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Accurate Miniatures 1/72 scale Predator UAV

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Kit: No. 0412
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Accurate Miniatures, 704-795-2345,
Price: $17.99
Comments: Injection-molded, 23 parts, decals
Pros: Easy to build; good recessed detail; appears accurate
Cons: Marking instructions incomplete; some decal markings are oversized
Issue Published: February 2009
Ah! Just a couple of dozen parts, no interior, no clear parts, one-color paint scheme, minimal decal work - this will be quick work! And it was; just three hours were needed to make this little model of an important, new aerial weapon.

Accurate Miniatures' Predator is a cooperative effort. Apparently produced by Platz in Japan, this same kit is marketed in Europe by Italeri. Out of the box, the kit represents the unarmed RQ-1 version of the General Atomics unmanned aerial vehicle. Accurate Miniatures plans to issue the Hellfire-missile-armed version (the MQ-1) later.

It's a simple kit, with the fuselage split into top and bottom halves, and a pair of anhedral stabilizers molded into the bottom. The high-aspect-ratio wing is molded in one piece and sandwiched between the fuselage halves. To that major assembly, all you have to add is the short ventral stabilizer, the seeker/sensor ball in the nose, propeller, simple landing gear, engine vents, and antennas. The nose-mounted pitot tube in my kit was poorly molded, so I replaced it with fine plastic rod. The assembly instructions are printed on the wraparound box.

If you don't count the flat-black landing gear, the paint scheme is light ghost gray (FS36375) overall. The decal sheet (printed by Cartograf) includes squadron badges, wing badges, command badges, several color bands for the stabilizers, and enough serial numbers to produce any Predator in service. However, the instructions don't show locations for small stenciling included on the decals, and the special "commanders" markings are not linked to any serial numbers. Accurate Miniatures suggests consulting references without specifying any.

I found precious little marking info on the Web, so I chose the provided 11th Reconnaissance Squadron commanders markings and left off the serial number.

I was disappointed to find that craft's "Snake Eyes" logo was printed too big; it wrapped around both fore and aft edges of the stabilizer.

If you can overlook the markings problems, this little Predator is a rewarding scale replica that can be finished in a day.

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