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Reviews : American : American post war Last Updated: Apr 21st, 2015 - 23:52:06

Boeing X-32 JSF. Italeri Kit 1208. 1/72nd
By Clarence Wentzel. IPMS USA
Apr 17, 2006, 02:26

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The Joint Strike Fighter, JSF, program is intended to provide an aircraft that will replace the existing F-16, F/A-18, Harrier and Jaguar aircraft in the 21st century.

The aircraft will utilize latest design and construction technologies to provide stealth capabilities, high maneuverability and increased range for both air-to-air and air-to-surface missions. The two main competitors were the X-35 from Lockheed and the X-32 from Boeing. The X-35 is a design similar to Lockheedís F-22 Raptor while the X-32 design is a much more unique and radical design.

It now appears that the Lockheed design has won the competition, however, I knew that I had to add the Boeing aircraft to my collection. It is so unique, some say ugly, with itís delta wing, protruding air intake and thick fuselage, that it really stands out from the normal models.

The Italeri kit assembled without any major problems although I made a minor change to the sequence. I glued the intake assembly, parts 6A and 7A, to the lower fuselage rather than the upper. I wanted to ensure a clean joint inside the air intake and felt that I could clean up any problems when the upper and lower fuselage joined. This worked out very well for me.

I chose to display the model with the armament bay open. This did not cause any major problems although there are a lot of doors in a small area around the starboard landing gear.

The cockpit is basic but I added some details that were shown on the Boeing web site. I used the kit ejection seat and added etched brass seat belts. The kit features nicely engraved panel lines that are similar to the prototype airplane but not exact. Real fanatics should fill all of the panel lines on the wing upper surface, add the air refueling probe door along side the cockpit, and change a number of the fuselage lines. Also, the engraving along the wing leading edge should be modified to reflect the wing slats. I figured that since this was a prototype, I ignored most of the panel line changes, especially the top of the wing.

Two excellent references on the X-32 are Airpower of May 2001 and International Air Power Review, issue one. The plane was painted overall F.S. 36375, Light Ghost Gray but showed lots of dirt and color changes as it completed itís test program. I painted the model overall with Testors 1728 Light Ghost Gray and then accentuated some panels and control surface edges with Testors 1741 Dark Ghost Gray. Panel lines, except for those on top of the wing, and control surfaces were accentuated with a mix of oil paints. Finally, I used streaks of Tamiya Smoke to simulate the oil and fluid streaking very visible on the bottom of the fuselage.

The decal sheet provides all of the markings that the prototype carried except for ejection seat warning triangles. These came from the spareís box. The modeler must use some actual photos of the prototype to determine the placement of the decals. Both the color drawing on the back of the box and the drawing in the plans are wrong. The prototype did not carry national insignia and both drawings show the JSF Program emblem too far toward the rear. The decals are correct but other references must be used to position them.

Outside of the panel line problems noted earlier, the twin rudders are way too narrow. They appear to be left over from an F-117 model. With this exception, the model looks like the prototype. The wingspan measures out correctly according to the information in the Air Power Review. I can live with the errors in the kit in order to add this unique, one of a kind model to my collection. I am pleased with the final result and would recommend this kit to anyone who can live with the shape problems or who like scratchbuilding some parts.

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