RQ-4B Global Hawk
Platz, 1/72 scale
u m m a r y
||Platz kit number AC-4 - RQ-4B Global Hawk
|Contents and Media:
||36 parts in grey plastic; one metal screw; markings for four aircraft (plus bonus Taiwanese decals).
3,990 Yen (around USD$42.00) available online from Platz
and specialist retailers worldwide
||FirstLook and Full Construction
||First injection-moulded model of a Global Hawk; high quality moulding; crisply recessed surface details; delicate detail including engine fan and turbine exhaust; simple parts breakdown and assembly; excellent decals including stencil markings; generally good fit.
||Some minor fit issues.
||Platz has applied all the finesse of its 1/144 scale range to this brand new 1/72 scale Global Hawk. It is a surprisingly large model with a wing span measuring more than 50cm, but will be a fast build.
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The RQ-4 Global Hawk concept is a logical extension of the short-range unmanned RQ-1 Predator.
The Global Hawk is also unmanned, but is much larger, capable of high altitude, long distance flights. With an endurance of 32 hous and a cruise speed of 635km/h, this is an impressive machine.
Platz is the first model company to produce the RQ-4B as an injection moulded kit. Platz's 1/72 scale RQ-4B comprises just 36 parts in grey plastic, with one metal screw and markings for four aircraft.
Moulding quality fis first rate. The panel lines are recessed, crisp and beautifully restrained (although the port fusleage half detail on my sample is very slightly softer than the rest of the kit). Overlapping panels, such as the bottom rear fairing, are accurately depicted as slightly raised from the surrounding plastic. Don't sand these flat!
Detail is very good too, although with no cockpit it is limited to the engine with fan and turbine exhaust detail plus simple but well-rendered undercarriage legs and wheels. Tiny antennae are also provided for the fuselage and wings.
With only 36 parts, the kit breakdown is simple. The fuselage is supplied in left and right halves, plus a bottom "canoe" section. The long wings are each made up from a top half with integrated leading and trailing edges and an insert for the bottom.
Markings are called out for four aircraft - two USAF, one NASA and one Luftwaffe - but a set of Taiwanese roundels are also included on the decal sheet.
The decals are perfectly printed, glossy, in register and feature minimal carrier film.
The kit looked so good in the box that I wanted to build it straight away. At only 36 plastic pieces, I had no excuse to deay picking up the sprue cutter.
The first task was to add nose weight. There is absolutely no problem with finding sufficient space for weight inside the cavernous fuselage. Fishing weights were super-glued to the front of each fuselage half before the parts were assembled.
A square piece of plastic (Part B6) is screwed to a pedestal on the inside of the bottom fuselage. Take care to line this part up properly as it is critical later to the fit of the wings.
There are not many locating pins on the fuselage halves and the plastic is quite flexible, so I worked my way backwards, gluing and taping the parts as I went. The bottom "canoe" section needed a little persuasion with clamps, but the fit was good enough to do without any filler.
The fit around the tail is a bit tricky. Take your time and be prepared to fiddle with Part B4 to get it to click into place. I did end up with a bit of a gap between the top of B4 and the back of the engine nacelle, but this should be easily filled with a smear of Mr Surfacer.
The wings were easy to assemble but, once again, clamps were helpful to keep the long flexible parts in place while the glue dried.
The long wings click securely into slots in the fuselage sides. Two holes in each wing locating tab should mate up with the plastic part on the internal pedestal. On my model, the port wing fitted perfectly, but there was a gap of nearly 1mm between the wing and the fuselage on the starboard side. After I had glued the wing in place, I figured out that the tab must have been fouling against the top of the metal screw. If you have this problem, it will be easily fixed by shaving a couple of millimetres from the wing's locating tab, and trimming around the curved recess too.
The undercarriage and avionics were glued into place without any difficulty. I was concerned that the model might look a bit lop-sided due to the long wing span of this low-slung aircraft, but it is perfectly balanced on its undercarriage with no modifications required.
The relatively large size of the kit may be appreciated when it is sitting on its own landing gear. I placed a Fine Molds 1/72 scale Me 410 - not a small aircraft by any means - next to the Global Hawk.
The wing span of the RQ-4B is more than double that of the Hornisse, and the fuselage is longer too.
Platz has built an impressive track record over the last few years with its tiny, jewel-like 1/144 scale models. They have clearly drawn from this experience to deliver the delicate detail and subtle surface features seen on this new kit.
Platz's 1/72 scale RQ-4B Global Hawk is a lovely model, well detailed and fast to build. It took me only around two hours from picking up the sprue cutter to placing the model on its own undercarriage.
Of course, if you are actually going to paint yours, it might take a little longer!
Thanks to Platz for the sample
Review Text Copyright © 2010 by
Page Created 19 March, 2010
19 March, 2010
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