F-22 Raptor Claims First Civilian Casualty


In tackling another one of my New Year’s resolutions (remember those?), I have been trying to start, continue, or finish up some projects that have been on my to-do list for quite some time.  Therefore, I decided to take on the Metal Earth F-22 Raptor model.

Now, loathe as I am to become known as a procrastinator, I received this model at Christmas ……… in 2015.  So, better late than never, right?  That, ironically, was Lockheed Martin’s motto while developing the F-22.  Better late than never.

It sounds even better in Latin:   Potius sero quam numquam.

I have that embroidered on the back of a leather bomber jacket.  Tres cool.

Anyway, I decided the time had come to finally put this model together.  One doesn’t want to just rush into these things and I think that 13 months is a suitable amount of time to let a model such as this age.  Haste makes waste.  (Another of Lockheed Martin’s many mottos.)

The model came in the form of a 4.25 inch square sheet of steel that is about the same thickness as a razor blade.  Remember this fact, for it will come into play later.


The sheet is laser cut and etched to make the pieces “easy” to break off and to give the pieces the texture of the real aircraft.  The instructions were relatively easy to follow, but as with anything that is graphical only without any words on them, it can be a bit confusing in places.

Things went pretty smoothly at first as I assembled the big pieces.  It may not be entirely obvious from the pictures above, but the model is tiny.  Tiny enough to make my normal sized man hands look like they belong to a ham-fisted, sausage-fingered pugilist.  I consider myself fairly dexterous, but this model had me believing at times that my basic motor skills had decayed back to where they were shortly after I had emerged from the womb.  I found myself uttering at one point, “Mongo make model now!”while pounding on the desk top with my fists.

But in spite of that, I managed to get it all put together.  The last couple of steps were quite challenging because it involved lining up numerous tabs on sub-assemblies with slots in other sub-assemblies, and doing that with either the tabs or the slots being “blind” (i.e. not visible).  I’m an electrical engineer and I work with things that are quite tiny and so I have a nice collection of needle-nosed pliers and tweezers.  But even my finest tipped pair of pliers looked like I was coming at this thing with a giant pair of tree-trimming shears.  They were virtually useless.

Also, a word of caution.  As I mentioned before, the steel sheet is about the thickness of a razor blade and as you remove parts from the “tree”, it leaves some pretty sharp tipped pieces of steel.  I learned this the hard way when, in spite of being super cautious, I managed to insert a jagged point of the parts tree about a quarter inch into my thumb.  Luckily, my blood didn’t mar the polished surface of the model any.  And I am almost certain my tetanus shots are up to date.

Here is the finished model.  (Ruler for scale.)


Yes, I know it’s not great!  But at my age, with eyesight that wasn’t great at 17, let alone my current age, fingers that look like bowling pins next to the model, and an attention span  equal to the half life of fermium, you can see the project was doomed to mediocrity from the outset.

Still … I recommend it if you have a spare hour you’d like to idle away somehow (or a spare ounce or two of blood that needs “letting”).

Two thumbs up!  (One with a bandage on it.)







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