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Check Out Club Meeting: May 2011 Meeting

Featured In: May 2011 Newsletter

The Grim Reaper
Skunk Model’s 1/48 MQ-9 Reaper
By: Neal “Cliché” Izumi

Skunk Models is the first company to kit an injection molded Reaper in any scale, I believe. Molded in “AMT/ERTL translucent grey”, the parts exhibit fairly clean molding and average detail. Compared to Bronco Model’s MQ-1 Predator, the surface detail is not as abundant or crisp. The parts are all bagged together with the small clear sprue and decal sheets. The only damaged parts were the wiring conduits for the Hellfire missile pylons.

Speaking of Hellfires, you get four with twin launchers and a pair of laser guided bombs. The seeker heads on the Hellfires are molded solid. Markings are provided for one USAF and one Homeland Security(!) machine. The instruction sheet is tiny, with difficult to decipher color callouts. (I have heard that the fuselage color callout is incorrect, and the Reaper is actually two colors, top and bottom.) The box is just the opposite though, as you could probably fit two kits in there.

The pitot boom is molded with a portion of the nose, and lacks the small circular windows that the operator uses to pilot the aircraft. A small blade antenna is molded to the top of the fuselage, but it is thick and not swept back. The sensor turret is only made up of three pieces, including the clear window. It is lacking some small windows above the main window.

The nose wheel is molded together with the leg, which contrasts to the main wheels’ separate hubs and tires. The intake and exhaust outlets are not backed, and the intake lacks a splitter plate. One of the wings has a fine antenna molded to the trailing edge – don’t trim it off! The lower wing halves are very flexy, but should straighten up after they are joined to the upper wing halves.

Despite some shortcomings, Skunk Model’s Reaper is a topical and interesting subject that should be simple for the novice to assemble, yet forms a good foundation for the super detailer to go nuts. We will see more UCAVs entering service in the near future, so the model kit industry will no doubt follow.

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