Platz 1/72 RQ-4N BAMS Global Hawk Kit First Look
|Date of Review||October 2011||Manufacturer||Platz|
|Subject||RQ-4N (MQ-4C) Global Hawk||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||AC-5||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, nice details||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$55.98|
The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk is a long-range, high-altitude, long endurance unmanned aerial system designed to provide strategic and theater-level intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to the warfighter. Originally developed under the Tier II program, the airframe experienced a number of technical and programmatic challenges which slipped the initial deliveries of the aircraft by several years. While you might not immediately associate Northrop Grumman with unmanned systems, you should recognize the company behind the corporation - Ryan Aeronautical. Ryan has been producing remotely piloted vehicles for decades and were the best team to tackle such an ambitious program. Teledyne Ryan was acquired by Northrop Grumman in 1999.
The RQ-4A (Block 10) were originally built to provide experimental platforms for DoD, but wartime demands saw these early Global Hawks put into combat support duties almost immediately. Nine Block 10s were produced before production turned to Block 20.
The RQ-4B (Block 20) was enlarged over the Block 10 with a wingspan of 130.9 feet and a fuselage length of 47.7 feet. The aircraft was designed to loft a Synthetic Aperture Radar similar to the systems carried aboard the U-2 and JSTARS. This provides a high-resolution reconnaissance capability which can see through cloud cover and the dark of night. Upgrades are in progress to turn some of these airframes into Block 30 platforms that incorporate even more advanced sensors.
The MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) variant which is a derivative of the of the RQ-4B airframe. This version adds a new ventral radome housing a Northrop-Grumman high-resolution 360 degree sensor system plus the addition of a FLIR up in the nose for visual surveillance capabilities. The MQ-4C can operate autonomously the same as its Air Force cousins, but it can also link directly to ground or shipboard sensors allowing for significant improvements in littoral or bluewater surveillance.
Here is another beautiful kit from Platz. This is the 1/72 scale RQ-4N (MQ-4C) BAMS Global Hawk, which is still a rather large model in this scale (as you can imagine). The kit is molded in medium gray styrene and presented on five parts trees.
There is some nice engineering in this kit as there would be a real challenge to keep those wings attached to the airframe or at least not have them succumb to gravity. Platz solved this problem with a plate that is screwed into the lower fuselage section and the wing mounting tabs slide under this plate for strength. Well see how effective this approach is soon.
Before the upper fuselage halves go together, you assemble the engine compressor face to the intake duct and the turbine face to the exhaust duct. These ducts are installed into the doral engine hump at the rear of the airframe.
With the fuselage assembled, the wings and V-tail are attached to the fuselage along with a variety of antennas. The new FLIR turret also goes onto its mounting under the nose. Ventral strakes are mounted under the tail and the landing gear assemblies complete the project.
Markings are provided for five notional aircraft including one USN test aircraft, two USN line aircraft, one JMSDF aircraft, and one US Naval Oceanographic Office aircraft. Decals include a full set of airframe stenciling plus a variety of high and low-visibility markings.
This is a nicely done kit and should build into a nice model of the huge Global Hawk.
For more information about this set and the other releases from Platz Hobby, visit their website at http://www.platz-hobby.com.
My sincere thanks to Platz Hobby for this review sample!