1/72 scale models
 

Italeri was the first company in the world to release a scale model of the YF-23. Considering the lack of information at the time, it was not a bad effort. It was not up to the standard of Hasegawa, it did not have recessed panel lines, but nevertheless it was a start. The tooling actually depicted PAV-1 only; no separate parts were included for PAV-2's distinctive trough and shroud. The decals included markings for PAV-2 nevertheless, but they were pretty basic and not comprehensive enough to do a good job. The kit was then picked up by Testors (nos 657 and 0191) as they had an existing relationship with Italeri. Revell then reissued this tooling some years later (no 4326), followed by Tamiya. It is dimensionally accurate, but will need some refinement to make an accurate model. The really frustrating thing was that none of the decal sheets that came with any release were accurate nor complete. Each one was either missing something or was printed in the wrong colour or shape. Caracal Models have now remedied that problem with a new decal sheet dedicated to the YF-23.

I have now set up a petition at the official Revell site requesting a new tool of the YF-23 ATF in 1/72. If you would like this to happen, cast your vote.

Dragon also released a kit of the YF-23 which was a different tooling, but it had some serious contour innaccuracies and is not worth bothering with. It should be considered as no more than a toy. A picture of the Dragon tooling is included here so that the modeller can learn the difference between the two.

There has only ever been one desktop display model of the YF-23 commercially released in 1/72 scale. I have no idea who makes it or where it comes from. It just seems to be a generic model from China that turns up on the internet from time to time.

 

Italeri tooling.
 

In late October 2013, Caracal Models announced the release of a brand new decal sheet for the YF-23 prototypes. This sheet was produced as a result of a direct request and was developed in conjunction with this site's consultation. The new sheet is very detailed and has everything required to make authentic models of PAV-1 and PAV-2. It is available in 1/72 scale, as 72016. It was released in December 2013. It is generally very accurate but there are some minor discrepencies. The red chosen for the TAC badges and the black widow underbelly marking is too dark and was a compromise between the brown required for the P&W logo eagle and the bright red needed for those other markings. The black ECS vent just behind the canopy is not correct and should have been treated a different way, as it is a perforation, not pure black. The intake boundary layer panels are nicely done, but the grey portion should have been left off as the real thing is copper coloured in this area. Some laser cut paint masks would have been better. The blue used for the AFFTC badges and stripes is slightly too light but is a good match in hue. The red caution lines for the underbelly vents should have radiussed inner borders.The blue used for the center of the P&W logos is slightly too pale but this is nitpicking. Everything else is precisely correct. The greys used for the national insignia are spot on. This decal sheet is a huge step forward from what was previously on offer.

 

 

This section deals with how to make the Italeri kit more accurate. The most serious and most difficult flaw to rectify is a slight longitudinal twist along the whole fuselage. It is present in every single pressing due to the design of the assymetric sprue gates. This problem is not immediately apparent but very annoying once spotted. This problem can be rectified by cutting out the forward fuselage, bending the wings to the correct alignment, and then re-attaching the front fuselage at the correct angle again. A daunting task, but the only other way to correct it is to make a special jig for the upper and lower halves separately, then apply a concentrated heat source with great care to force the plastic to the correct alignment. The next step is to re-align the tail empennage, which droops. Cut off as shown in the pics, then re-attach with a slight angle upwards. A new trough floor needs to be installed, and if one is modelling PAV-2, a new trough and shroud must be made. Next the upper fuselage contours need some modification. The weapons bay should be completely replaced with a scratch built item, as should the wheel wells. The next modification is the most obvious and the easiest of all to accomplish. It involves cutting back the intake lips to align with the wing leading edges. A new intake boundary layer ramp needs to be installed at the correct angle of incline. Consult the walkaround section to see exactly how this looks. The area between the intakes and the weapons bay needs to be re-contoured to a smoother shape. A vacform canopy would complete the project. If all this is done, a very fine model will result... not as good as Hasegawa or Tamiya could do, but certainly alot better than is presently the case.

 

The model on the left is the original tooling. The one on the right has had the intakes cut back and the weapons bay doors modified. If you do nothing else, make the intake lip modification, as it is the easiest and makes a huge difference to the look of the model.

Last updated January 2015.

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