One of the most modern and effective weapons in the war against terror, the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper is a development of the earlier, very successful MQ-1 Predator UAV. Unlike the Predator which originated as a reconnaissance drone and was later outfitted with weapons, the Reaper was designed as a weapons platform from the very beginning. The MQ-9 is large and has a much more powerful engine than the one installed on its predecessor.
This is the first decal sheet from this new company and they have chosen to produce a decal sheet to accompany the Skunkmodels Workshop kit. The decals look to be in perfect register, with the clear surround section on each decal not being too large, of note is that the decals are printed by Microscale. Colours look to be correct.
These are printed on two double sided and a one single sided letter format sheets.
Sheet one is in colour and forms the front and back to the booklet style instructions with a upper view on the inside showing fuel tank and generic markings as well as a paint guide and some useful notes and website references for photos.
Sheet two is in mono and lists each option with a brief description of the unit that the option is for together with a side view of the option showing decal placement and any colour variation notes. Listed at the end are several more websites which may be useful for references.
Sheet three is single sided colour and displays the tail markings for each option including the inside view. There is an error on this sheet in which the tails for options 6 and 7 are switched around.
Option 1: NASA ‘Ikhana’, this is a demilitarized Reaper finished in gloss white overall, noted are kit parts that will need to be left off or altered. References are listed on the sheet for photos of the real aircraft.
Option 2: Royal Air Force, 39 Squadron has been active in Afghanistan since late 2007. Finished in the standard USAF colour scheme.
Option 3: USAF 432nd Wing, 42nd Attack Squadron, the first operational MQ-9 combat unit and based at Creech Air Force Base. Finished in the standard USAF colour scheme, red tail stripe.
Option 4: USAF 432nd Wing, 42nd Attack Squadron, this Reaper is decorated with the new black tail stripes and skull and cross bone insignia, this example also has mission markings in the form of Hellfire missile silhouettes. Finished in the standard USAF colour scheme.
Option 5: USAF 432nd Wing, 42nd Attack Squadron, this example is a ‘typical’ line aircraft with standard squadron markings. Finished in the standard USAF colour scheme.
Option 6: US Air National Guard, 174th Wing, this famous unit has transitioned onto the Reaper after many years of flying the A-10 and F-16. The unit is based at Hancock Field near Syracuse and will be renamed the 174th Attack Wing, the option is for one of the first Reapers assigned to the wing and has the same ‘Syracuse’ tail band as was worn on the units F-16’s. Finished in the standard USAF colour scheme.
Option 7: USAF 49th Wing, 29th Attack Squadron, this is the newest Reaper unit in the USAF and is based at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Finished in the standard USAF colour scheme, partial red tail stripe.
A timely release and will give many more options to those who would like to build an aircraft other than that supplied in the box. Looks like a good bit of research has been carried out and the references listed will help with marking your option. I would not hesitate in buying any future release that is of interest.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Well printed decals, good register and decent instructionsLows: Tail marking options switched aroundVerdict: A timely release that will give many more options to those who would like to build an aircraft other than that supplied with the Skunkmodels Workshop kit.
About Luciano Satornetti (Littorio) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH EAST, UNITED KINGDOM
Ok, firstly I build what ever takes my fancy however I mainly build 1/350 WWII era ships mainly cruisers and any aircraft. However my favourite aircraft being the mighty Beaufighter, Sepecat Jaguar, Hawker Hunter, Fw-190 and the Su-27 family. I also like wheeled armour like the Stryker and Centauro