X-47B with GBU-27

Published on
May 1, 2014
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Platz - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Platz - Website: Visit Site

The Northrop Grumman X47-B is the demonstrator vehicle for the United States Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System or UCAS. It was developed from the X-47A Pegasus and will be developed into the X-47C UCLASS which will enter service by 2019

The Kit is from the manufacturer Platz, a Japanese Company, and is 1/72 scale. They have made other UAV’s including the Global Hawk. Don’t let this small scale deceive you though, this model is almost 11 inches across with the wings extended. The wings can be built in the extended or folded position with no cutting, something you don’t see on many kits. This boxing also adds two options for weapons, either the GBU-27 or GBU-32 JDAM. I chose to have the aircraft carry one of each.

The kit itself is molded in light grey with recessed panel lines and very faint rivet detail. It has 65 parts and an extensive decal sheet. The box is sturdy and has a nice glossy front. In fact it took me longer to decal the x-47 than it did to build it.

The build was very straight forward starting with the air intake. One word of warning is to make sure you paint the intake first with Gloss White and Neutral Gray, as it will be difficult to paint after you close up the fuselage halves. There was very little seam work that needed to be cleaned up, Platz did a great job of hiding them and only in one spot where a sprue gate was attached needed any cleanup. The second step is to add exhausts and intakes to the top of the fuselage. I held off on adding the jet exhaust port so that I could paint it separately from the aircraft. Once the part was painted with Alclad II Dark Aluminum I set it aside to dry and to attach at a later spot in the build. At this point the main body is pretty much done.

The next two steps are building the GBU’s and the landing gear. There are some seams that need to be cleaned up on the weapons but one is completely hidden on each when it’s in the weapons bay so test fit and see how much you actually need to do. One misstep that can happen here is that the paint and decal instructions aren’t mentioned in the bomb assembly. You need to flip the instructions over to see what colors and decals go on the bombs. Also the color call out is wrong. They tell you to use Testors or Mr. Color Light Ghost Gray but any photos of those types of weapons show olive or green drab with white accents on the GBU-32.

The last steps for the fuselage are to add gear and bay doors, and landing gear and fuselage antenna. My recommendation would be to paint all the doors, and fiddly bits separate and add them last after decaling. When you see where some of the decals need to go and how small they are, getting them in between the doors may be difficult, also the antenna are small and delicate and could easily be broken off. The last two steps are to build the outer wings. These can be positioned either down and locked or folded, also the airbrake on each wing can be positioned open or closed. I chose to go with down and locked with airbrakes open. The only sink marks I found were on the backs of the airbrakes. A little filler and they were gone, and once assembled you wouldn’t be able to see them, but better safe than sorry. This is another spot where Platz got the colors off just a bit. They call for Neutral Gray in the airbrake bays but in fact it should be Gloss White like the Wheel Wells and Weapons Bays. Once the wings are assembled and attached it’s time for final panting which is overall Neutral Gray. Masking is a bit tough since you have three wheel bays, two weapons bays, and a large air intake on top, but isn’t overly hard. I put two coats of Testors Model Master Neutral Gray on, waited twenty four hours, then did an overcoat of Testors Clear Gloss and then was ready for decaling. (If you decide to fold the wings I recommend keeping them separate until after the painting and decaling are done so you can work with them easier.)

Platz really went all out with the decal sheet. It is extremely well done overall. They give you all the decals for both test vehicles that currently exist along with decals for two future active squadron vehicles. I chose to use the test vehicle one decals as I had found a couple photos online of it during its carrier landing and takeoff trials. It took me three one hour sessions to decal the aircraft. Platz gives you separate walkway lines, placards, insignia, no step markings, numerals and anything else that might be on the real aircraft. I used some Testors Decal Set on the walk way stripes as there is a lot of backing material with some of them. You do have to be careful to see which stripes have no step markings and which ones do not, though you do have extra of the separate “no step” markings in case you lose them or make a mistake. I used Testors Solvent to get the decals to snug down into some crevices and once it was dry gave everything a once over with Testors Dullcoat to seal the decals and to give it that Matte look the real aircraft has.

This is a great kit and will look great on your shelf next to other UAV’s or modern US Navy aircraft. It’s a simple build and I would recommend it to anyone.

It has been my privilege to review this kit and I want to thank both Platz and IPMS for this opportunity.


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