bolt on parts that increase a stealth aircrafts radar signature to allow Air Traffic Controllers to see it. I'm going to ask a friend at another forum who is a F-35 crew chief so hopefully I'm right.

Here's a pic of the upper two E11s if anyone wants to have a guess at what they might be and if they're optional:


Thanks for the kind feedback too, I was waiting for someone to review this kit before I built it, it's exciting to be one of the first ;)

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Thanks guys, am probably just going with the kit supplied decals just to keep it OOB.

I got a reply about the bumps and they are indeed "Luneberg lense RCS enhancers" or radar reflectors that would not be fitted to combat ready aircraft.

Here is what my F-35 friend posted:

"We call them AME's and they are in fact radar reflectors as to what Milli posted. We normally fly with them on, but on certain missions we take them off. If you want the model in peace time, I would leave them on. But if your doing a combat aircraft before a mission, leave them off."

Here's the pic I was linked to:


So yeah, the instructions don't indicate that drilling the holes or glueing the RCS bumps on appear to be optional. I don't want to fit them so am glad I didn't back drill the holes.

Edited by tomcat21
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Here are pretty much all the parts and decals that make up the cockpit, this should be easy!

The canopy is a smoke tinted one (kit supplies a clear as well) so it should be hard to see the cockpit well, hence I won't be going to much trouble here.


This lazy build is just what the doctor ordered for my modelling enthusiasm. I'm having a lot of fun with this kit.

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Hi Aggressor, thanks for the info.

A F-35 crew chief answered the question for us-

"We call them AME's and they are in fact radar reflectors as to what Milli posted. We normally fly with them on, but on certain missions we take them off. If you want the model in peace time, I would leave them on. But if your doing a combat aircraft before a mission, leave them off."

Hi Paolo, the kit supplies a decal to replicate the metal cord you speak of in the canopy. I will try it out and see how it looks.

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Finally I am on night shift so my photos will be in natural light. I'm just using an iphone 5 to take the photos so sorry they aren't as professional as others on here.

Here's the canopy assembly with the two-piece framework installed.

From reading another forum the bow is necessary for bird strike requirements. The fine metal cord is a detonation cord I believe because the seat goes through the canopy. As mentioned earlier there is a decal for this that looks OK on the sheet but am not sure if I will attempt it.


Here is a photo of the 2-piece instrument panel with it's decal installed and a coat of future. The seat is four pieces and looks OK with some tiny danger decals.

There are two console decals that look fine for me because they are under the pilots arms. The parts for the cockpit are fun to assemble and look pretty good with minimal work, I'm still adding bits of detail as I go as because the canopy is so big you can see inside the cockpit fairly easily.


Edited by tomcat21
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Cockpits all together, some photos using sunlight. I tried to get a gold tint on the pilots visor like the real helmets. It's not too bad looking indoors, from a distance, with the canopy on.


The main instrument panel looks neat. This must be a great jet to sit in, the cockpit looks very interesting.

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Thanks mate much appreciated.

Slapped some filler here and there, sanded and painted a base coat. The instructions say FS36270 is the lighter grey colour which Testors Model Master calls Neutral Grey.




The main colour is a weird metallic grey which looks different in every photo I've seen. I've got a deletion of the Citadel paints that have been recommended for the F-22 sheen so I will experiment and see how close I can get.

The masking up is the most tedious part so far..


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There are joins mid-way on the bottom of the elevons and inner fin surfaces that are significant, hence the large amounts of putty in those areas.

It's a race against time because I want to put it in a model competition at the end of the week, purely so people can see how nice a kit it is.

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Ok, time for the special metallic sheen color!

I invested in some Citadel acrylics that have been recommended by a few folk for the F-22 paint sheen. So here goes the experiment of on the fly mixing to try and guess it right. First a coat of straight "Leadbelcher" metallic:


Now with a dollop of "Dawnstone" and Abbadon Black. There's two different mixes in this pic, I went too dark and had to lighten back a bit.


Finally got a color time I was happy with. At times it looked a bit flaky and I found you had to do a good wet coat to make it look good:


Tamiya X-22 clear gloss went over the top with masking removed. This makes it looks darker than it's will be.

The decals for all the serrated panels are quite dark and I want them to stand out a bit.


Next step Decals! My final coats with have a slight grey/silver sheen if I can manage it. I think the colors will lighten up and look pretty good. Fingers crossed!!

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