What-If to Operational UCAV

They all start with a concept and a vision. Whether you design state of the art UCAVs for the Navy or build What-Ifs scale models.

The Northrop X-47B made its maiden flight over Edwards AFB, CA recently to test its airworthiness and practicality of becoming the first tailless, fighter sized and pilotless aircraft to operate from an aircraft carrier. (Edited photo. Photo courtesy of Northrop.)

You too can create such conceptual aircraft right at your own work bench. One of the reasons I keep all of the spare parts left over from my projects and those discarded by others is to build up a sizable salvage yard of parts to do just this.

Drones, UCAV or RPVs are fairly easy to create. Here are a couple of my creations some which have been seen here before. They are simple yet portray a sense of advanced technology like that seen in the X-47B.

Engineers start with a sheet of paper or a computer design program. Modelers use a different approach, some will use a sketch but some like myself just start laying out the pieces from the spares like a puzzle to see how and what will work best.

The goal is to make the subject as plausible as possible. Then focus on the level of detailing one wants to to give the model.  Sometime simple is best, letting perception speak volumes in lieu of hard detail.

So are you ready to come up with the next greatest achievement in an unmanned aerial platform? Is that stash of spare parts calling you begging to be turned into something? Maybe now you’ll have some incentive to create a Phoenix from the scrap. Let your imagination take you and your hobby into the future!


  1. Yup, I’ve raided my parts box to make an individual model or display. I use it all the time for dioramas, etc. Just did several weapons in the same scale, glued them to a wood backing and framed em. Came out pretty good, at least I’m satisfied with it.


    Ron ‘Big Doc’ Smith

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