Italeri 1/72 X-35






One aircraft


Scott Van Aken




Currently, there are two aircraft involved in a fly-off to garner the next multi-billion dollar aircraft contract. Those are the Boeing X-32 and the Lockheed X-35. These two corporate giants have basically gobbled up all of the other aircraft companies and are the only two really viable aerospace companies left. Sure, Northrop-Grumman still exists, but without any contracts, it won't be long before those are also gone. It is a pretty sad state of affairs, but something that is all the more common nowadays and happening everywhere. With fewer alternatives, the world is becoming more and more homogenized. I would bet that in the next 100 years, we will be pretty close to a world society with only minor distinctions and quaint local customs to give us any cultural differentiation. Well enough of the 'Nostradamus effect' !

The X-35 is Lockheed's answer to the Joint Strike Fighter. Unlike the rather tubby X-32, the X-35 is more along the lines of a 'normal' aircraft. As with the X-32 the X-35 is being built as a regular aircraft, a carrier based plane and a STOVL/VTOL aircraft. These are all being done by the same airframe in the X-35's case; modifying it as the needs change. Actually, both aircraft have been able to meet the requirements. In truth I would think that with Lockheed getting the F-22 Raptor that Boeing will be given the JSF contract. It seems as if politics and keeping people employed mean as much as the actual capabilities of the aircraft. It also has a lot to do with whichever company can offer the plane at the cheapest unit price. Like everything the government buys; from pencils to the Space Shuttle; it is determined by the lowest bidder!



Like the X-32 kit, there really isn't much to the X-35. The major portion of the airframe is already molded and all you have to do is stick on the outside bits and pieces. It makes for a fast build. Also like the X-32, the X-35 kit is based on a plane that never really flew. Italeri used the most up-to-date specs when it started the modeling process, but these things take time and the final plane was altered by the time it really flew. Most of us wouldn't spot the differences, but a close inspection of the kit and the real plane with show you the differences.

Unlike the X-32 there are no weapons provided. The kit can also only be built as the STOVL/VTOL version and also only in the VTOL arrangement. The exhaust pipe is molded in the down position with no capabilities to have it be displayed in the horizontal. That is a bit of a disappointment to me as I think it looks ugly in that mode. You also get the doors for the separate vertical lift engine, both the intake and exhaust. You can build the kit with these doors closed should you desire. If you really want the kit in the 'normal' flight mode, you could probably do some surgery to alter the main exhaust and close up those doors, but it would take some work and probably quite a bit of filler.

What would have been nice would have been the opportunity to build any of the different versions, but that isn't the case. The kit itself is everything we have come to expect from Italeri. Detailing is actually very good and construction seems pretty straightforward. You get a rather insipid set of decals for the kit, but the real plane isn't exactly colorful. I would recommend using photos of the real plane to do your paint job. The X-32 kit proved to be off quite a bit so the research should help.

As down as this review sounds, I do appreciate that Italeri has gone through all the trouble to make and market these kits. The changes required to to an up-to-date plane are not insurmountable and any modeler with an average ability should be able to do the conversions without too much trauma. If you are doing a selection of X-planes you now have a couple that don't need to resort to resin or vacuform to complete!

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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