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Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk – Italeri 1/48

Next up is this Italeri re-pop of Testor's old F-117A. This kit's boxing provided decals for a Ghost Grey version of the Nighthawk that has been often seen about in the jet's official post-retirement age. I initially thought that it would be cool to do a grey Nighthawk, but with the option to do a number of famous "hero" a/c, I decided that my should also be black, therefore I chose "Mad Max", flown by Lt Col. Ralph Getchell. The key visual differences between each of the aircraft are their bomb-bay art work. This, of course is the same as nose-art, only tucked away to the inside of the bomb bay doors, away from radar's prying eyes.

The kit itself built up quick, but not without trouble. Fit issues and slightly distorted airframe pieces made it difficult to get wholly satisfactory results. To top this, the kit's cockpit lacks any real detail (the seat and IP are OK), and the aircraft control surfaces are molded into a neutral position (unlike the pricier Tamiya kit). The landing gear is fairly well reproduced, however the bomb bay is (again) not nearly as detailed as the Tamiya offering, lacking the drop cradle for the bombs. Also, the bombs are GBU-10s, which according to reference material is not the correct payload for this a/c (GBU-27's would be more appropriate). Regardless, they cannot be seen unless the aircraft is turned over, and thus, they work just fine for display. Lastly, the kit's canopy provides the glass with orange tint, however each pane is it's own piece, and when set into the canopy frame (which I accidentally broke twice), they do not fit well without modification. Overall the canopy construction and painting was a very contentious part of the build and the results of it are still not satisfactory in my eyes.

For paint I mostly used a variety of blacks... Some Grey Black, Nato Black, Black, and (surprisingly?) a mix of USN Sea Blue in some now forgotten ratio. I did pre & post shade a little bit, and overall used Future to seal the black paint before decals. Unfortunately, I didn't apply enough, and the rough texture of my paint reared its head, causing many of the decals to silver (...precisely what you don't want to happen on a black airplane, right?!).

Regardless, I present it complete despite it being sub-par work on a sub-par kit.

I still hope you like!

13 additional images. Click to enlarge.


14 responses

  1. Another great build, Andrew.
    Very nice detailing.
    To me this is much much better than sub-par.

  2. Still such a cool looking aircraft. I've got one lined up and as I've never seen one in real life, was surprised at how big it is in 1/48 scale. Great result

  3. Looking great, Andrew! I love the looks of the Nighthawk and your excellent build captures its looks amazingly.

  4. Black was the right choice - it's a more ominous tone for the stealthy attacker! Looks great.

  5. Hey Andrew - this is really well done - I've heard this is a tough kit. You paintwork is really good across your builds, Its a black plane but you've given it so much tonal variation and interest. Really skilled.

  6. A fine job, looks great!

  7. Neat subject & great job on the kit! These birds sort of disappeared after Desert Storm, but always seemed to force the next leap up in technology.

    Been meaning to ask after seeing your vintage HM tank badge avatar, do you own an old Honda?

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