My next build is the 1/48 Freedom Models X-47B US Navy UCAS. This is an Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) built by Northrop Grumman. It is essentially a semi-autonomous limited combat aircraft with two weapons bays. It is designed for use on an aircraft carrier to supply reconnaissance and identify targets for the air wing. With its stealth and ordinance capability it can take out a target that could be an immediate threat. It can also be refueled in the air for extended range. Only two flying demonstrators were built.
Since there is no “cockpit” for a pilot to sit in, I decided to super detail the landing gear and weapons bays. I started by priming the bays with white primer. Next I worked on the landing gear. For the nose gear I drilled into the landing light to form a concave hole. This was then painted chrome silver. Once dry I filled the void with acrylic gel to form the landing light lens. I then added some 32 gauge wiring for the cables and hoses. I then use foil tape for the cable ties. This will be weathered later just prior to install. The main gear has the duel hard lines with bare 32 gauge wire then using black coated wires for attaching inside the bay.
I then started to detail the bays. I used black, blue wire and green wires for the different uses and then cut thin strips of foil tape for the cable ties and mounts. I am currently working on scratch building the hoses then moving on to the weapons. The kit comes with two JDAM bombs so I need to build and detail them.
This week’s update on the X-47B UCAS covers the detailing of the bays. After I use wire for the cables and hydraulic lines I used some styrene rods for the large hoses. For the orange hose I used foil tape for the clamps. I used some black vinyl tape and foil tape to make the hose connector on each one. Towards the aft I sleeved the shaped styrene rod with a braided sleeve and foil tape for the connectors. I assembled, painted and applied decals to the JDAM bombs. The decals that come with the kit had the white base slightly off register from the colors. The decals are also a little on the thicker side so they required a little more solvent to conform and lay down. This kit does not come with any clear parts. I trimmed off the upper and lower wing tip lights so I can make my own lenses. The base coat of painting was done and all the gear and bomb bay doors were painted. The instructions call out to use gunship gray but all the reference photos show the aircraft was painted dark ghost gray. The tail hook was painted and installed and the JDAM’s were put in the bays. I am working on the numerous decals then onto the final assembly and details.
The X-47B is now finished! First I need to bring up another issue. As I was applying decals a fellow modeler commented on one of the Facebook groups that the “Beware of Blast” decals were misspelled. I had already put the decals on the aircraft. So I looked at them and they say “Be Were of Blast”. They were carefully removed and I made my own with the correct spelling. Lastly I used some clear sprue trees and made the wingtip lights. These were shaped, sanded and polished. I trimmed the molded in one and put the clear ones on and painted them with Tamiya clear red and clear green paints.
The overall kit was very good. It would be better but the decals being off register and the misspelling. For fit it was very good and the instructions were well thought out. The decals actually applied well. They do give you options for different schemes, however they only give you instructions for two schemes so you are left with a few decals with no reference to designate where they go. One final note, when I was reviewing the photos I took I kept thinking that the front on shots remind me of the alien fighters in the movie “Independence Day” with the intake looking like the front windscreen. Thank you for following along with the build of this unusual aircraft.
3 thoughts on “1/48 X-47B UCAS”
David… Steve, Intruder500 from Z5. Great scratch work going on in here! Love all the wire and foil! Where do you get some of your ideas? If you want to share them?
I just try to match reference photos and drawings. You can see many of my ideas in the Tips and Tricks section. I am working on updating that section soon with a few more.
Outstanding work David…Perfection.
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