Academy’s F-22 remains a simple build and an attractive model.
Paints: MRP, Alclad
Fit: 4/5 Decent, except for some isues around the intakes
Engineering: 3/5 The kit is simple. No particularly clever tricks, but no issues either
Detail: 4/5 Good, and thankfully no oversized RAM panels
Accuracy: 4/5 No obvious issues
I built one of these back in 2009, shortly after the kit was released. At the time I was very impressed, but then again it was my second 1/48 build and the first had been Academy’s old F-15E, so I wasn’t sure how accurate that impression was. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it fits reasonably well and has a decent amount of detail, without the excessive raised RAM panels that have plagued recent kits.
The only significant fit issue was around the intakes, which seem to be an area Academy always struggles with. The landing gear is solid, and the canted tails can be easily attached after painting, which is a relief as they need a bit of masking and could be hard to get into the corners.
The kit supplies its clear sprue in both transparent and smoky forms, which is a feature I appreciate, since it makes the tinted canopy easier to replicate. I haven’t gone for the gold effect, but that is not visible on all aircraft.
A large decal sheet provides marking options for a wide array of F-22 squadrons, and the decals themselves were nice.
The big bone of contention in F-22s is how to replicate the surface finish. After a few experiments I found that painting the camouflage with metallics (Alclad White Aluminium and Magnesium) looked nice for a fresh finish. I had very low energy and just needed to get something finished, so I went for a clean, freshly-painted aircraft.