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  1. Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II OrangeHobby 1:72 - Orange Model Series The F-35, otherwise known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is an American led multi-national effort to bring a fifth generation multi-role aircraft to a number of Allied nations, whilst spreading the cost of development between them. The Lockheed X-35 won the JSF contest over the Boeing X-32, and development went ahead, culminating in its first flight at the end of 2006. There are three variants of the F-35, the A, which is a conventional aircraft designed to take off and land on made-up airfields, the B, which is to be the successor to the Harrier, or AV-8B as it is known in the US, and finally the C model, which is the carrier based cat & trap variant. The F-35C is the traditional carrier-borne variant, which has a number of differences to make it resilient enough to work from a carrier at sea, including strengthened landing gear for those hard landings, larger wings and tail planes for greater control at landing speeds, folding wings; and of course a big hook at the rear for trapping-on, which was subject to a little controversy when it had to be hastily re-designed. Twin nose wheels are also a feature not seen on the other models. As well as all of the latest avionics and weapons systems, the JSF is also a low-observable airframe, more commonly known as stealth, and has two internal bays that can be used to carry munitions, as well as six external hard-points for when stealth is not the primary mission focus. It also exhibits the same style blended fuselage and wings as the F-22 Raptor, with semi-blended engine intakes and heavily canted twin-tails, although it sports only one engine compared to the Raptor's two. As with a lot of new aircraft projects the F-35C has suffered its fair share of problems, the only difference is they seem to have been "made available" to the press more easily by its detractors. These have included software issues, the fact that the engine s too heavy to be carried to the carrier by the traditional replenishment systems, and the engine generates more heat than any other one currently in use. Destitute these setbacks VF-101 received its first F-35C back in 2013, and VX-23 completed a 2 week sea deployment in November 2014. The Kit The kit arrives on five sprues of dark grey plastic, one sprue for the aircraft tow tractor, a small clear sprue, a small PE Fret and two small decal sheets. The main fuselage is split top/bottom. The detail consists of raised detail in the most part with some fine engraved lines, and heavier ones for the control surfaces. Some of the sprue gates for the larger parts are quite heavy and they will need careful removal. The immediate noticeable point for the kit is the Radar Absorbent Material (or RAM) is moulded in relief on the kit. There has been some criticism of this, however it is one way of doing this, and it is how Orange Hobby have chosen to mould this. Construction shockingly enough starts with the cockpit area. The main instrument panel is placed into the top fuselage half, the instrument panel itself is supplied as a decal. Once this is in place the side controller and throttle are added to the cockpit tub. The seat is made up from 3 parts with the addition of a set of PE seat belts, it looks to be a fair representation of the F-35 seat in this scale. Once made up the seat can be added to the cockpit tub, and this placed in the upper fuselage half. Construction then moves to the lower fuselage half which looks short on structure due to all the openings its has. The one piece front wheel well is the first part to be put in place, this is then followed by the two main weapons bays which are again one piece each. The main wheel wells are two part affairs, and once they are constructed they are also added to the lower fuselage. Each side intake is also constructed and added to the lower fuselage at this time. The intakes curve in and have no ends. Now in reality you should not be able to see the engine from the front of the intake so you will not here, though it might be an idea to blank them off to stop any light issues. The exhaust is also constructed and added at this time. Once all the parts are in, the two half's of the fuselage and be closed up. Once the fuselage is closed up the next are of construction to be tackled is the landing gear. The front gear consists of a two part leg, to which two single part wheels are attached. This slots into two good mounting points in the front gear bay. The rear legs are again two mart, each with a single wheel to attach. These again have good locating pins in the main gear wells. The next major construction step is to attach all of the gear doors, and weapons bay doors to the underside. All of the doors have separate and prominent retraction mechanisms which first must be attached to the doors. It is suspected most modellers will leave the doors and undercarriage off until after the model is painted. The tail planes and vertical tails are added next. All are one part mouldings so you just have to clean the parts up and then attach them with no additional construction. The outer main wings are also added at this stage. As befits a carrier aircraft these fold. The modeller can place them in either the folded or open position. There is a cover for the wing fold hinge which had tabs moulded for the folded position. These will need to be removed for open wings. The last items to be used which will finish the model are to attach the wing pylons and weapons to be used. Two AMMRAMs and two Sidewinder AIM-9X are provided along with a centreline 25mm Gun Pod. The canopy can be attached in the closed or open position. If leaving it open then a separate hinge part is provided for this. The last sprue in the box is not for the aircraft at all. It provides the deck tractor used to move the F-35 around. This hooks onto the nose wheel and has a small seat for the operator. The cart is constructed with a mixture of plastic and PE parts and will provide a good diorama accessory if you want to pose the aircraft on a flight deck. A final item provided in PE is a set of 4 tie down chains if the modeller wishes to use them. Canopy The canopy on the real aircraft is Tinted (in all likely hood with some coating to preserve the low Radar observability aspects of the aircraft) and this has been represented by a tinting of the model canopy. This is not too dark and should not interfere with seeing the cockpit if the modeller closes the canopy. The canopy is clear and features the moulded in canopy det cord as seen on the real aircraft. Decals Decals are provided for three aircraft. CF-03 Test Aircraft CF-05 Test Aircraft 168733 Which was the First Production Aircraft in the markings of VF-101, the Red Sqn markings and Full colour National Insignia add a little bit of colour to an otherwise grey aircraft. The decals are glossy, in register and have very minimal carrier film. It is noticeable that the slime lights are not on the decal sheet. Instructions Overall the instructions are in the range of what I would call "OK". The diagrams are hard to follow in some parts. The decal diagrams are missing some decals, and the painting instructions are next to useless. There are no colour call outs except "dark gray" and there is no differentiation on the painting instructions to show which areas are the light grey and which the dark. I suspect this is because they would like the modeller to buy the separately available laser cut masks for the model. Either way I would have thought a correct painting guide would be a must. Conclusion This is another unexpected release from Orangehobby. It is great to see aircraft like the F-35C like this one becoming available in 1/72. The issue of the raised RAM areas is pretty much like Marmite, some will like it and others will hate it. Either way that's how the kit is moulded and there is no changing it now. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of Orange Hobby.com
  2. Lockheed Martin F-35CLightning II OrangeHobby 1:350 The largest of the three F-35 variants, the F-35C carrier variant features larger wings with folding wingtip sections, larger wing and tail control surfaces for improved low-speed control, stronger landing gear for the stresses of carrier arrested landings, a twin-wheel nose gear, and a stronger tailhook for use with carrier arrestor cables when compared with the F-35A. The larger wing area allows for decreased landing speed while increasing both range and payload. The United States Navy intends to buy 480 F-35Cs to replace the F/A-18A, B, C, and D Hornets and complement the Super Hornet fleet. On 27th June 2007, the F-35C completed its Air System Critical Design Review (CDR), allowing the production of the first two functional prototypes. The C variant was expected to be available beginning in 2014. The first F-35C was rolled out on 29th July 2009. The United States Marine Corps will also purchase 80 F-35Cs, enough for five squadrons, for use with navy carrier air wings in a joint service agreement signed on 14th March 2011. A recent 2014 document stated that the USMC will also have 4 squadrons of F-35Cs with 10 aircraft per squadron for the Marine Corps' contribution to U.S. Navy carrier air wings. On 3rd November 2014, an F-35C of VX-23, one of the Navy's flight test units, made its first landing on an aircraft carrier when it recovered aboard USS Nimitz; this started a 2 week deployment of a pair of aircraft for the initial at sea Development Testing I or DTI, the first of three at sea tests planned for the F-35C. The initial deployment was completed on November 14th. The Model This two aircraft set comes in a pair of poly bags which are stapled to a blue card header. The first poly bag contains the two fuselages complete with wings and horizontal tail surfaces attached, whilst the second bag contains two sprues of resin parts, a small etched brass sheet and a very small decal sheet. The detail on the aircraft is surprisingly good for this scale, with very fine panel lines particularly around the upper midships section. The mouldings are very clean and will require just the minimum of cleanup once they've been removed from the sprues. Each aircraft has separate outer wing panels which can be posed in either folded or extended positions, with the use of etched parts used to hold the panel when folded. The vertical tail surfaces are also separate and are glued into the slots provided which should prevent the need for any filler. The main and nose undercarriage are provided as individual resin parts, again with a nice positive mating area, and the detail is finished off with the addition of PE undercarriage doors for all three bays. Decals The tiny decal sheet only contains the US national insignia for the wings, in either hi or low vis which has been seen on the prototypes, although the nose insignia are missing and will need to be sourced from another set. Conclusion These are excellent little kits and will look great when mixed with other aircraft on the flightdeck of a Nimitz class carrier. If you’re intending to produce a model with a full squadron on, then not only will you need to buy a lot more sets you will also need to source some more decals, hopefully someone will release full squadron colours for them soon. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of Orange Hobby.com
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