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RQ-1/MQ-1 Predator UAV


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#1 Mike

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 04:31 PM

I picked this one up from the recent inbox review pile as it represents a first for me in many ways, and I was inspired to do a UAV by Spence's excellent build here the other day. I also wanted to build something quickly that I could have some fun painting & decaling.

I started it last night, choosing the offensive Hellfire toting version. This requires a few choices throughout the build, the first of which being the shape of the underside fuselage part, of which there are two. The differences all centre around the front of the underside, so check your references and the supplied drawings carefully, as it's easy to get confused. Remembering the addendum, I added fishing weights to the front upper & lower fuselage halves, which were secured with CA, then encased in PVA and left overnight to set up.

The wings interlink and sit on two pegs within the fuselage, so these were added to the lower half and held in place with a clamp to ensure a good bond. When cured, I could add the top fuselage, being careful to choose and install the correct sensor "dustbin" that hangs from the underside of the nose. I elected not to bother with a spinnable prop in case I broke the blades off during building, as they are quite weak & prone to damage. They were glued into the spinner and set aside for later.

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The airframe by this point was looking surprisingly finished, and the work I'd done straightening the wings with hot water and a stint taped to a flat surface showed up well. It is now a case of choosing which parts can be added to the airframe to simplify painting, so I have begun building up the missile rails, landing gear struts and the various lumps, bumps and fins that finish off the build. The only flaws in the design of this kit has been in location of some of the parts. The central fin A37 doesn't have a corresponding depression to the fuselage's pip, but a quick measure, mark & drill with a 0.8mm drill soon resolved that one. You have to be careful to sight the vanes by eye to ensure they end up perpendicular to the wings - something that could have been resolved with more substantial mating tabs. Still - not to worry! :)

The landing gear struts are made from a relatively large number of parts, but I have left off the wheels for ease of painting. At time of writing, the front wheel yolk looks like it could be a bit of a problem, as the contact patch is miniscule, the mating pips soft, and I can just see it snapping off at some point. I'll look at addressing this by using some brass rod to pin it in place, I suspect.

#2 Mike

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 01:00 PM

The nose-wheel proved to be very weak, as I expected, so I pinned the join with a piece of steel micro-tubing, taking the opportunity to offset the wheel a little to the port to give its stance a little interest. once that was done, the various antennae were added, together with two tiny little clear parts, which suprisingly I managed not to lose. The diagonal tail parts have a small pin to attach them to the fuselage, and could probably do with an extra pin to secure them, but as the mating surface was quite large, I decided to risk it, ensuring plenty of liquid glue was used to make a strong bond.

The instructions would have you make a sprue antenna for the nose, but I elected to use some fine brass wire I have in stock, as I figured it would be more resistant to knocks. The instructions don't tell you the length, but a quick measure on the painting instructions set the length at around the same as the chord of the diagonal tail, so I cut a little extra and drilled out the receptacle so that it would be well anchored.

It turns out that Mr Surfacer primer is remarkably similar to the finished paint color, but I will be adding a little pre-shade around panel lines to break up the grey, so there will be another painting session, hopefully later today.

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#3 smeds

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 02:34 PM

Looks like a great little kit, but where's the 1/48 Global Hawk !!

Found this, quite funny.

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

smeds

Edited by smeds, 07 April 2010 - 02:52 PM.


#4 Mike

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Posted 10 April 2010 - 03:58 PM

Ok... I did a very clumsy thing, and dropped a bottle of deionised water on this... inside its bottle. It snapped off the landing gear, but not at the attachment points, so I was right about them being strong! :lol: A bit of CA and some resetting of angles, coupled with some rooting round in my spray booth to find the missing small parts, and we're off again ^_^

A pre-shade of panzer grey was put on, followed by a coat of Light Compass Grey to all but obliterate the pre-shade. Over that I added a slightly lightened coat on the upper surfaces and leading edges of the wings, just to add a bit of interest and simulate light falling on the airframe.

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It doesn't look too much different from a coat of primer, but the subtle shades show up a little better in the flesh :)

Detail painting next, then decals. Told you it would be a quick build ;)

#5 Mike

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 07:18 PM

Shiny coat added yesterday, decals added today, which took all of 20 minutes. Bronco's decals take a while to lift off the backing paper, but they are lovely & go down wafer thin on the model. I'm very impressed :)

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I'm just putting a neutral panel line wash on, then onto the internet to see whether these things get dirty or not :)

#6 Jens

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 07:49 PM

It looks like a nice kit, but didn't you put the national markings upside-down? :hypnotised:

Regards,

Jens

#7 Mike

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 07:51 PM

It looks like a nice kit, but didn't you put the national markings upside-down? :hypnotised:

Probably - I knew that the point went up, but brain must have gone into neutral and I just slapped them on. Probability didn't work either, and there are 3 out of 4 upside down! :lol: :doh: :blush:

#8 Jens

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 07:59 PM

Well, at least you're consistent! ;)

Regards,

Jens
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#9 Mike

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 08:17 PM

Ok... panel line wash on... Mig Neutral wash, and I've decided that this particular airframe will be used in the southern hemisphere, which is why all the stars are upside down. I thank you :smartass:

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#10 Mike

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 05:23 PM

Job's a good 'un. Fixed on the Hellfires, last few decals, matt coat, then added the Hellfire lenses, uncovered the windows on the sensor dustbin, and painted up the various colored lights.

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I even photo-shopped the stars & bars, so as not to offend anyone with my stupidity ^_^
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#11 Jens

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 05:58 PM

I even photo-shopped the stars & bars, so as not to offend anyone with my stupidity ^_^


How on earth do you make that photoshop job stick to the model? :P

Great looking model Mike! Perhaps I should try building a drone or two instead of German AFVs when I get tired of painting cockpits. :D

Regards,

Jens
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#12 Mike

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 06:01 PM

How on earth do you make that photoshop job stick to the model? :P

Great looking model Mike! Perhaps I should try building a drone or two instead of German AFVs when I get tired of painting cockpits. :D

Regards,

Jens

Oh, the real thing still has my faux pas on it, but it was relatively easy to switcheroo for the net, so I did it. ;) UAVs are great to get a building & painting fix in quick succession... it's just a shame there aren't more about. A Global Hawk would look good, although it's massive by comparison - I saw a mock-up of something resembling it at Fairford a few years ago (I think?), and the wingspan and droop was impressive :)

#13 Jens

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 06:18 PM

More and more drones will probably be made as models too - especially if sales for this one are good.

Last time I was *abroad* I watched something flying low-level close to the base. Suddenly it stopped in mid-air, falling to the ground. It turned out it was the British Hermes making a standard landing, i.e. being caught in a net or something like that. :)

Regards,

Jens

#14 Mike Reeves

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 06:26 PM

Nice work man, other than the insult to all of the USA with your stars n bars of course!! Next time I finish a Brit jet I will put the roundels on upside down!! :tease:
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#15 Mike

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 06:27 PM

Next time I finish a Brit jet I will put the roundels on upside down!! :tease:

Best of luck with that ^_^

#16 Nobby57

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 05:45 PM

Don't worry Mike...if anyone is rude enough to point it out you can always say it's an Iranian 1/6th copy and point them in the direction of their latest hi-tech paper dart... :pizza: Honestly! Cheese does fly! 


Edited by Nobby57, 12 February 2014 - 05:46 PM.


#17 Mike

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 05:56 PM

That'll teach me, won't it? :rolleyes:

 

 

 

 

Mmmmm.... Pizza :eat:


You can tell I didn't have a lint roller back then, can't you?  Cat hair & sanding dust all over the show :blush:


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#18 Nobby57

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 07:21 PM

It's a lovely build Mike...I was rude in not saying so!

love your response. :)

Regards,

Graham



#19 Mike

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 09:58 PM

It'd be a bit childish not to have a laugh at that sort of mistake, wouldn't it ^_^



#20 Julien

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 10:51 PM

Dont worry even the professionals get it wrong at times!

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