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Hasegawa 1/48 F-22 Raptor


Hasegawa 1/48 F-22 Raptor

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CODE: HAPT45
Retail Price: 74.99
Our Price: 50.99
You save: 24.00 
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Description
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Review

Superb new kit from Hasegawa of the F-22 Raptor. It features full intake ducting and the various weapons bays can be modelled open or closed as can the exhaust nozzles. The flaps can also be positioned up or down. Markings are included for the following aircraft:

  • "Hat in the Ring", 1st FW Commanders aircraft, 94th FS, 1st FW, USAF, 2009.
  • 192nd FW Commanders aircraft, Virginia ANG.
  • 302nd FS, USAF.
  • 49th FW Commanders aircraft, USAF.

A dedicated photo-etch set is also available for this kit.

Review by Mike Williams

The Raptor is America's newest and most technologically advanced fighter, and they are rightly proud of its superiority in many aspects of its task - that of air dominance, using low-observability (stealth, to you & I), and beyond visual range targeting amongst many other advanced features built into its airframe.

Prior to the Academy kit that was released last year (If memory serves), the only kit available in 1:48 scale was a rather simplified version from Italeri that bore more of a resemblance to the prototypes than the in-service airframe. In fairness to them though, it was a product of its time, so it should not be judged too harshly.

The new kit from Hasegawa has been eagerly awaited by many, as they felt that the Academy kit suffered from some deficiencies, most notably in the depiction of the compound curves around the aircraft's nose area.

On opening the large glossy top opening box, you are greeted by the two fuselage halves, and the first thing that strikes you (apart from the size) is the level of detail that is etched onto the surface of the airframe. There has been much discussion of whether this has been overdone on the internet forums, and having now seen both kits in the flesh, I feel that the ideal lies somewhere in the middle (doesn't it always?). I have heard the raised panels described as "appliqué armour", and this is a clever and fair description. Looking at the surface of the real thing, the surface is quite smooth, with these raised and recessed areas being very subtly rendered. Conversely, the Academy kit has a few too few of these curiously textured panels, so points to Hasegawa for the inclusion of these panels, but points taken away for their over prominence. Whether the application of paint would dilute this effect, only time will tell, but the argument will doubtless rage on ad infinitum. My solution would be to apply a good layer of primer, then use a fine sanding sponge to cut back the paint on the raised detail, repeating as necessary, but avoiding softening the edges as much as possible.

Moving on to the nose, it would appear that Hasegawa have done a better job than Academy. The curve begins further back and is less severe than its competitor, which would need some work with a sanding stick to compete, which would then involve reinstatement of the narrow strips on the radome.

Once these two parts are set aside, and do be careful with the underside part, as it is very flexible around the intakes due to the lack of plastic holding the two parts together (the same issue affects the Academy kit), you reveal five sprues of dark grey styrene, two sprues of clear parts, one of which is tinted grey, and two small packs of poly-caps. Also included in this boxing is a set of Detail-up parts, which is a small sheet of photo-etched parts designed to add additional detail to the exhaust nozzles. There is also an A4 color sheet of instructions on how to apply these to your model, with some hints & tips for the PE novice, which is a nice touch.

The exhaust nozzles are full depth on the Hasegawa kit, which is another place that it scores points over the Academy kit, which offers roughly half of that depth. The afterburner section is fully rendered, and the whole assembly is supported by a tressle-like arrangement of parts throughout its length.

The Photo-Etch parts will further enhance the exhaust nozzles beyond the finesse of styrene parts alone, and coupled with the detailed exhaust trunking, should make for a detailed back end, if you'll excuse the phrase.

The rendition of the prominent V-tails is crisp, but I'm struggling to see the diamond shaped fairing around the actuator on my references as not only do they appear a lot softer on the real thing, but also broken up by the camouflage pattern on the tail. This detail is quite noticeable on the kit, and Academy kit's parts have the same lump, but slightly larger, and I have it on authority that the Academy stabs scale out to be a foot short - some 6mm, which may or may not concern you. I suspect that they both need a little softening of the hinge bumps to represent the fairing better.

Moving on to the internal detail such as the gear bays, cockpit and weapons bays, the Hasegawa kit comes into its own, having much more detail and a higher parts count in all locations. If you're going to model the airframe closed up, this might not matter too much to you, but if you're going to have her with some or all of the bays open, there is much greater detail on show with the Hasegawa kit, even down to the bay doors, which have separate laminations that depict the grid-work of strengthening ribs. This allows you to get a super-smooth finish on the doors without ruining the detail, or causing sink marks - something that will be made harder on the Academy kit because of the one-part nature of the doors.

The cockpit is nicely detailed, which can sometimes be a failing of Hasegawa kits, and the Instrument Panel is moulded in relief to show all the MFD screens and associated tiny buttons. The ejector seat is a multi-part affair, consisting of 7 parts and 6 decals. There are no seatbelts depicted so the modeller will need to fabricate their own, or wait for aftermarket items... Or they could just bite the bullet and install the supplied pilot, who comes with both a traditionally helmeted head, or the "New Typy" (sic) helmet, which a lot of you will know by its catchy acronym JHMCS, although so far only the more traditional helmet (the HGU-55P) is the only one to have been used. To install the pilot however, you have to trim his knees down on the inside, to clear the consoles.

The interior of the canopy is blessed with good detail, with a full internal frame around the mating area, grab handles and alternative actuators for opened and closed poses. Careful gluing would be advised here though, preferably with a non-styrene solvent such as Epoxy, or G-S Hypo cement.

The landing gear jacks are complex, made up of multiple parts, but thankfully the main parts are sturdy looking, so should prove strong enough in use. The tyres are somewhat featureless and shiny, and do not adhere to the current vogue of adding a weighted flat-stop. A quick rub with a sanding stick will soon remedy that without making it look like someone let out all the air. Separate hubs front and rear on all wheels will please those of us that hate painting tyres.

The main weapons bay has some of the major plumbing as separate parts, and you are required to build up 6 weapons cradles of 4 parts each that extend to place the munitions clear of the airframe before deployment, although there doesn't seem to be provision for showing any extended. Similarly, there is no facility for showing the Sidewinders deployed in the air-to-air bays.

The air-to-air bays on either shoulder of the airframe are similarly detailed with lumps and bumps, with a missile rail running down the length of each one. Here you'll need to remember that the Raptor isn't yet cleared for the AIM-9X yet, so any current ships will not have these onboard, even though two are included in the kit - you'll need to source a pair of AIM-9L or Ms for accuracy. Another 6 AIM-120C AMRAAM missiles fill the main weapons bay if you feel like installing them, and you'll also need to find a pair of 600 gal ferry tanks and matching pylons if you feel like depicting a less aggressive loadout, as none are supplied with the kit.

Further down the line, 1,000lb J-DAMs and 250lb SDBs will also be an option, but again, not as yet.

As is usual with the more conservative modern schemes, the majority of the decals provided on the extensive sheet are applicable to most airframes, with only the tail codes and various sundry decals specific to certain machines. From this sheet, you can model one of the following aircraft:

  • "Hat in the ring" 1st FW Commander's aircraft 94 FS 1st FW USAF 2009
  • 192nd FW Commander's Aircraft Virginia ANG
  • 192nd FW Commander's Aircraft Virginia ANG
  • 302nd FS Captain's Aircraft USAF
  • 49 FW Commander's Aircraft USAF



The differences are noted in scrap diagrams of the tail, inside the nose gear covers and on the canopy sills.

Painting an airframe with the new radar absorbent material applied to the Raptor is going to be a difficult feat to achieve, as the colors vary depending on the viewing angle and ambient light conditions. The paint call-outs in Gunze Aqueous Hobby Colors isn't going to help matters in the UK, as they're not widely available. From some angles the paint has a metallic sheen that can be tricky to replicate.

We understand that Hawkeye Hobbies are in the final stages of concocting a set of paints specifically designed for these modern finishes, which they are hoping to have ready by May 2010. We'll try and get more information on these paints, so watch this space.

Conclusion

In terms of shape and detail, the Hasegawa kit has the edge... if you can live with or reduce the over-pronounced detail of the fuselage. Watch the caveats with the weapons if you're going for an accurate in-service machine, and get digging for some AIM-9Ls. It will build up into a great reproduction of a sleek and deadly fighter, with no obvious issues for the novice modeller.

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