Published on
June 15, 2021
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/72
MSRP
$38.50
Product / Stock #
AC-34SP
Company: Platz - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Platz - Website: Visit Site

The Northrop/Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft with an integrated sensor suite that provides global all-weather, day or night intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. The Global Hawk's mission is to provide a broad spectrum of information collection capability to support forces in peacetime and wartime. For example, USAF RQ-4’s from Yokota Airbase (AB), Japan, have been used for relief and recovery efforts after recent natural disasters in the region.

PLATZ Models of Japan has just re-released their 1/72nd scale RQ-4B kit (# AC-34) as a Special Edition (# AC-34SP) that includes new Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) markings for Yokota Airbase (AB), Japan. The JASDF has recently purchased RQ-4s and is awaiting delivery. These aircraft will have the Japanese livery as portrayed in this kit.

‘Thank you’ to PLATZ Models for providing this kit to IPMS for review.

In the Box

This is a well-engineered kit consisting of only 36 parts, on 5 sprues, molded in light gray. The finely detailed parts are without flash, push-pin marks or other molding process remnants. Recessed panel lines, access doors and fasteners are very clean and easy to see. The air data probes and antennae are very small but accurate and also nicely done.

The instructions are captured on a single, double-sided foldout sheet. The black & white instructions are written in Japanese with English translations of the RQ-4 aircraft and its mission and the color callouts for painting. There is also a double-sided foldout sheet with painting callouts and decal placement guide for the USAF versions and double-sided sheet with the decal placement for the JASDF version on one side and the low-visibility JASDF decal placement guide on the other.

There are two sheets of water-slide decals provided – US markings for two different aircraft and the new ‘Special’ sheet with high and low-visibility Japanese markings.

Construction/Finishing

With only 36 parts, this kit goes together very nicely and quickly. The sides of the fuselage were ever-so-slightly bowed inward just behind the wing area so spare bits of sprue were used to push the sides back out so they lined up better with the fuselage bottom. If you intend to display the RQ-4 on its landing gear, you need to be sure to add the 10 grams of weight to the nose called out in the instructions (the callout is easy to overlook).

A really nice feature of this kit is the way the wings attach to the fuselage. Even at 1/72nd scale, this aircraft has almost a 22 inch wing span but a relatively small fuselage at almost 8 inches. There is a plate with raised bumps that is installed inside the fuselage with a screw. Then, there are holes in the root of each wing that fit over those bumps when the wing is inserted into the fuselage (see photos). This hole/bump interface solidly holds the wings in place without glue but also allows for the removal of the wings if needed (like when you want to paint the top of the wings without masking or when you want to apply the decals). This turns out t be a really handy feature.

Painting is pretty straightforward – the whole aircraft is Gunship Gray with top surface of the wings and antennae in White and the two radome areas on either side of the nose in Dark Gray.

Decal placement is a little confusing so be sure to study the placement guides closely. The decals on the USAF decal sheet are numbered and the decals on the new JASDF decal sheet are labeled with letters. You’ll need to pay close attention to the decal placement guides because they refer to letters and numbers for the various aircraft you can build so you might need decals from both sheets. These decals are strong but very thin and sensitive to decal solvent, so you’ll want to make sure they are in place before using solvent or setting solution and use them sparingly.

Conclusions

This is a fun kit to build, and it could be completed in a weekend. I highly recommend this kit for modelers with a little more experience due to the size of the tiny antennae but a nice display model could be built by modelers of any experience level.

Thanks again to Platz Models for providing this kit for review. Thanks also to IPMS USA for giving me the opportunity to review it.

Additional RQ-4 Info:

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