Unicraft resin kit
RQ-4A Global Hawk
Unmanned surveillance aircraft
Kit No. ?. 1:72nd scale
Back to the topJuly 2003
September. 27. 2003 : This model won a first place in Resin Aircraft Category
in the competition held at the Regional I.P.M.S Convention at Ogden, UTAH.
It also collected a special award for the best UAV in the show.
The Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle (UAV), designated RQ-4A, is one of the primer intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance collection aircraft of the Iraq war. Capable of long endurance missions at 60,000 feet or above, it provides extended coverage, near-real-time multi-sensor support to the theater commander and his deployed forces. The Hawk is a relatively large aircraft with a 116 foot wingspan, 44 feet in length, 26,000 pound take-off weight, capable of 30 hour missions with a 3,000 nautical mile range.
The Kit:The Unicraft kit comes packaged in sturdy top opening box with full color photos of the early Hawks. It consists of 18 parts on 3 sprues, two vertically separated fuselage halves, two one-piece wings, a small decal sheet and 3 pages of instructions/illustrations. For shipping, the wings were secured to a wooden splint to protect the thin edges and shape, a very considerate touch. I was concerned about the long, thin wing castings but they are strong and did not droop when added to the fuselage. There was no damage to the parts in the box and just a few pin holes in the resin. The price is $50, plus shipping.
Construction:There was some “flash” as normally associated with resin kits, all easily removed. I do recommend sanding the mating surfaces of the fuselage halves flat on a sheet of wet and dry sandpaper, similar to preparation for a vacform kit. This gives a good bonding surface for the super glue joint.
Before joining the fuselage, I did add nose weight as a precaution against tail setting, although it may not have been necessary. I also added a plastic card “top” to the nose gear well to provide an anchor point for the gear strut. I thoroughly washed all the kit parts in soapy water to remove the residue from the molding process.
Typical of most resin kits, the wing and stabilizer joints to the fuselage are simple “butt joints.” For added strength, I drilled holes in all mating surfaces and superglued small diameter brass rod as locating pins and support to reinforce the glued joint. I did the same with the landing gear struts where they joined the wings and fuselage.
My kit did suffer with a misalignment of the interior of the engine inlet area causing a prominent joint in an awkward area. This could easily have been overcome with an engine inlet cover, but I wanted to show the engine face, so chose to do the sanding and filling. I did add a tailpipe from the spares box, rather than struggle with the joint in that area. I also added an antenna to the top of the fuselage and pitot tubes to the stabs.
The box photos, instructions and decals depict several of the early all-white Hawks, including “Southern Cross.” I used the gunship grey and white “tuxedo” scheme worn by at least one of the Hawks in the Iraq war and depicted at the Northrop Grumman web site: www.is.northropgrumman.com. With a 19 inch wingspan and 71/2 inch long fuselage, it’s an impressive addition to my growing collection of 1/72 UAVs.
The Global Hawk kit provided a very enjoyable build of an interesting aircraft. A highly recommended kit for experienced modelers interested in reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft. Unicraft Models has an excellent web site at: www.unicraftmodels.com with a great selection of current UAV and other unique aircraft kits. The owner, Igor Shestakov, firstname.lastname@example.org, is highly recommended for his excellent customer service.