Platz 1/72 RQ-4B Global Hawk

KIT #: AC-4
PRICE: ¥3800
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New mold kit.


The Northrop Grumman (formerly Ryan Aeronautical) RQ-4 Global Hawk (known as Tier II+ during development) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used by the United States Air Force as a surveillance aircraft.

In role and design, the Global Hawk is similar to the Lockheed U-2, the venerable 1950s spy plane. It is a theater commander's asset to both provide a broad overview and systematically target surveillance shortfalls. The Global Hawk air vehicle is able to provide high resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)—that can penetrate cloud-cover and sandstorms—and Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) imagery at long range with long loiter times over target areas. It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles (100,000 square kilometers) of terrain a day.

Potential missions for the Global Hawk cover the spectrum of intelligence collection capability to support forces in worldwide peace, crisis, and wartime operations. According to the Air Force, the capabilities of the aircraft will allow more precise targeting of weapons and better protection of forces through superior surveillance capabilities.

The "R" is the Department of Defense designation for reconnaissance; "Q" means unmanned aircraft system. The "4" refers to it being the fourth of a series of purpose-built unmanned aircraft systems.

The Global Hawk costs about $35 million USD (actual per-aircraft costs; with development costs also included, the per-aircraft cost rises to $123.2 million USD each).


It was quite a pleasant surprise when the postman delivered this one to the door. On the heels of the  Predator drone, this one is a much larger and strictly surveillance vehicle.

The kit comes with five sprues of grey plastic and a screw. The detailing on the kit is superb with crisply done panel lines and none of the over accentuated stuff we have seen from many model companies recently.

This is not a complex kit. With no cockpit and no weapons, the parts count is relatively low. aside from the landing gear, the only real fussy bit might be the engine intake and exhaust. Both have compressor faces so no see through effect. The kit does need about 10 grams of weight, but there is a ton of space for it. The screw seems to be for a plate on the fuselage that acts as a spreader bar for the lower fuselage inert.

Instructions are completely in Japanese with Gunze and FS 595 paint references. You'll basically need Gunship Grey and White for the airframes of the operational planes and some International Orange for the Edwards aircraft. Four markings options are provided. One is the cover art plane from the 9 SRW in Gunship Grey (FS 36118) with white upper wings. The other camouflaged version is with the German Air Force test unit. A white NASA plane is a third option, while the fourth is a test plane at Edwards AFB with International Orange wing tips, ventral stabs and vertical stabs. This would be the most colorful option. The decal sheet is very well done with all the data markings you'd need as well as insignia and other unique markings. Also included are a set of Taiwan insignia as the US has a history of loaning 'spy' planes to the Nationalist Chinese. There are also additional numbers so you can duplicate any plane in the fleet. The decals are superbly printed by Cartograf so you know they are good.


Like it or not, it seems like UAV's are here to stay. This is a superb kit and with a wingspan of 50cm, it will be a large model that will need some serious shelf space.


March 2010

Thanks to for the preview kit. Ask your local shop to get this one for you.

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