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  1. Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Starter Set (A55010) 1:72 Airfix The F-35, previously known as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is an American led multi-national effort to bring a fifth-generation multi-role aircraft to several Allied nations, whilst spreading the cost of development between them. The Lockheed X-35 won the JSF contest over the peculiar-looking 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 on terra firma, the B, which is destined to be the successor to the Harrier, or AV-8B as it is known in the US with V/STOVL capabilities, and finally the C model, which is the carrier-based cat & trap variant. The F-35B is the most complex of the three variants, as it has an additional lift fan installed behind the pilot, which is powered from a shaft linked to the engine. There was, and likely always be a great deal of negative speculation about the validity of the additional dead weight that is carried around after the take-off phase of flight, when the aircraft has transferred to horizontal flight and the fan is essentially redundant until landing. This is likely informed partly by the almost universal love for the Harrier, and the lack of success of the interesting but ungainly Yak-38 Forger, which is the only other production aircraft to use such a technique to achieve hover, as well as the comparatively low fuel load that can be carried as a result. It can't have helped that the British AND Americans hold the name Lightning in high regard due to the success of the BAC Lightning of the 60s and the WWII P-38 Lightning, respectively. As well as all the latest avionics and weapons systems, the F-35 is also a low-observable airframe, more commonly known as stealthy, 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. The engine has a flexible nozzle that is used in the Short Take-off Vertical Landing (STOVL) process, when it is directed downward to support the rear of the airframe while the lift fan supports the forward section. In horizontal flight, the flexible nozzle is used to vector thrust, enhancing manoeuvrability in much the same manner as the F-22. The first of the F-35Bs arrived with the RAF in July of 2012 for evaluation, with further deliveries resulting in a total strength of thirty aircraft, with three remaining in the US for initial pilot training. One airframe has already been lost in 2021 as a result of an accident, bring down the total available for operational use to twenty-six. These aircraft are significantly more expensive than originally planned, and successive changes to the order have come and gone, giving the builders of the two new aircraft carriers on which they are carried some sleepless nights throughout the construction process. The intention is to increase strength to 74, with an option of expanding the total purchase back up to the original 138 at some point, but that could change at any moment due to the vagaries of the political landscape, regardless of who holds the purse-strings. The moaning and complaining about the looks and functionality of the aircraft is bound to continue ad nauseam, and when (if) it comes time to replace them with something else many years down the line, probably with an aircraft that doesn’t have a pilot, the moaning will change to wishing they could keep the Lightning. Was it ever thus? The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Airfix in 1:72, and has been launched in three boxings initially - with, and without additional aircraft that are linked to it in some way over the years. This starter set arrives in a red-themed box with a large header that lends itself to vertical display, and shows pictures of the six included paints, glue and brushes that come with it, although the paint colours are more generic and colourful than those in the box. There are four sprues and two separate fuselage halves, with a return to ‘ye olden days’ for the sprues, which have no protective runners around the edges. That’s not a criticism, just an observation, although eager hands are perhaps a little more likely to knock parts from the sprues when delving into the box. There’s a single clear canopy in a separate bag, a small decal sheet and the instruction booklet, which is in the new style with colour throughout, although the profiles can be found on the back of the box for a change. Gluing locations are shown in yellow throughout the instruction steps, and the moulding over-flow chambers or ‘pips’ are marked out in green to help the novice, who may not have encountered them before. It is a starter set, after all. Detail is good throughout, with just a few light sink-marks present on the flying surfaces of the wings where the surface is double-thickness to achieve a sharp trailing edge. A few moments of work with some filler and sanding sticks should see those off before you start building. Construction begins with completion of the lower fuselage, adding the nose on a large tongue to achieve a strong bond between the two parts. Three bulkheads are then installed behind the cockpit, mid-way and at the rear of the main fuselage, the latter having a depiction of the rear of the engine face, after which you can bring the two fuselage halves together, taking care to test-fit, as the wings may need some fettling to ensure they fit flush. A quick test indicated that the ejector-pin marks on the inner face of the wings might be the cause of possible issues, so forewarned is forearmed. The cockpit is moulded into the upper fuselage, as are the three gear bays, but don’t let that put you off, as the detail is excellent for the scale. The flat instrument panel in the cockpit is adorned with a decal, and the ejection seat is inserted into the rear of the ‘pit. The seat is a little simplified for the purists, and there is a pilot figure included on the sprues, which should improve the look if you decide to use it. The twin fins slot into sockets in the tail outriggers that completes the main airframe, so perhaps a little flying round with a ‘NEEEEOWWWWM!’ would be appropriate about now. There is a custom stand included in this kit, and it forms the shape of a simplified 3D shadow of the airframe, and comes with two uprights, one for gear-up horizontal flight, the other for gear down hovering, both of which come with instructions on which steps to follow and which to ignore. For straight-and-level flight a two-part exhaust trunk is made up from halves and has the exhaust ring glued to the end, fixing it in turn to the rear bulkhead over the circular engine face. The two doors over the engine are a single part to glue over the underside of the engine, adding the main, nose gear and lift-fan doors under the nose, plus lift fan and intake doors behind the cockpit on the top-side. The pilot and canopy are then fitted, installing the canopy without glue and finishing off with the longer upstand to plug into the base. There’s painting and decaling of course, but the model is finished for in-flight operation. For hovering, an angled trunk is made from two halves, adding the exhaust ring to it before gluing it in place under the rear, and splitting the doors in half before installing them in the open position. The nose gear and lift exhaust bays are added in the open position under the nose, fitting the nose gear leg with integral wheel into the bay, and applying the main bay doors in advance of the legs, which have separate wheels to add, and several moulding overflow pips to remove as you go. On top, the intake and lift-fan doors are fitted in the open position, the lift-fan door a single part that opens at the rear, guiding air into the intake as it slows to a halt. The pilot and canopy are fixed in the same manner as before, the canopy without glue on a couple of pegs moulded into the part. You have the choice of displaying your model on its wheels, or using the shorter stand to plug into the base to simulate hovering. Markings There is a single decal option on the rear of the box, No.617 Squadron RAF, embarked on HMS Queen Elizabeth (Carrier Strike Group 21) in 2021. In case you didn’t know, that’s the Dambuster squadron, who were first to operate the F-35 when it arrived in the UK. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. All except the instrument panel decal are in low-viz grey, and the IP has a clear background to avoid tricky paint matching with the rest of the interior. Conclusion A simple model with a low parts count of 42 that belies the detail included therein, which would permit a novice, an expert or anyone in-between to create a creditable replica of the UK’s latest carrier-borne fighter that even has a real-life carrier or two to lift-off from when away from home shores. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Welcome to the Helicopter, Autogyro and STOVL GB. Duration: Saturday 27 June to Sunday 18 Oct 2020 Host: @JOCKNEY Co-Host: @Col. So all the usual rules apply but the most important one is to have fun and enjoy your own build and encourage everyone else with theirs, so the rules cover the usual points: 1) The subject of your chosen model has to be either a helicopter, an autogyro or a STOVL Aircraft. 2) The model kit and any aftermarket components can be of any scale or build material, additional GB points for Vacform and Scratch building. 3) All models must be less than 25% complete at the start of the build. If in doubt, please ask the GB hosts, we are very flexible as we want to see as many completed builds as possible. 4) All builds must have a WIP thread showing progress, models cannot go into the gallery unless there is a build thread for them. If you are building two or more similar models or there is a strong link between the subjects, then they may be combined in the same thread, or separately if you prefer. 5) No buying/wanted or selling in the GB please. Please use the buying and selling section in Britmodeller for this 6) There may be a poll to vote for your favourite build in the Gallery at the end of the GB. You do not have to put your competed build in the gallery or take part in the poll if you don't want to. 7) Please be polite and constructive with your comments to member’s build. I would encourage everyone to support others builds, lots a humour, and advice is the order of the day. Please do not leave comments in the Gallery thread but rather put them in the relevant subject thread. With so many different subjects to choose from this should be a really special GB. Good luck everyone Cheers Pat & Col
  3. Not sure if this is the right section of the forum, but here goes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Credible_Sport Wow!
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