I grabbed this kit at The Hobby Stop a few weeks ago during their closing sale. Once I got home, opened up the box, and discovered that there were only 46 parts, plus it was a one-color paint job, I knew I had me a weekend build right here! Unfortunately, I didn’t take any in-progress photos, so you’ll only get to see the finished product in this article.
The kit went together extremely well, especially for such a big kit. Even at 1/72nd scale, this thing is bigger than a lot of 1/32nd scale stuff out there (she’s about 18″ long, with a 9.5″ wingspan). I decided to leave out the entire cockpit, because once the canopies are painted, the windows are so small you can’t see anything inside them. That quickened the build up quite significantly.
The fuselage was a top half and bottom half, with a nose cone, two canopies, two vertical stabilizers, two exhaust nozzles, two shock cones at the engine inlets, and the landing gear with their associated doors. That is all. Sweet!! I started this build two Friday nights ago (15 Feb 2019), and finished her up tonight (01 March 2019).
The fit of the two fuselage halves was outstanding. No warpage at all, and Hasegawa designed the kit so that the seams were on the bottom, and looked like panel lines, so no sanding at all, nor filler. Of course, even though Hasegawa made it as easy as possible to put together, I still managed to get glue fingerprints in a few places, so I did need to do some careful sanding on those areas to get it looking ok. But, all-in-all, pretty easy. I had it all together, except for the landing gear, in about two hours. No nose weight was needed, either.
I know – I said earlier “weekend build”, but I used Testors rattle-can gloss black paint (I didn’t feel like using the Paashce airbrush on this one), and that stuff takes FOREVER to dry. So, once I got everything glued together (Friday night the 15th), I sprayed her in my little paint booth that Sunday afternoon (after masking off the itty-bitty canopy windows with Tamiya masking tape, of course). I used some good old Testors tube glue to build her, so I needed to let that cure all day Saturday so it would all hold together while I painted her Sunday. I let the paint dry for the rest of the week, then applied all decals last Saturday afternoon (23 Feb). That took about 3 hours, mainly because I’m old-n-slow, with bad eyes, and there were a lot of little decals. Plus, the long skinny red lines on each side of the upper wings gave me fits, even though I cut them in two (to make them shorter, and hence, easier to work with…..or so I thought). Oh well – they still look ok from 5 feet away.
I used Walthers Solvaset Decal Setting Solution after the decals were all applied, and let the whole thing sit overnight. On Sunday afternoon (24 Feb), I looked at all the decals, and that Solvaset did a pretty good job. First time ever using it (I usually use Microscale setting solution), and I’m sold on it. I then sprayed the whole thing with Alclad II Lacquer Klear Kote Flat to seal the decals, and to flat-coat the plane, as the real SR-71s weren’t shiny. I then let that sit for the rest of the week, and finished her up tonight (01 March) by gluing the landing gear and doors on. Those items happen to be the only areas I used superglue, and not Testors tube glue. Below are photos of the finished kit – my first build of 2019. Lemme know whatcha think!