ICM 1/48 US Aerial Target Drones (48399)

Today I am going to tell you more about ICM 1/48 US Aerial Target Drones (48399). As the name suggests, one box carries two models together. Those drones might be familiar as they were released separately before, but now we get drone combo set. There are 29 parts for KDA-1 and 36 parts for BQM-34A. Overall packaging is typical for this brand, so all parts are separated into several bags. Let's open them and take a look first in the video-review below.
By the way, here you can read review with a bit bigger combo with KDA-1 drone.
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The Ryan KDA-1 Firebee: A Pioneering Remote Target Drone

The Ryan KDA-1 Firebee, also known as the Q-2A for the US Air Force, holds a significant place in aviation history as one of the first jet-powered drone aircraft. Developed in the late 1940s by the Ryan Aeronautical Company, the Firebee revolutionized target practice for military pilots.

From Humble Beginnings to Widespread Use:

The KDA-1 originated from a US Air Force request for a jet-powered drone to replace aging propeller-driven target aircraft. Ryan delivered the first prototype, the XQ-2, in 1951. This initial model, powered by a small turbojet engine, paved the way for the KDA-1 and subsequent variants. The KDA-1 was specifically designed for the US Navy, while the Air Force received the Q-2A variant with slightly increased engine power. The US Army also adopted a variant designated XM21.

Design and Functionality:

The KDA-1 was a relatively simple yet effective design. Its slender fuselage housed the turbojet engine, while the wings provided lift and stability. Unlike modern drones, it wasn't fully autonomous. Instead, it was radio-controlled from a ground station, allowing for precise maneuvering during target practice exercises. Additionally, some variants could be equipped with cameras to record pilot performance during training missions.

Legacy of the Firebee:

The KDA-1 and its successors, collectively known as the Firebee series, proved highly successful. They offered a realistic and challenging target for fighter pilots, significantly improving training effectiveness. The Firebee series remained in active service for several decades, eventually being phased out in the late 20th century. However, the KDA-1's legacy lives on, having pioneered the use of jet-powered drones in military applications and paving the way for the sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used today.

Watch this video-review where I show all parts even closer.

I added long note about this drone, so let's start with it. As you can see, first frame carries almost all necessary parts excluding the special stand. Note that whole fuselage should be glued out of two halves.

Special transport stand comes on the next smaller frame. This drone was attached with help of special balance hooks, so it is a good idea to check your reference materials.

Next one is BQM-34A in the same scale. Here we have a bit more sophisticated design, and I would recommend to be careful with the nose section. There are guiding pins inside which would help with alignment.

Again the special transport stand comes on the second frame. Overall design and parts division should be easy to assemble together.

There is no mention on where decals were printed, but the quality looks great out of the box. I also like the fact that each of drones will get several marking options.

Assembly manual is typical for this brand. You can check all pages in the video-review.

In conclusion, the ICM 1/48 US Aerial Target Drones (48399) kit offers a unique and interesting subject for scale modelers. The inclusion of both the KDA-1 and BQM-34A drone variants provides versatility, allowing you to choose the version that best suits your interests. The kit itself boasts good detail and includes options for displaying the drones on trolleys or suspended from aircraft. While some minor modifications might be necessary for historical accuracy with markings, the reasonable price and potential for diorama applications make this kit an attractive option for both beginners and experienced modelers looking to add something different to their collection.
Get this and other kits in Modelimex webshop.


  • Nice molding quality
  • Clever parts division
  • Great decals for several options


  • Might be a bit tricky for beginners

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