Clear Prop 1/48 Bayker Bayraktar TB.2
The Baykar Bayraktar TB2 is a medium altitude, long-endurance, unmanned aerial vehicle. It is capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations. It is manufactured by the Turkish company Baykar Defense. It was designed by MIT graduate Selcuk Bayraktar with the primary goal of providing a less expensive alternative to Western drones for the Turkish armed forces. Although it is not as capable as state-of-the-art American drones like General Atomics' MQ-9 Reaper or Northrop Grumman's RQ-4 Global Hawk, it has proven to be a brutally efficient and cost effective force multiplier. The TB2 has an endurance of almost 24 hours and a ceiling of 25,000 feet. It is 6.5 meters (approximately 21 feet) long with a wingspan of 12 meters (approximately 39 feet) and a maximum take-off weight of 650 kilograms (1,433 pounds). It can be equipped with four laser guided bombs. This drone has been used on combat operations in Syria, Libya, Azerbaijan and Ukraine. It played pivotal roles in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020 and the 2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine. The drone was so highly regarded by the Ukrainian military that a popular song was written about it.
The kit is designated “Starter” due to it not including any photo-etch, masks or resin (all of which are available from Clear prop). The kit comes packaged in a stout cardboard mailer box with a the top side hinged across the back length. An outer partial sleeve of lighter cardboard that has the box art fits over the top and sides of the mailer box. This is how all model kits should be packaged in my opinion. It allows for colorful box art to help with marketing and merchandising while providing a sturdy and reclosable shipping container that can double as a work tray. Inside the box are 122 gray parts with recessed panel lines, 5 clear parts (one of which is labeled not for use), two decal sheets, and an eleven page, full color instruction booklet. Four laser guided bombs with separate fins are the only weapons provided. All seven of the decal options are for overall gray Ukrainian machines. All control surfaces are molded separately and the instruction booklet provides drawings showing the correct angles of the landing gear and the flying surfaces. The instruction booklet also advises that one gram of nose weight will be needed. The assembly sequence has 18 steps and appears to fairly straightforward. However, there are many small parts that will require patience and dexterity to obtain a good result. The nose landing gear assembly, in particular, looks somewhat “fiddly” and models of twin boom aircraft are more challenging to assemble than conventionally configured flying machines
Overall, this is an excellent kit of a very topical subject. The customer friendly packaging, crisply molded parts, perfectly printed decals, and comprehensive instructions should satisfy any modeler with an interest in the subject. My only criticism is that I would have liked decal options for user countries other than just Ukraine. However, since the kit manufacturer is Ukrainian it's understandable why they were not included.
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