Tamiya 1:48 F-117A Nighthawk 85-0813 416th TFS, 37th TFW(P)

The Story

Although already having the distinction of being the first operational stealth fighter, the F-117A would garner more publicity and fame for its role in the 1991 Gulf War. If you were watching the news footage on the first night of the war you will not forget the image of the dense Iraqi AAA firing into the night sky over Baghdad. Having to penetrate the air defense over Baghdad were F-117A fighters striking various strategic targets with pinpoint accuracy. Amazingly, time after time, Stealth Fighters would strike their targets and return home unscathed by Iraqi defenses. Although only representing 2.5% of allied aircraft in the war, Stealth Fighters struck more than 40% of all strategic targets. The war validated beyond doubt that stealth technology worked.

The Kit

I have had two other 1:48 models of the F-117A by different manufacturers; neither of those two kits were of my satisfaction. My third F-117A kit purchase would be the Tamiya kit. In my opinion it is the best one in the market. For this build I used the Black Box cockpit; otherwise the rest of the kit is out-of-the-box. The kit is easy and quick to assemble; the step which required the most time was filling the appropriate panel lines on the kit. The real plane had Radar Absorbent Material (RAM) spread into panel lines. Therefore the panel lines on the Tamiya kit need to be filled. The challenge for this build was to give it a convincing paint job. Black paint straight out of the bottle is too dark. I decided to spray the model with Tamiya Black and Tamiya Gunship Gray mixed together. After spraying Future on and applying the decals, I gave the model a wash with Model Master Gunship Gray. Then I applied the final flat coat. This process gave the model the worn look I desired. Currently, the only decal sheet representing Desert Storm aircraft is the one Cutting Edge offered. Being it is not readily available and I didn't want to pay high eBay prices, I just used the kit decals. My model depicts F-117A 85-0813 "The Toxic Avenger", 416th TFS, 37th TFW(P). Bomb graffiti decals are from Gekko Graphics.