Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining. Finally having a 1/32 F-35 is certainly a treat. But for a kit released in 2017, costing as much as it does, and coming from one of the largest kit manufacturers in the world, I expected better.
First though, I finished detailing one of the weapons bays. Most of it will likely be hidden behind ordnance, but I think it was worth the effort.
I used Tamiya’s panel line wash to bring out most of the detail, then just used a fine paint brush and black paint to bring out the rest. Mr Metal Color aluminium was used to highlight brackets and anything else that needed a metal finish.
The only problem with detailing the weapons bays to this extent is that I’m also going to have to detail the landing gear bays – otherwise they’re going to look bare.
While I was test fitting the weapons bays and intakes I noticed sink marks on the side/bottom of the intake openings. Something else I needed to fix.
They weren’t a big deal – I masked them off, filled them with Mr Surfacer 500 and sanded them flat. Thankfully there is no other detail in the area like rivets or panel lines which would have made this more of a chore.
My next frustration came from Italeri’s infuriating positioning of the various mould release tabs.
That is the outer exhaust shroud – 5 tabs, inside, that will need to be cleaned up. These ones actually don’t look too hard to remove. However the inside exhaust shroud was a different story.
Eight internal tabs on this one, with some of them on the groves and some of them IN the grooves.
Cleaning these up is quite difficult, especially when trying not to destroy the surrounding detail. I eventually got there using a very small chisel, but it was a headache that could have been avoided.
Starting on the cockpit, the lack of detail is really bothering me. Reference photos show the cockpit far less cluttered that previous fighters, but it still feels too sparse. Certainly there is missing detail from the top of the front display (where a HUD would usually be) that could have been added for this scale. I’ll have to add that.
I started by putting the seat together. The detail here actually isn’t too bad. Once the photo-etch belts are added it should look good. I might need to add a little detail to the top of the seat but that’s it. I primed everything in light great before moving onto painting.
Now of course, when I went to put the decal on for the main display, it didn’t fit. it was too large, so I had to use Micro Sol to get it to settle in as much as possible, then trim the excess with a sharp knife.
Whist I can say that it settled down nicely with Micro Sol, this is poor. This decal is the focal point of the cockpit and Italeri didn’t even bother to make sure that it fit properly.
Test fitting the cockpit tub in place and without the seat it really does look bare. Even with all the problems I’ve run into so far, I’ll still build another one of these, but I’ll definitely be getting a resin cockpit for it. For this kit I think I’m going to keep the canopy closed.