In replicating this fifth-gen stealth fighter, I was aiming for: Smooth: nearly studless in form; Integrated: packing in a host of features; Fresh: incorporating new pieces and techniques …and of course, purist! (at least, for now; I may experiment with designing some Marine Corps liveries on waterslide decals for mere aesthetic decoration that denotes the squadron affiliation…)
The 1:40 scale replica includes: Opening cockpit that holds pilot, control panel, and joystick; Hidden weapon bays in fuselage for stealth missions; Optional exterior loadout for air-to-ground attacks; Retracting landing gear that supports the model; Opening flaps, rotating fan blades, and tilting vector nozzle for VTOL; Stable Technic display stand and brick-built name plaque.
This is the first MOC I’ve finished in about five years (during which I completed my university degree, got my full-time career job, moved out, got married, and a few other things), after working on it off-and-on for at least three years. [The real-life aircraft has suffered from its own extensive delays in design / production, so I guess it could be worse where my LEGO one is concerned. XD]
A big thank-you to everyone who has inspired me along the way, including special acknowledgements to AFOL friends like the Chiles family and Eli Willsea for helping rekindle my joy in the hobby; Brickmania, for showing me a few new hinge techniques that I incorporated during these last few months of the design process; and especially my lovely wife Natalie who has kindly allowed the dining room of our tiny apartment to serve as my building studio and encouraged me to use it more often as such!
Let me know what you guys think!
[More images on my Flickr]