Platz 1/72 UCAS X-47B "Army-Navy Game"
By John Lanning
Just to start off, I would state that this is the third boxing of the Platz X-47B kit. Jim Bates did an earlier build of this kit in a previuos boxing, so I will try to not re-hash his build report with a lot of previously stated talking points. There is a lot of what he wrote in his review that I agree with, so I see no need in restating too much of his review. There are some differences between the kits that will be covered, including some of my observations. Jim also covered the short but continuing history of the X-47B program, but if the shape of the aircraft looks familiar, it should be. The design is based upon the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, which will also be the basis for the B-21 Raider stealth bomber, currently under development for the USAF by Northrop-Grumman, the manufacturer of the X-47B.
In The Box
Well, did anything change from Jim's previous review in this new boxing? Yes and no. The two original sprues are there, no clear parts, and the only armament provided are the two GBU-32 JDAMs. However, they added a third sprue, this one allows you to build the kit "wheels up" with the landing gear and weapons bay doors closed and a display stand.The other change are the decals. They modified the original kit decals to include "GO NAVY!!" and "BEAT ARMY!!" markings that are supposed to be applied to the undersides of the wings. According to the instuctions, they are based on the same marking applied to Hornets previously during earlier games, but I haven't found any pictures with these marking applied to the X-47Bs. There are also extra decals for the display stand, if you choose to use it.
Building The Kit
As Jim stated in his article, building was almost trouble-free. The parts fit great, the only filler that I used was on the damage to the leading edges from sprue removal and some "rough handling" and a little filler on the JDAMs. In fact, the new weapons door that I used fit prefectly, so there was no need to cut off the pins from the ones provided in the earlier boxing. I used Model Master Enamels for the kit, Neutral Grey overall with Gloss White interiors, Light Ghost Grey for the JDAMs. The decals were thin and went down in the panel lines without solvent. However, the "No Step" black lines are individual decals, so they will take more time to apply. The JDAMs come in two half-parts. They went together well, but needed a little filler and sanding. The decals look nice; however, don't use decal #44 for the yellow lines on the nose of the bombs, they are too short. Use decal #41
Great kit. I'm not an experimental or UCAV aircraft guy, but this was a good build (despite the few screw-ups that I had while building). This kit would also be great for those into "what if" schemes.
We definitely thank Platz for sending the review kit.