SR-71 model with detailed J58 engines (2024)

Kit Reviews
Academy 1627, 1642
A poor copy of the Hasegawa kit. A write-off. The only thing going for it is the undercarriage & fins. Everything else is completely incorrect. The fuselage has a pronounced ficticious sag underneath the rear portion, resembling a full nappy, and there is an irreparable kink in the top spine. There is also an incorrect kink of the fuselage in cross-section that results in an overly-thick chine edge. The wing is too thick. The fillets are incorrect. The wing-to-fuselage fillet is a complete confused mish-mash. The co*ckpit hump, if there is one, is a confused mass of contours more resembling the A-12. The sides of canopy walls are too steeply sloped. There is no characteristic taper on the upper section of the engine nacelles. The after-burner holders are admittedly good. The wing corogations, although finely molded, are crude and incorrect. The decals suffer from having white markings printed in cream.

Hasegawa K016X, K127
Finely moulded, the underside of the fuselage in cross-section goes straight up to the chine line resulting in a fine edge, but it has the ficticious rear fuselage sag, and the co*ckpit canopy hump is not pronounced enough. The canopy is too slender in cross section. The wingtip camber is too subtle. The tooling has the largest diameter nacelles (28mm) by a country mile, which affects the cut-off angle for the rear inner elevons. The wing trailing edge closely matches the drawings, as does span. Fuselage diameter is undersize compared to the drawing supplied in the original Aerofax Minigraph book (scaled up to 1/72), but substantially longer (approx 10mm not including the pitot tube). The nose RWR's are incorrect. The vertical fins have correct curved tips. The most expensive kit.

Italeri 145
Marketed as an SR-71A/B, this kit is much closer to an A-12, on account of its nose shape and the inclusion of a D-21 drone. Overall dimensions are accurate. The kit appears to have well defined wingtip camber (the best of any kit), correct tapered upper nacelles, and offers a two seat option, as well as camera ports and the best quality decals. It also has the most complete data stencilling of any decal sheet apart from the new Revell release. The nose is closer to an A-12 rather than the SR-71: it is too shallow for an SR-71 and has the gradual taper in plan view associated with the A-12. The nose RWR's are incorrect. The canopy area closely matches A-12 contours. The front nose section fits badly. The under rear fuselage has the dreaded sag aft of the rear wheel well bays. The upper rear fuselage tapers abruptly into a cone. There is a slight aberration on the forward upper fuselage spine. The under-fuselage upsweep is too shallow in cross-section. The wing corrogations are sub-standard, but the flying edges are very sharp and crisp. It has a slender wing thickness probably closer to the correct thickness than any other kit. The diameter of the nacelles (25.5mm) lies between that of the Monogram kit and Hasegawa. The vertical fin cap is straight- it should be slightly curved. The jet nozzles are incorrectly tapered, but the petals are the only ones to have interior ribbing detail, out of all the kits, and are closest to the real thing. The intake cones are sharp. It has raised panel detail, an open refuelling receptacle, and separate parts for mainwheel heat shields. The front wheel well is overly shallow, but it has good undercarriage doors and instrument panels. Acceptable two-part seats. This kit should have been marketed as the A-12, as the SR-71 never carried the D-21.

This tooling has a straight fuselage spine, no sag underneath the rear fuselage, good wing fillets, good wheel wells, and the most accurate co*ckpit hump of all, but a slight diameter bulge around the co*ckpit area results in the canopy sides being a touch too gently sloped. It has correct nose RWR's, the best of any kit. Engine nacelle taper is too subtle, but the wingtip camber is passable. A D-21 drone is included, which is inaccurate for an SR-71. The fuselage chine edge has a slight curve in plan form, it should be dead straight. The engine nacelles may be a touch too narrow in diameter (25mm). The vertical fins have straight caps, they should be slightly curved; also they have strange square bulges on the outer surface which are incorrect and should be removed. The bottom of one fin has the characteristic double kink, other only has one. The outer wing fillet goes all the way to the engine nozzle. Engine nozzles are more closed (tapered) than on the Academy kit. This kit has very good wing corrogations, the best of the lot. It has raised panel lines. The flying edges are too thick. Thick wing. Very good undercarriage and undercarriage doors. It includes pilot figures with pressure helmets. Very good side consoles, the best internal detail of any kit. This is a good representation of the production SR-71. Recommended as the best kit of an SR-71. The latest Revell re-release features spectacular boxart and includes crisply printed decals as listed above with a matt finish and a substantial amount of stencilling. The decals are perfectly on register but the red is a little too dark, being a burgundy colour rather than standard red.

The best model of a Blackbird would use the Monogram tooling as a basis, substituting Italeri parts to refine and/or make various versions as required. See below for parts breakdown. A passable A-12 could be made from the Italeri tooling, but we would suggest that using the Monogram kit as a basis for all versions would be preferable. Refer to the 2003 edition of the Aerofax book and Walkaround No 32 for the best drawings. We believe that such a venerable aircraft deserves better- consquently we have set up a petition to lobby Tamiya to give us the definitive Blackbird tooling. If you agree, please take a moment to sign our

An interesting note on colour is that the Squadron Signal 'In Action' book quotes the spec as being FS 35402 Indigo Blue, which led to speculation that the SR-71's may have been very dark blue when first painted, as opposed to black. The Federal Standard FS 595B colour chip book lists no such colour, however. The most likely spec to have led to that report is FS 35042, which is a very dark cold grey, amost black. So it seems whoever wrote of that first spec made a typo. The Blackbird is in fact black, which has been confirmed by close inspection in person.

SR-71 model with detailed J58 engines (2024)
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