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RQ-1A Predator
Platz’s Kit In Review
By Neal “Sci-Fi” Izumi

Check Out Club Meeting: June 2008 Meeting

Featured In: June 2008 Newsletter

Platz RQ-1A Predator in 1/72scale

Kit Data:
Scale: 1/72
Stock No.: AC-1
Materials: Injected-molded
styrene in gray
MSRP: 1,800 Yen

The RQ-1A Predator is an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) used in the reconnaissance and strike roles by United States armed forces.

Many years ago a company called Twelve Squared released a limited run injection molded plastic kit of the General Atomics Gnat, which was the predecessor of the Predator. The kit was crude and well below what was expected of a limited run kit, even for its time.

Platz RQ-1A Predator in 1/72scale

Coming soon – An MQ-1 armed Predator is due out in July! The slots for the Hellfire missile pylons are a dead giveaway.

Fast forward to 2008. Platz, a Japanese manufacturer known for tiny high quality plastic models, has provided us with a modern kit of the Predator. Molded in medium grey plastic, the 42 parts have nice recessed detail. Small cardboard tabs protect the mass balances on the stabilizers, which are molded integrally to the lower fuselage.

The thin, high aspect ratio wings are molded tip to tip as a single piece, which will help with strength and alignment. Plugs are provided for slots in the undersides of the wings, foreshadowing the arrival of the armed MQ-1 kit. The ventral sensor ball is molded in three pieces and can be swiveled and rotated after construction. No clear parts are provided.

The decal sheet contains markings for eight aircraft. Unfortunately, four of them will require the builder to furnish conversion parts as none are provided in the kit. The NASA ALTUS scheme will require the most modifications, as the ventral stabilizer needs to be moved to the upper fuselage, the engine air intake needs to be enlarged, and the radome and sensor ball require removal. The other three schemes only require a saddle tank to be added to the spine of the fuselage.

Platz RQ-1A Predator in 1/72scale

The instructions are all in Japanese, but due to the simplicity of the kit, should not be too hard to follow. The paint and marking guide on the back page does mention that the four options require modifications to the kit. The paint callout numbers are referenced to Gunze’s GSI Creos (black square) and Model Master Model Master (black oval) paints. Federal Standard numbers are also listed. No mention is made of adding ballast to balance the model, but this kit looks like a tailsitter.

Platz RQ-1A Predator in 1/72scale

A shot of the prop, one-piece nose gear, and sensor turret base.

As far as accuracy is concerned, I am not one to count rivets and my micrometer is not to hand at the moment. From the scant references I have of the Predator (International Air Power In Review, volumes 15 and 16), the kit sure looks like the real thing. The AMS guys will no doubt use the excellent box top photo to add little things like the anti-collision beacon and brake lines on the landing gear.

Platz RQ-1A Predator in 1/72scale

Molded detail is fine and crisp.

It appears that Accurate Miniatures will be boxing this kit for US distribution, so those who are unable to get the Platz kit need only be a little patient until this happens. The price is listed around $20 USD, which compares favorably to the Japanese price of 1,800 Yen. Now if only someone would make a 1/72 kit of the Global Hawk…

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