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Brian Powell
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1/72 Platz MQ-1A Predator

December 19, 2022 · in Aviation · · 9 · 0.9K

The General Atomics MQ-1 is a medium-altitude, long-range remotely piloted aircraft used by the United States Air Force and CIA from 1995 to 2018. Widely deployed, the Predator saw extensive use in Afghanistan hunting high-valued targets after September 11, 2001. The drone was flown remotely via satellite, primarily by operators at Nellis and Creech AFBs in Nevada.

It is slow, small, and cheap: it is propellor-driven, powered by a four-cylinder engine that, though often described as "relatively quiet", allegedly sounded like a distant lawn mower to those on the ground when at 5000 feet. The Predator was originally a reconnaissance drone, but was soon outfitted with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles to support offensive operations. The MQ-1 has a variety of sensors, including day-TV and infrared cameras, targeting system, and laser designator for both its munitions and those of other platforms. It was replaced in 2018 by the slightly larger and more capable MQ-9 Reaper.

The Kit

The -scale MQ-1A Predator comes in gray styrene with 25 pieces. It's an adorable, tiny little thing.

The Platz release has been reboxed by a couple times since 2008. It's a nice kit: there is excellent rivet detail, parts are well-molded, and everything fits well. It's delicate, though, and the nose antenna in my kit came snapped in two. And, if a small piece hops out of your tweezers, forget about ever finding it.

The decal sheet is fantastic: lots of squadrons to choose from:

The most challenging part of the build is getting the landing gear straight, since the long wingspan accentuates any slight imbalance. Also, the rear stabilizers have slim clearance above the ground.

I used Mr. Color 315 Gray as the base color and gave it a pin wash with Tamiya Gray Panel Liner. It's finished with Alclad Klear Kote Matte. Start to finish in a couple days. Thanks for reading!

Reader reactions:
4  Awesome

9 responses

  1. Very cool build. It's so small the decals must have been a challenge at that scale. The panel lining looks fantastic!

  2. @bapowellphys that is really cool! Well done! Who made that?

  3. It is somewhat reminiscent of the Alien design by H.R. Giger!

  4. Fantastic result, Brian!

  5. Superb result on this tiny predator, Brian @bapowellphys

  6. Great work on this tiny model, it looks like an insect ready to sting you.

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