Hello, this is my first aircraft build that I’m posting here on the new forums.
Where do I begin with this tale? Well, I bought it on clearance at the PX on our base when I was on deployment overseas in 2005. I never built it there, so I shipped it home to build at a later date. It is boxed as a F-35A JSF. Fast forward 2005, and I am now live no near Luke AFB and see F-35s flying overhead nearly every day, so I am inspired to build this. I open up the kit, start doing research, and see that this it is not a F-35 as it says on the box, but is instead a X-35. Or at least it is closer to a X-35A than to a F-35A. The basic airframe lines are the X-35, although it is missing several prominent features. And it has multiple F-35A features added like weapons bays and under fuselage contours. The wheel wells and doors are something of a cross between highly inaccurate and fictitious. But hey, I got it for cheap, and I wasn’t gonna let it defeat me or throw it away. So I modified the cockpit, creating a proper instrument panel, modifying the kit ejection seat to resemble the seat actually used in the aircraft, and added some of the missing detail to the otherwise large empty shelf behind the seat. I sealed up the weapons bays, as the X-35 did not have those, added the APU exhaust to the fuselage right side, and modified the kit afterburner nozzle from the F-35 multi faceted style petals to the more standard type used on the X-35. I also took an instrumentation boom from another kit in my stash, and modified it to the configuration seen on the X-35A during flight test at Edwards. I also modified the kit canopy to appear like the two piece side opening canopy of the X-35, rather than the single piece item that comes in this kit.
I did not modify the wheel wells or landing gear doors as aside from the nose well, that would have been a major surgery. As would have been correcting the fuselage underside profile. In the end, I have something that looks mostly like a X-35A, aside from the lower fuselage.
Thanks for looking, comments and critiques are welcome.