Bronco Models 1/48 Scale RQ/MQ-1 Predator

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While Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV - AKA drones) have been around since World War 2, they've never been considered as a viable combat system. Primarily serving in the target role for gun and missile crews, UAVs started to evolve during Vietnam as a way to conduct reconnaissance in high threat areas. Ryan Firebee and the sinister-looking D-21 were used to get photos of target areas that were too dangerous to send manned reconnaissance aircraft. Experiments with the Firebee led to a few being armed with AGM-65 Maverick missiles, but these were never taken beyond testing. Israel developed the Pioneer UAV which fostered a new push into unmanned airborne surveillance systems, and technology continued to evolve to support better (and lighter) sensors while also increasing the range/time aloft capabilities of these UAVs. General Atomics, known for its nuclear sciences, developed a new division that specializes in unmanned aircraft. It's first production aircraft was the Predator, a simple airframe that was powered by a Rotax engine (similar to those used on ultra-light aircraft) which gave it a range of over 2000 miles and could reach altitudes up to 25,000 feet. With a cruise speed of 70-90 knots, it could loiter over areas of interest for longer than any other technology other than a tethered balloon. Entering USAF service as the RQ-1, a number of opportunities arose where targets appeared that would be gone again before another weapons system could be directed to the target. These frustrating moments led to the MQ-1, a Predator armed with a pair of Hellfire missiles. Today crews can continue to observe areas of interest, and when those rare moments arise where a target needs to be smited, they can dispatch a Hellfire to do the job. Bronco Models has released the first Predator kit in 1/48th scale. While the kit has been released by Platz and Italeri (and reboxed by a few others), this is the first in this scale and is quite nicely done. Molded in gray styrene, the kit is presented on two parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. There is no photo-etch or other multimedia parts in this kit. The kit also provides a variety of antennas, intake scoops and other details to really detail this model. A pair of AGM-114 Hellfires are also provided should you want to build the MQ-1. A set of wheel chocks are included. Markings are provided for three US and one Italian example.

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Bronco Models
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Model Kits