RQ-7B Shadow UAV

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Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
BRS 72011
Company: Brengun - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

Wikipedia strikes again!: The AAI RQ-7 Shadow is an American unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used by the United States Army, Australian Army, and Swedish Army for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, and battle damage assessment.

Launched from a trailer-mounted pneumatic catapult, it is recovered with the aid of arresting gear similar to jets on an aircraft carrier. Its gimbal-mounted, digitally stabilized, liquid nitrogen-cooled electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) camera relays video in real time via a C-band line-of-sight-data link to the ground control station (GCS).

The RQ-7 Shadow is the result of a continued US Army search for an effective battlefield UAV after the cancellation of the Alliant RQ-6 Outsider aircraft. AAI Corporation followed up their RQ-2 Pioneer with the Shadow 200, a similar, more refined UAV. In late 1999, the army selected the Shadow 200 to fill the tactical UAS requirement, re-designating it the RQ-7.

Army requirements specified a UAV that used an aviation gasoline engine, could carry an electro-optic/infrared imaging sensor turret, and had a minimum range of 31 miles with four-hour, on-station endurance. The Shadow RQ-7B offered at least twice that range, powered by a 38 hp rotary engine. The specifications also dictated that UAV would be able to land in an athletic field.

Brengun's RQ-7B Shadow starts with the rather simple task of removing the various bits from the resin casting blocks. Everything you need to complete the model is included except for the tail booms. Just scrounge around in you stash for some .80mm diameter rod, cut to the appropriate length (22mm) and all is said and done. All of this information is provided in the excellent assembly instructions.

The next decision you get to make is which style of fixed landing gear to use. Brengun provides resin landing gears(strut and wheel) or you can opt a photo-etched version, with photo-etched landing gear strut and a separate resin wheel/tire. I almost ways leave those kind of decisions to whether or not I screw up removing the resin part from the casting sprue. But at first glance, using both the photo-etched landing gear strut with separate wheel/tire looks to be a bit easier.

You also have the option of using either a resin or a PE propeller. If you go with the PE type, don't forget to twist the blades just a hair to get the proper dihedral. [Technical Note: 'Just a hair' is an expression that means not too much but just a little.] After getting past these difficult decisions all that's left of the building process is to add some photo-etch detail bits (aileron actuators, etc.) to the underside of the wing and to the tail plane.

From a cursory glance, on the interweb, most RQ-7B Shadows are either gray or some other shade of gray but mostly gray. Which is not to say that you can't let your imagination run wild. Perhaps a desert scheme or even a European style splinter camo paint job. Brengun's provides a painting guide that has the main aircraft in gray with dark gray splotches on the upper wing. I did my dark gray splotches with artist pastels.

Brengun has also thoughtfully included a small decal sheet with markings for four separate aircraft and warning stencils. I'd like to add that those decals are first rate and go down 'smoooth'. [Technical Note: 'Smoooth' is an purloined expression that means nicely and without any muss or fuss.]

At first glance Brengun's RQ-7B Shadow looked to be a daunting if not a diminutive build. The diminutive part is still true but I was pleasantly surprise by the ease with which everything went together and with the level of detail. With just the addition of one or two extra bits (tail booms) everything you need to complete this 'beast' is included in the box, with some building options (PE landing struts/individual tires) thrown in for good measure.

Brengun's RQ-7B Shadow UAV kit provides a neat model with lots of detail. And when completed, will require a minimal amount of space to display.

The Shadow Knows...

My thanks to Brengun and IPMS/USA for the review copy.

P.S. The figure is not included. Shown only to provide scale.


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