X-35A JSF Demonstrator

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stevee671

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Unread post19 Jan 2014, 05:52

Back in 2007, I built the Panda F-35 JSF kit. At that time, it was the only 1/48 scale kit of any F-35. I jumped in and had a great time building it. It was so good that I took 3rd Place in the 1/48 Single Engine Jet category at the San Antonio contest back in February 2010. (I was pretty proud of myself, considering I wasn't going to take it.)
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At the time the production aircraft starting rolling off the assembly line and I painted it like the first F-35A - AA-01 (with some artistic license). I knew the Panda kit was closer to a prototype than it was to the production aircraft.
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Fast forward seven years...I picked up the X-35B USAF boxing of this kit (which should say X-35A USAF). I thought now would be a good time to build this kit as the demonstrator. I remember the kit being very well fitting and easy to put together. This seems to be no different.

I started doing research and pulling all the pictures I could find online of the demonstrator aircraft. Remember that "simple build" remark above...well, not so much. I don't know where Panda got their information to produce this kit. While this kit looks like the early JSF, there's a lot wrong. (BTW, the 1/72 Italeri X-35 kit is just as wrong as this one - it makes sense, since Panda scaled up the Italeri kit)

The kit is the X-35B with the Lift Fan doors, except with a straight engine nozzle. The "USMC" boxing does come with the 90 degree nozzle and the STOVL decal sheet.

After researching the aircraft and studying the kit here's what I have found...
*The entire bottom of the fuselage is wrong. The X-35 aircraft, X-35A/B and X-35C, have a smooth belly. This kit is pure conjecture. It possibly resembles the full scale mock-up.
*The vertical stabs are set too far inboard.
*The cockpit is purely fictional. The ejection seat isn't representative of the aircraft seat.
*The intakes are squared off at the bottom. They should have an angle going aft. (Look at the intakes on my earlier build above, they are unmodified)
*The exhaust nozzle is wrong. It should have smooth "turkey feathers".
*The gear doors are completely wrong for the demonstrator. They possibly copied the mock-up here.
*The nose landing gear should be an F-15 nose strut and wheel.
*The aft engine section should be straight where the exhaust nozzle is sticking out. None of the angles should be there. Once again, I suspect they referenced the mock-up.
*No air data probe for the nose radome.
*Various antennas, vents, inlets and exhausts are missing.

There's more...but I stop here. Most if this is easily corrected. The struggle is the aircraft belly. I think I am going to leave it as is. It would take a lot of Milliput to correct it, not to mention getting the contours right. Some things, I think are okay just as they are. Besides, once it's done, there will be no denying what it is whether I fix the belly or not.

In-progress pics...
Cockpit - I painted the cockpit and main instrument panel neutral gray. I picked out the details with flat black and flat red. Since this model will be in-flight, most will be hidden anyway due to the pilot figure. The ejection seat was cannibalized from the Tamiya 1/48 A-10 kit since it's incorrect for that kit. The pilot is a mix of Hasegawa pilot parts. The center pedestal of the MIP had to be narrowed to allow the pilot to fit.
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Bottom
The intakes should be modified and angled aft.
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Top
Some of the panel lines are wrong. Fill those in and re-scribe new ones. Also, various stiffener plates are missing as well. Vertical stabs were moved 2mm outboard.
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Overall
The air data probe was cannibalized from the 1/48 Academy F-111E kit and modified to match the aircraft.
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Exhaust
The exhaust nozzle should be smooth all the way around and not have the angles that are represented in the kit. These were filled in multiple times until smooth.
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Canopy and Cockpit
At the upper aft center line of the cockpit there is a tab sticking out and a notch cut into the frame. These shouldn't be here. The tab was removed by sanding it smooth. The canopy notch was filled in by gluing in a piece of styrene and sanded to match the contour of the frame. The canopy frame on the centerline, upper aft, needs to be corrected as it follows the contours of the notch. It was sanded to follow a straight canopy railing per the actual aircraft.
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stevee671

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Unread post19 Jan 2014, 05:53

Reworked some of the panel lines...since all of them are wrong. I did begin to re-scribe, but I wasn't happy with the results so I filled everything I did and sanded it smooth. I like this look much better.

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The actual aircraft has various intake scoops and exhausts. Minus the main engine exhaust nozzle, ALL of them are missing.

Here is the actual aircraft:
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I really don't know what that forward intake actually does, but it's gotta be there.

Here's my solution:

I used Evergreen square tubing cut down and thinned. The separator is was glued with CA and sanded to match.
(Sorry for the blurry pic)
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Placed on the model:
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stevee671

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Unread post20 Jan 2014, 03:14

Cockpit Aft Section

Actual aircraft
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Scratchbuilt aft canopy support
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Aft Fuselage - Engine section - Actual aircraft
Doubler strip
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Model
Added doubler strip
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stevee671

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Unread post21 Jan 2014, 04:57

Left Side
Added Exhaust vents
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Right Side
APU Exhaust deflector
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stevee671

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Unread post27 Jan 2014, 05:40

Worked on the exhaust nozzle...I may have to tone it down a bit...what do you think?

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stevee671

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Unread post30 Jan 2014, 04:24

Cockpit work...Ejection seat stuff...Scratchbuilt the mechanism

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stevee671

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Unread post31 Jan 2014, 05:05

Added scratch built antennas...

The real aircraft:
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Additions to the model:
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stevee671

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Unread post02 Feb 2014, 02:43

Speed/Dive Brakes

Aircraft:
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Model:
Milliput is your friend.
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Ruud

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Unread post25 Apr 2014, 21:52

Great work Steve. Thanks for posting!

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