U2-C Spyplane 1:48 Scale Testors Model Kit #516 Review

2013 October 21
by Doug

RoR Step-by-Step Review 20131021* 
U2-C Spyplane 1:48 Scale Testors Model Kit #516 Review
Fig 000


Review and Photos by John Orenski John Orenski Thumbnail

The Lockheed U-2 nicknamed “Dragon Lady” was designed in 1954 by Kelly Johnson in a division called the Skunk Works. This was Lockheed’s top secret aircraft facility that also created the legendary SR-71 Blackbird and F-104 Starfighter. Made specifically for high altitude reconnaissance the aircraft has served the USAF, CIA, NASA, FEMA, and a few foreign air forces since the late 50’s. The long, slender wings created excellent lift at low speeds allowing the aircraft to soar at extremely high altitudes. Over the years the U-2 has been re-configured for a myriad different missions such as air sampling, camera orientation for satellites, and of course photography. In its current state the aircraft has gained several feet in length through the use of fuselage “plugs” to accommodate more advanced surveillance equipment and fuel as well as huge under wing pods that provide space for more of the same. With all of this weight and the wing configuration the challenge to the pilot in flight is great. The aircraft must fly inside what is referred to as the coffin corner. This is a roughly 10 knot window at its optimal airspeed. Too fast and the wings will rip off the aircraft. Too slow and the aircraft will enter into an uncontrollable spin. Not much is known about the missions the U-2 flies today; but it will have a place in our air arsenal for many years to come.


For the Modeler:  Still available at online auctions and garage sales everywhere this kit is a 1:48 Scale U2-C Spyplane Testors Model Kit #516 “Made in the USA” re-release of the venerable Hawk kit and as such has been around for quite some time. The copyright on this package is 2002, but I remember the kit being around many years before that. The kit consists of approximately 65 parts molded in a “soft” black plastic. This kit features an excellent selection of markings for a USAF version in dark and light gray camo, a CIA bird in all black, and a NASA example in white and blue. The markings are clear and in register with little carrier film. The kit also comes with a nice airframe dolly is included which will save the very awkward landing gear from having to support the weight of the finished model. It also comes with a standing pilot figure. Finished dimension are: L=12.5”  H (on cart)=4.5”  Wingspan=20”.


Covered in this Review:  If you want to perfect your build; basic construction; preparing parts for better finishing; optional parts considerations; alternate assembly sequence suggestions for fit and ease of finishing; paint and adhesive selections and applications; detailing the cockpit tub: decal preparation and application; dealing with the extensive flash of old kits; finishing the glue joints on large assemblies; construction and finishing of the dolly; filling fuselage and wing gaps; canopy masking and finishing; adding a realistic finish to the landing gear; detailing the air brakes are all fully examined in this pictorial 12 page, full-color Step-by-Step review in PDF format.


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