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The F-22 Raptor is an introductory-level Metal Earth model with just seven pieces on one sheet of metal. All of the instructions fit in one picture. A shrunken-down picture of the instructions is provided here so you can see what you're getting into. The Raptor is arguably the best fighter jet in the world today.
Each Metal Earth model is laser etched in meticulous detail on one, two, or three 11 cm (4.33") metal sheets. Pop out the pieces by hand (or use wire cutters to get especially crisp lines), bend the tabs using needle-nose pliers, and fit them together as shown in the simple pictorial instructions. Metal Earth models are a little less challenging than our 3D wooden puzzles, but you do need some patience and dexterity because they're also much smaller. For maximum dramatic effect, display your model on the LED Display Base or the Solar Spinner (sold separately, see below).
Please note that Metal Earth models have sharp edges and are not suitable for children under 14.
Are you curious...?
Lockheed Martin builds most of the F-22, with major input from Boeing. The USAF's single-seat, all-weather, stealth tactical aircraft was designed mainly for air superiority, but is also quite good at ground attack and electronic warfare. The Air Force says that the Raptor is unmatched at air combat by any existing or planned fighter in the world. Because of its high cost and absence of actual enemies (as well as some concerns about reliability and a ban on exports), F-22 production ended in 2012 after only 187 operational aircraft were built. It's being replaced by the less expensive F-35 (calling it "cheaper" would be a stretch, and we could do several paragraphs on the F-35's issues). Military procurement being an arcane art, the cost of the F-22 is hard to pin down, but is somewhere in the ballpark of $200 million per plane. For comparison, the US government estimates that the F-35 will ultimately cost about $75 million apiece. If you think that's a bargain, our model is an absolute steal at six bucks!
So far, the F-22 has never performed its primary function of shooting down another airplane. In 2014 Raptors started flying combat sorties against the Islamic State in Syria. Although they've dropped some guided bombs, their main role has been intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaisance.
In case you're on the market for a new plane, you might like to know that the Raptor can fly at 1,500 mph (2,410 kph) with a range of 1,600 nautical miles and a ceiling of 65,000 ft (20,000 m).