ICM 1/48 Ryan KDA-1(Q-2A) Firebee

KIT #: 48400
PRICE: $46.00
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: John Summerford


The Firebee I was the result of a 1948 U.S. Air Force request and contract to Ryan for a jet-powered gunnery target. The first flight of the XQ-2 Firebee prototype took place in early 1951. The drone featured swept flight surfaces and a circular nose inlet. The initial models had distinctive "arrowhead" shaped endplates on the tailplane. The Firebee could be air-launched from a specially modified launch aircraft (Douglas A-26 Invader was first to be used for this), or ground-launched with a single RATO booster.

The Firebee was ordered into production for the USAF as the Q-2A, powered by a Continental J69-T-19B turbojet engine with 1,060 pounds-force (4.7 kN) of thrust. The Air Force then obtained small numbers of a Q-2B with a more powerful engine for high-altitude performance.

The U.S. Navy bought the Firebee as the KDA-1 which was mostly similar to the Q-2A, differing mainly in its powerplant: a Fairchild J44-R-20B turbojet with 1,000 lbf (4.4 kN) thrust. The KDA-1 and Q-2A could be distinguished by the KDA-1's protruding inlet center body and wider, steeply raked inlet. The U.S. Army also obtained a KDA-1 version designated the XM21 that differed only in minor details.


A flimsy card stock lid covers a much sturdier corrugated box. Inside that box one finds a resealable bag holding two light gray sprues, an instruction sheet and decals. The larger sprue has the parts for the Firebee and the smaller sprue the trailer. Not surprisingly, there are no clear or photo-etch parts. Neither are there any mold seams to clean up or flash to deal with.

Assembly instructions are printed on the metric equivalent of 11 by17 sheet with a brief history in Cyrillic and English plus a color chart referencing Revell and Tamiya paints and painting and decaling options on one side. Printed on the other side, are a parts map and 19 assembly steps. Total parts count is 34, but two are not used in this model

Decal options are for an Air Force all red airframe with white tip tanks, a Navy red and yellow airframe flown at China Lake Naval Test Station, the third being the mostly red -2 prototype with a shark mouth and eyes illustrated on lid. (The second option includes a decal of three parachute stencils, which leads me to believe it survived three attempts to shoot it down.)


This looks like a fun little kit. The trailer is nice addition, making much easier to display. I read somewhere that ICM is planning on releasing a B-26 kit with two drones slung under the wings. That should be interesting too.

John Summerford

May 2021

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