RQ-7B Shadow Drone
The RQ-7 Shadow is a UAV used by the US Army and Marine Corps for surveying the battlefield for damage assessment and just about anything else. It is made to be compact and portable. It is launched by a pneumatic track and recovered with arresting gear similar to what’s used onboard aircraft carriers. Academy has offered a great diorama of this UAV. I could call it a kit but it comes with a base, two choices of pneumatic launchers, and two complete figures, so the term diorama is accurate. Also included are two sheets of decals – one with markings for the UAV and the second with digital camouflage for the figures.
Assembly is a snap in that the entire UAV is 27 pieces. I needed a little filler around the sides of the fuselage, but that’s it. Be careful of the two tail booms! They are petite and accurate but very thin and can be bent or broken. Attaching the v-shaped tail gives some strength. I did leave the wheels off for ease of painting. The engine was built separately and contains almost a third of the total kit parts, and is a good representation of the 38HP Wankel engine that powers the full-size UAV.
I assembled the figures next and there were no issues. The base has a center hole in it for the launchers but I wanted to use the figures and one of the two is actually using his hands to guide the UAV, so I filled the hole with plastic rod and putty and rough-sanded to replicate the cast texture of the concrete base. With that done, time to paint.
The UAV has a simple paint scheme, overall gray FS36270 with spots of Gray FS36320, and I used Xtracolor. The engine and wheels were painted separately. The part under the main fuselage is black, but even though the color is not called out, the instructions do show it – part A11. The painted kit was then set aside to dry. The base was painted concrete with weathering in varying colors of black to light gray and highlights in the seams.
The figures were gloss-coated and then the decals applied in pieces with Solvaset used to get them to snuggle. It worked perfectly and gives a nice representation of the digital camouflage used now. I used washes and pastels to shade them and show definition in the uniforms. I painted the faces (at least that's what I am calling it) with Andrea paint.
The decals were applied to the UAV, followed by a quick wash and a flat coat, and I assembled the parts. No issues or problems were found.
This is a great kit of a subject pretty much ignored so far. If you are a fan of UAV's, you need to get it! If you want a great weekend build, this is your kit of choice. The price and fit are excellent and you can do so many things with it. Very highly recommended.
My thanks to MRC for the kit and IPMS/USA for the chance to review it.