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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Italeri Lockheed D-21 drone

Another in the series of drone aircraft comes up in today's completion. This is the Lockheed D-21, a pure recon drone that most of us will have seen as part of the Italeri kit of the SR-71. It had a rather troubled history. First off, each D-21 was considered expendable; once the film was shot, the cartridge ejected from the drone and the aircraft blown up while the film was recovered. If that wasn't bad enough, the fourth test launch separation struck the SR-71's tail fins, crashing both aircraft and killing the Launch Control Officer. The rest of the testing was rather sensibly done from a B-52, where the drone could be dropped from under the wing rather than from over the fuselage.

The kit is very simple, with only a few parts to put together. And the paint job is pretty simple too. In fact, this one have been a truly short job if I hadn't spilled part of a bottle of Tenax on my workbench that caught one part of the lower wing surface. I had just been reading about a fellow modeller on 72nd Scale Aircraft who had experienced this particular disaster, so I am well and truly empathetic. Nothing to do except wait for it to cure, sand off the damaged section as thoroughly as possible, apply a coat of thick black paint, and move on.

This is completed aircraft #444 (#8 for the year), finished in February of 2016.

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