F-35 Part 5 – Looks like a plane

Installing the fuselage sidewalls in front of the intakes was problematic.  They are slightly too small so I had to slide the part towards the rear and fill the gap at the front.  I used stock plastic to support it as well as adding a strip along to top to assist with the gaps.

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With these sidewalls in it was time to bring the top and bottom halves of the fuselage together.  I did this in a way that provided the tightest fit to the intakes.  Fortunately just by working from the nose and slowly cementing it backwards, it actually came together quite cleanly.  There are a few gaps to fill around the intakes still, but otherwise I was quite surprised at how cleanly it came together.

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Next I added the nose, wings and horizontal stabilizers. At first the nose seemed like it was a good fit, so I went ahead and glued it on. Once dry, I noticed that there were actually a few small gaps around it I was going to have to deal with.  For such a complex shape, the fit is actually still pretty good – I’ll put these gaps down to my failure to dry fit it properly first.

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The wings and horizontal stabilizers are a different story though.  Both have very visible seam lines that don’t exist on the real aircraft.  The wings are particularly bad, with a significant and unsightly seam.  I’m surprised Italeri didn’t mould the top fuselage and wings as one piece – much like the Academy 1/48 F-22.

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You can see the horrible join here clearly.  To remove it I filled it with Vallejo white putty, then wiped it back with Tamiya acrylic thinner on a cotton tip.  I then coated that with Mr Surfacer 500 and sanded it all back.  Its much better now but still needs some work.

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There was also a noticeable gap near the wing root when the flaps are installed:

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To fix this I cut a piece of plasticard to an approximate shape, glued it in and once dry i covered it in Mr Surfacer 500 and sanded it flat.

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I’ve got a few days of filling and sanding ahead, but its nice to finally see it start to look like an F-35.  It feels like its taken ages just to get to this point!

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