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Northrop Grumman
MQ-8C Fire Scout

Brengun, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number:

Brengun Kit No. BRS72021 - Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout

Scale:

1/72

Contents & Media

37 parts in grey resin; two brass rods with a resin jig; 2 x 3D printed parts; 45 photo-etched parts; markings for two subjects; instructions.

Price:

Euro 23.20 plus shipping available online from Brengun

 

£25.30 EU Price (£21.08 outside Europe) plus shipping available online from Hannants

Click here for currency converter.

Review Type:

First Look.

Advantages:

Interesting subject, well moulded and detailed with clear instructions and nice decals.

Disadvantages:

Superb casting, brilliant 3D detail in the rotor hub, clear instructions, neat decal sheet and PE enhancements, all presented in solid box.

Conclusions:

A most complete and interesting addition to the range of UAVs. A bit more complex than some of its larger cousins but not beyond the capabilities.


Reviewed by Graham Carter

 

Background

 

The M8-8C is a helicopter-based unmanned system designed to support intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); surface warfare; and mine countermeasures payloads for Littoral Combat Ships and other properly equipped aviation-capable ships. The Navy has procured 38 vehicles with no additional procurement planned. It was a development of the smaller MQ-8B with that unit’s avionics and surveillance systems mounted on the larger Bell 207 Long Ranger. However, it had some teething problems , witness this report in the US Defense Daily from 5th February 2020:

“The Defense Department’s top weapons tester said the Navy’s MQ-8C Fire Scout is “not operationally effective, not operationally suitable, and not cyber survivable” and the service established a “Tiger Team” to work on deficiencies.”

This programme bore fruit and in October last year the equipment was declared operational. It is fitted with larger fuel tanks and is able to carry air-to-ground missiles, and can stay in the air for 12-hours.

(Sources - instruction sheet and the US Defense Daily releases online.)

 

 

FirstLook

 

This 1/72 scale kit is one more of Brengun’s resin masterpieces and comes in a stout cardboard top opening box with a photo of a completed but unpainted model on the top and the title MQ-8C (Bell 407), despite the fact that the aircraft is produced by Northrop Grumman. It is a reference to the aircraft being based on the Bell 407.

The parts are packed in zip-lock bags and include 37 grey resin parts, slightly paler for the rotor blades, two 3D printed parts for the rotor head and two brass rods and a resin jig for folding up the skid supports, which should  give the undercarriage a bit more strength.

 

  • Brengun Kit No. BRS72021 - Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout Review by Graham Carter: Image
  • Brengun Kit No. BRS72021 - Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout Review by Graham Carter: Image
  • Brengun Kit No. BRS72021 - Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout Review by Graham Carter: Image
  • Brengun Kit No. BRS72021 - Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout Review by Graham Carter: Image
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In a separate bag is the decal sheet and a PE fret containing around 45 items.

 

 

All resin parts are attached to their casting blocks with very fine wafers which should be easy to remove and clean up, the exception being the fuselage which has solid rear attachment which will need to be cut off with a razor saw. As well, the underside wafer will need careful removal as it crosses a number of fine oval intake openings. As a solid piece of resin, the fuselage is quite heavy, hence the need for brass rod skid supports.

 

 

Instructions are on both sides of a folded A4 sheet and contain a brief outline of the craft, a parts map, six construction steps and a colour scheme and decal placement for the two choices, both NAVY craft in Ghost Gull Grey overall, broken by a splash of colour with the upper rotor blades in red and white. Certainly all the photos that I looked at show a very bland-looking craft, a befits its purpose.

As one has come to expect from Brengun, the casting is faultless and the smaller items are protected on their block by pillars of resin to reduce the chance of breakage. The 3D printed rotor head parts are amazing in their detail and open up the possibility of a line of this complex items to be produced as these components usually let helicopter kits down.

 

 

The instructions indicate the need to wash all parts before construction and to lightly sand the 3D parts to reduce the visible print layers, not that my aged eyes could see any!

 

 

There are a number of very fine rods in the sleeve with the rotor head, whose purpose I could not identify. The jig for the undercarriage supports has a groove running along it to take the brass wire - I would suggest using clamp to hold it in place when you do the folding to prevent a bow in the upper part. The modeller has to fashion a tail rotor axle from stretched sprue but everything else is provided. Being a UAV and all the transparencies painted over you don’t have to worry about an interior or transparencies - easy peasy!! The castings themselves are excellent with panels and intake all faithfully reproduced, not a bubble in sight.


 

Markings

The 70x65mm decal sheet contains stencils and markings for two craft off unknown ships.

 

 

Both are in the same scheme with low-vis national markings:

  • 168456/VX, and

  • 168455/NG

 

 

Conclusion

 

This is a most complete and interesting addition to the range of UAVs that seem to be taking over many of the roles of conventional aircraft in the modern armed forces.

It is a bit more complex than some of its larger cousins but not beyond the capabilities of anyone with a couple of resin kits under their belt.

Nice one Brengun

Thanks to Brengun for the review sample.


Review Text Copyright 2021 by Graham Carter
Images Copyright © 2021 by Brett Green
Page Created 21 September, 2021
Last updated 21 September, 2021

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