X-47B Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) - U.S. Navy
The X-47B is an experimental Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle the US Navy is testing from its aircraft carriers for suitability as a remotely controlled attack aircraft. Apparently, UCAVs are going to be a large part of the future of US military flying.
This kit from Platz was described in one of the paper publications as requiring twice as long to paint as it did to build and twice as long as that to decal. I find myself in total agreement with that assessment. The kit consists of approximately 56 parts in a light grey plastic. The parts tree is sensibly laid out and the instructions include a parts map showing all the relevant parts.
The kit gives options to build the kit with the wings folded or not and with the ‘spoilerons’ in each wing deployed or not. You also have the option to build and install two 1000 pound JDAMs in the bomb bays, if you wish. You can build the kit with the wheels up and the bomb bays closed, but you’d have to do a bit of trimming on the doors for the associated openings. I chose to build the model with one wing folded to show the potential look, but installed both spoilerons closed. They required the only filler I used on the kit (just a tiny bit), though, considering the fit of everything else on the kit, that may have been down to me trimming the parts too much. The fit of all the parts is very positive, with the intake and the exhaust parts practically snapping into place. A word of warning, I would suggest you paint the deepest part of the intake black or whatever color you choose to represent the depth of the inlet and mask it before painting the rest of the intake area white. Then, glue the two parts together and fill the resultant very minor seams with thick white paint. The reason for this is the hump that is in the middle of the intake that makes it difficult to paint the back part after assembly.
You’re going to get tired of hearing this, but the wing fold mechanism pieces just snapped into place. In fact, the fit was so good, I was tempted to just leave it without gluing.
The paint job is simplicity itself, with color callouts in the instructions for the exterior and interior colors. I painted all the inside parts white, then masked and painted the exterior parts. Then came the time consuming part of this build. The decaling is pretty involved. Lots of lines outlining the upper surface of this one. Lots of ‘No Step’ markings. I found it safest to actually mark off each individual decal on the instruction sheet as I applied it to ensure I didn’t miss any. You’ll probably be tempted to skip a few but it really makes the model to have them all there. I wound up using the markings for one of the spurious operational markings. The decals went on well and responded to decal setting solutions in the few places extra help was needed. After a minimal wash, the kit was finished.
I enjoyed building this kit. It makes a model that is larger than you’d expect a UCAV to be. It’s much larger than the MQ-1B I have in my display case, even with the one wing folded. The list price is a bit high, but the fit of the kit won’t disappoint you. It can be found a good bit cheaper at some of the on-line retailers and at some of your favorite brick and mortar stores. Highly recommended.
My thanks to Platz and Dragon Models USA for supplying the model and to IMPS/USA for the opportunity to build it.