The Northrop Grumman X-47B is a demonstration unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) designed for carrier-based operations. Developed by the American defense technology company Northrop Grumman, the X-47 project began as part of DARPA’s J-UCAS program, and is now part of the United States Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. The X-47B first flew in 2011, and as of 2013, it is undergoing flight testing, having successfully performed a series of land- and carrier-based demonstrations. Northrop Grumman intends to develop the prototype X-47B into a battlefield-ready aircraft, the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system, which will enter service by 2019.
The kit is delivered in a sturdy top opening box. This kit is basically the earlier X-47B, part number AC-7, box from Platz with different decals and an extra small fret with 2 GBU-27s to replace the GBU-32s that are on the main sprues. There are 3 sprues in total, sealed in a plastic bag. Detail on the sprues is excellent with fine recessed panel lines.
The kit has no cockpit so it will be a quick and simple build, ideal for a beginner to the hobby. Step 1 of the instructions has you put the engine intakes inside the 2 fuselage halves and join them together. Step 2 adds a few details to the top of the aircraft. Steps 3 and 4 have you build your choice of GBU-27s or GBU-32s and place them in the bomb bays. Steps 5 and 6 are building the undercarriage legs. Step 7 has you adding the various doors under the aircraft and step 8 adds the undercarriage and lower antennae. Step 9 assembles the small stub wings and step 10 gives you the choice of air brakes open or closed. Step 11 adds the wings to the aircraft either folded or not and the upper antennae.
The comprehensive decal sheet is produced by Cartograph and has 4 options, 2 from the test program and 2 fictional in service aircraft aboard either USS Ronald Reagan or USS H. W. Bush. All options have the same light grey colour scheme.
Overall this is a simple fun build, ideal for someone just starting out in the hobby. The detail and quality of the kit is as good as any out there.
Many thanks to Platz for the review kit.
Paul Tosney – Model Builder International – www.modelbuilderinternational.com