F-35B is the successor of the Mighty Harrier. That should speak enough by itself. Since Harrier is legend by all means, it is expected that F-35B will be worthy substitute, especially considering its price and constant delays of serial production. That is why it is rather strange that decent kit of F-35B in the 48th and 32nd scale is still not available on the market. Even though F-35B already flies in some countries.
Many of you would argue, that Kitty Hawk was a good enough kit of the F-35B. But it wasn’t and it never will be. In 48th scale those RAM panels with their bulky look were far from reality, where in fact F-35 has barely visible surface details. It is understandable when that happens in 72nd scale or smaller, because there realism is substituted with some exaggeration effects for more attractive results. But in quarter and larger scales being closer to reality is the most important goal.
That is why when Italeri announced their 1/32 F-35A couple years back it was a warmly welcomed news and even though not perfect, the kit appeared to be stunning. That led to the conclusion that Italian model maker will hit even harder with F-35B soon, which so far hasn’t happened.
Actually, the same thing and hopes happened with MENG Model, who produced the best /so far/ F-35A in 48th scale. Their kit is great and it is deifnitely comparable with 32nd scale Italeri. But why not the B version? What is the hold up?!
Well, 2021 came with couple of unexpected release news of new toolings, among which was another F-35B from Italeri. Unfortunately for some and luckily for others, this will be a quarter scale kit. And in 48th scale, F-35B will be a very good platform for scratch modeling, variations of displays, aftermarket add-ons and more.
Besides, Tamiya will most likely re-pack and release their own version of the F-35B for more than one reason. One is that Japan will have F-35B in their inventory and it would be ridiculous not to please J.A.S.D.F. fans with a kit of the B. Another is the fact that Italeri and Tamiya are re-packing their models on a constant basis and although not everything, some of the important stuff is being released by both companies.
About quality, the latter one speaks quite a lot. Tamiya are on the top of the food chain in the modeling business and if they trust Italeri, so should you. They will cover a huge chunk of the market as well. Since Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Italy, UK and US will use F-35B, that sounds promising for both Tamiya and Italeri.
There is still no clear information about the contents of the upcoming Italeri F-35B in 48th scale, but there are high hopes about its qualities and the options included. With that said though, it is somewhat disappointing for large scale plane community that there is still no F-35B on the market in 32nd scale, even though that was the anticipated move on behalf of the Italian model maker.
That might mean two things: either they won’t give that to us ever /at least in the near future/, or that they will cover the whole line. Latter one is the option we hope for. Since Italeri released a good representation of the F-35B in 72nd scale recently and now they are scaling up to 48th, well, what’s left?
Maybe later this year or in 2022, we will finally get to see 32nd scale of the Lightning. Or maybe this 48th scale release will be so good that it will suffice. We are about to see soon. Fingers are crossed.