Academy/Minicraft model in 1/72 scale : kit review & building report
|The Academy kit manufacturer issued
a very nice kit of the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird years ago. It was marketed
by Minicraft in the USA (kit no 1627) in 1/72 scale. THe kit has a limited
number of parts, but these are nicely done
This family of aircraft was developed at the Lockheed Skunk Works, work starting at the end of the nineteen-fifties. The program had various challenges as the fastest most challengable plane was to be designed, tested and build in unknown technology areas. Max target speed was in excess of Mach 3 flying above 100,000 ft.
The A-12 was a single seat high fast reconn plane, which flew in 1962. It had a pointed nose and still temporary engines fitted. Later on, a requirement was to make for a variant as "fighter interceptor" with huge Hughes AIM-47A/ GAR-9 missiles in internal fuselage bays; this variant was called the (Y)F-12, a crew of two and special tracking devices and radar in a converted nose. It also has various smaller ventral fins below the aft fuselage and engine pods.
Later on, the A-12 / F-12 evolved into the later well known Lockheed SR-71 strategic reconnaissance plane, called the Blackbird because of its black paint and "black" missions.
the reference below for more information.
The SR-71 is depicted in the Academy/Minicraft kit, but it seemed nice to convert it into an YF-12 fighter. This can be done with little effort and in the model collection you get a very special model.
(NOTE: I believe also that Italeri issued a kit of the YF-12, so when you get that model you don't need to do a conversion)
So what are the big external to be seen differences of the YF-12 compared to the SR-71?
A. changed nose shape with radar and
Otherwise, the SR-71 and YF-12 seem
alike. Cockpit hatches seem the same. Maybe there are slight differences
in panel layouts etc, but these are hardly seen in a small 1/72 black model!
[A] The nose shape was derived from conversion drawing from an old modeling magazine. The point of the nose should be cut off 48 mm aft of the pitot base (parts C5 and C17). Next, a cut out should be made to accommodate the IR trackers. The radar nose was made using an old 1/72 Phantom nose, sanded round in shape; it has the exact diameter at the base to fit on to the fuselage. Next use putty filler, close gaps and sand into shape.
[B]. the aft fuselage cone was cut
out and a mid section removed. The pointed cone was they glued more forward
onto the fuselage; use some plastic card to close gaps, fill and sand in
[C]. the big foldable ventral fin
below the rear fuselage cone was made of a spare airfoil shaped piece
of plastic from the spare parts box; the fin's base was made of a shaped
piece of cart.
[E]. missile bays were not opened; they can not been seen as they are flush with the lower fuselage contours. So no work was needed here.
[F]. the small refueling panel and its gap were filled and sanded flush.
So, the basic model was converted into an YF-12A.
|The model was made to represent a
Lockheed YF-12A, USAF, that set in May 1965 the "absolute
speed and altitude record for its class" which essentially still
remain unchallenged up till now.
In the main undercarriage bay, two
small half circles from card were added (the wheels should fit in).
Unfortunately, my kit had no decals. However, the basic markings can be obtained from the usual spares box. Red walkway striping was used of an Aeromaster decals sheet. See also the note on the different panel tints at the titles and markings!
So, there the model is!
Lockheed Skunk Works, first 50 years,
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|Created this page September 21, 2003|