The SR-71 was the third and final version of what is still quite possibly one of the most famous and recognizable aircraft in the world. Its predecessors, the CIA’s intelligence-gathering A-12 and the Air Force’s interceptor YF-12, were responsible not only for the SR-71’s ultimate success but were also the launch beds for so many other aircraft designs and weapons systems. This success allowed the United States to be the leader in military systems for so long. There are a number of good publications available and a great amount of web-based data available via simple search requests.
I had always wanted to build a model of this epic aircraft and can now say I have. Having the luck to get a Hasegawa kit with the drone was just icing on the cake. When I opened the box, I removed the plastic wrap only to find this kit is much older than I would have expected, and is virtually all raised panel lines. All of that aside, it is still a subject I wanted to build.
The entire kit consists of 43 black plastic injection-molded parts and 3 clear. Maybe it is just me, but I felt the black plastic was brittle and required special attention so as not to break parts off the sprues accidently. The upper and lower fuselage parts are quite large and not attached to a sprue. Careful attention to the spine of the fuselage and engines will reveal where the plastic was injected. Similar placing was evident on the lower fuselage. These were all easily sanded smooth with a fine sanding stick. Ensure you pay attention to the raised details in these areas so as not to remove any.
Assembly is straightforward, with one exception I took on my own. I removed the pitot tube assembly with a sharp razor saw, given the brittleness of the plastic. The 2-place cockpit is very basic and plain, using decals for all instruments and side panels. Don’t forget to add weight before joining the fuselage! The upper and lower fuselages are separate parts with the majority of the joining lines being on the underside of the aircraft. They fit was great, and with some time spent working from front to rear there should be no need for putty. The remainder of the parts have an equally good fit and did not require anything other than a simple swipe of the sanding stick here and there.
Following the instructions will yield an SR-71. Following the painting and decal callouts will also yield an SR-71; it will, however, not be accurate as there is a supplemental sheet that has the correct info. I personally would like to have seen a single set of instructions so as to eliminate any confusion. I chose the 2-tone paint scheme as it really has that eye-catching look. All paints were Model Master Enamels except the silver ,which is Testor’s Metalizer. Decals went on smoothly and settled into all crevices with a few drops of Micro-Set. There is one glaring problem for those who can actually read the small print around the inflight refueling slip-way. The wording on both sides only reads to one side correctly. Yup, one side is always upside down. Didn’t see that little issue until I had already placed the decal and was squaring it up with my magnifiers on.
The D-21B drone assembles with little effort and is similar in construction to the SR-71. I do feel that the raised panel lines were of less relief than the SR-71, and therefore I washed some of it out with too heavy applications of paint. The 2-tone version only has 4 decals near the vertical stabilizer, and for some reason they are all separate and require equal orientation to each other.
Markings are provided for two aircraft:
All-in-all, this is a good kit with great fit. It makes for a very striking display and will always get a second look just because it is still sooooo cool-looking after all these years. Probably the hardest part for me was painting the tires silver – that’s just not normal.
I would like to thank Hobbico for the kit donation and IPMS’ Review Corps for the opportunity to build and review it.