SEARCH FINESCALE.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

SR-71 Blackbird Kit - Which is Best??

37081 views
11 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2006
  • From: USA
SR-71 Blackbird Kit - Which is Best??
Posted by Cbax1234 on Sunday, October 24, 2010 10:18 PM

Hello.  Of the 1/72 kits available, which is the best one?  Italeri, Revell-Monogram, Academy, or Hasegawa?  And, I am asking in terms of both accuracy and ease of build.  Thank you all !!

  • Member since
    June 2009
Posted by jimbot58 on Monday, October 25, 2010 2:39 AM

I have both the Revell version and the Academy/Minicraft kits and of the two, I would recommend the Academy over the Revell. The Academy includes the option of displaying the detailed cockpit open and also includes a model of the D-21 drone, which was originally intended to be launched from the back of an A-12. I didn't include it in my build as I don't believe it was ever used with the SR-71 and was not a success with the A-12 (or any other aircraft for that matter.) The Revell kit has a removable nose cone that displays the radar, but does not stay in place (falls off), and just doesn't look very good to me. The cockpit and canopies are not open on this kit.

I think the Academy kit, overall, just has better detail and fit, although the Revell is not a bad kit, just to be fair. The other is just better.

From what I have seen, I believe the Hasegawa is the same as the Academy kit, because it also includes the drone.

I have Italeri's YF-12A Interceptor kit in my stash, unbuilt, so no information, good or bad on that. I don't know anything about the Italeri SR-71.

I don't know about the quality of the decals as mine were destroyed in a paint thinner jar mishap. Luckily, I was able to find a set of Superscale replacements at my LHS.

*******

On my workbench now:

 

Fujimi F-4K Phantom "Yellow Bird" and Zvezda Su-27SM Flanker


  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: 40 klicks east of the Gateway
Posted by yardbird78 on Monday, October 25, 2010 5:22 PM

Having worked in the SR-71 Blackbird program for 12 years and been a modeler for 50+ years, I am familiar with the various SR-71 kits.  I would recommend either the Italeri or Monogram/Revell-Monogram versions.  Both are excellent representations and both have their good and bad points.  The Revell kit that jimbot is talking about is the original Blackbird that was released in 1968.  It is OK, but lacks much in the way of detail.  The parabolic dish radar antena is correct for the YF-12A, but totally wrong for the SR.

The Monogram, now Revell kit has the best nose gear well and an excellent representation of the David Clark 1031 pressure suits for the crew.  The overall fuselage is too shallow for the width and thus makes the cockpit too wide.  There is a rectangular embossed area on the outside of the rudders which is incorrect.  That panel is present on the full scale bird, but it should be flush with the rest of the rudder surface, not raised.  The decals for all but the very latest releases are typical Monogram.  Very thick and basically unuseable.  The chine running along the outside of the nacelle from the air intake to the leading edge of the wing has the triangular shaped radar deflection panels and should not have them in this area.

The Italeri kit has a very shallow nose gear well with NO detail at all.  The fuselage is more accurate in cross section and has the RWR bulges on the nose just aft of the pitot tube.  The nose also has the OBC or Optical Bar Camera window.  The fuselage chine bays have square openings for the chine cameras, but they are in the middle of each compartment instead of the aft end as they should be.  The overhead view of the nose chine area tapers too quickly between the windshield and pitot tube.  This is closer to the A-12 profile.  The decals are excellent.

All Blackbirds had aluminum particles imbedded in the main gear tires during manufacturing and have a distinct silver color.  The nose gear tires are normal black rubber.  The "turkey feathers" on the exhaust are black, just like the rest of the plane, not silver as depicted on many models.  The overall color is flat black, (not dark blue as some claim), but it fades to an extremely dark gray after some use.  Different panels can have a different amount of fading.  The nose section had 3 interchangeable versions and frequently was a noticeable amount different in darkness from the rest of the plane.  The 3 noses were, test nose filled with ballast, OBC camera nose and SLR / Side Looking Radar nose.  The afterburner flame ring is shown just forward of the blow in doors on the aft part of the engine nacelle.  It should be about 6 scale feet further forward.  This same problem exists on ALL Blackbird models.  As jimbot mentioned, both the Italeri and Monogram kits include the D-21 drone.  The Italeri one has more detail and is slightly more accurate in shape.  He is correct in stating that it was never flown on the back of any SR-71.  There are several SR-71s on display around the country at various museums and several of them have D-21s displayed on their service dollies adjacent to an SR-71.  Two of the A-12s were modified on the original assembly line to be M-21s or drone mother ships.  06941 was lost in a mid-air collision with the drone on the 4th launch attempt.  06940 carried the drone on several captive carry missions, but never launched one.  She is currently displayed with a drone on her back at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.  The only other airplane to carry the D-21 were two specially modified B-52H BUFFs.  They made a dozen or more successful launches, but none of the 4 operational missions over mainland China returned any imagery due to various mechanical failures.

Darwin, O.F.  Alien

 ,,

The B-52 and me, we have grown old, gray and overweight together.

  • Member since
    April 2006
  • From: USA
Posted by Cbax1234 on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 5:26 PM

Wow ! Now those are thorough answers !  Thank you both for your help!  I definitely know which kit I'll go with now. 

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: 40 klicks east of the Gateway
Posted by yardbird78 on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 4:47 PM

This is the original 1968 Revell kit

A later re-release of the same kit

Advent release of the original Revell kit

Original Monogram release

Later Monogram release

Monogram kit with "Call To Glory" box art

Revell of Germany, same as Monogram with super duper excellent decals including for the 1995 reactivation

Original Testors release

Italeri copy of Testors kit

 Darwin, O.F.  Alien

 ,,

The B-52 and me, we have grown old, gray and overweight together.

  • Member since
    April 2006
  • From: USA
Posted by Cbax1234 on Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:18 PM

I ended up with the Italeri kit.  Looks just like the last picture.  I opened it to check it out.  Decals look good, parts are pretty much flash free, and seems to be a relatively simple build.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.  Thanks!!

  • Member since
    January 2017
Posted by Proglfr13 on Monday, January 2, 2017 7:39 PM

I was assigned to 15th Aor Force HQ in the 70's working for General Shots and General Nicholson.  Had the opportunity to get to the then titled 9th SRS, now 9th SRW.

Was Recon Intel.  Loved the Blackbird.

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: 40 klicks east of the Gateway
Posted by yardbird78 on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 12:29 PM

The first SR-71 arrived at Beale AFB in January of 1965 as part of the 4200 Strat Recon Wing.  That designation was changed to 9th Strat Recon Wing a few months later and remained that through the deactivation of the SR-71 in early 1990.  The 1st and 99th Strat Recon Squadrons were the operational units that flew the plane.  The 9th Recon Technical Squadron did the film processing, imagery interpretation and computer support.  The 9th OMS and 9th AMS took care of the maintenance.

 ,,

The B-52 and me, we have grown old, gray and overweight together.

  • Member since
    March 2003
Posted by rangerj on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 3:21 PM

Yankee Bravo78,

Do you know the story about the SR71 crew and Zsa Zsa Gabor (or was it Eva)? Seems an SR71 was... well I'll let you tell the story.

  • Member since
    January 2018
Posted by Pelmen on Saturday, January 27, 2018 7:37 PM
Side question, has the SR-71 ever been released as a kit in larger than 1/72 scale? Just been browsing stores online, looking to get maybe a 1/32 (I already have 1/72 but doing 1/32 for certain models in my collection now). Cheer.
  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: 40 klicks east of the Gateway
Posted by yardbird78 on Monday, January 29, 2018 6:02 PM

Testors Italeri released a 1/48th scale version of the SR-71, (no D-21), that can be built as an A model or B model trainer.  The kit has decals for M-21 06940, but the plastic cannot be made into this Blackbird without EXTENSIVE modification.  The kit has been out of production for many years, but is usually available on evil-bay.  I don't think that anyone has ever made a 1/32 scale. 

 ,,

The B-52 and me, we have grown old, gray and overweight together.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, January 29, 2018 6:04 PM

I have one if anyone wants it. PM me.

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS
FREE NEWSLETTER
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.