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Friday, March 1, 2013

SR-71 Blackbird

The SR-71 Blackbird has always fascinated me. It seemed to be something that would find itself in a science-fiction movie, although it was developed in the 60's. To this day, it is an amazing aircraft and the subject for this build. I chose the new re-tooling of Testor's 1/48 scale SR-71 Blackbird.

 Before starting the build, I visited the Hill Air Force Base Museum to see the bird in real life. Here are a few photos of key detail areas.

 Camera Bays

 Rear Landing Gear Bay
 Rear Landing Gear Bay

 Inside Front Landing Gear Bay
Front Landing Gear Lights and Wiring

The Build

All of the assembly to this point was straight forward until I reached the camera windows. I elected to black out the front window because of the more complex camera inside and it was not present in the plane I visited. Rather than leave the the fuselage empty and show black I constructed my own cameras. I built them using straws and putty to simulate the mirrors in the front window and lenses in the rear.


For the Wheel bays I added solder wire to compensate for the lack of plumbing on the kit. For the paint on the wheels I chose a mix of grey and aluminum as the tires on the plane are part aluminum so the rubber will not melt in flight.


The only other details I added were rivets to all of the panel lines using a ponce wheel. I was afraid it would not show up in the end. Weathering on the model was mostly done opposite to normal. I pre-shaded the model in white then covered that with black. When looking at the Blackbird in person, they were rarely clean black. I added thin dark grey paint to all of the seams. Silver and grey pencil were used in some areas to highlight rivets as they are worn out in real life. After I was finished with the decals I added Testor's dullcote to remove the gloss. The dullcote lightened up the black to give it a weathered and worn look. Test the dullcote first as some matte finishes lighten it up too much.

This was a fun build and I am pleased with the results. The plane is on display at the headquarters of in Sandy at MRS Hobby.

The next build will be the new release of Kitty Hawk Models F-35B Lightning 2.

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