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1/48 Testors SR-71 Blackbird

by Ed Fuquay


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This is definitely the "kit from hell"...maybe that is because I do not build too many jet models. The fit is pretty marginal and the level of detail is pretty poor.  However Testor's provides you with a great instruction booklet and excellent decals. The three view drawings are superb and very helpful while re-escribing the panel lines. The large fuselage assemblies need to be reinforced, as they are very easy to compress and break your glue seams. I used a 3/4" Birch plywood beam and epoxied it inside the fuselage.

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I re-scribed every panel line, and I had to add and relocate some. It took me a while, but I think it was well worth it. I replaced the kit's cockpits and wheels with resin replacement parts from True Details. The seats are very nice and the tubs look good, but the manufacturer warns you that they are not accurate, as when they made them these parts of the airplane remained a secret and their product is just  an "educated guess". They look good, much better than the ones provided in the kit. The cockpit and seat details were first primed with Modelmaster's Dark Gull Gray and the detailing was done using Modelmaster's acrylics. I will detail my cockpits from now on only using these acrylic paints. They just flow from the brush to where you want them with such ease!

This model has a lot of fit problems and very large gaps are the obvious result. I filled them using automotive glazing putty and spent about 50% of the total construction time wet sanding the entire model. I painted it with Testor's gloss black enamel  mixed with a little gloss white to give it a faded appearance. I then shaded the  panel lines with straight gloss black. I applied the decals on the gloss finish and sealed them using Modelmaster's Metalizer Sealer. Once it dried I applied a dusting of "Dullcote" ("Doughnutcote" as I call it) to give it a satin finish. I am very satisfied with the model. I made a diorama setting for it to top it off. Once again happy modeling,

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Photos and text by Ed Fuquay

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