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Thursday, March 15, 2018

RS Models XP-79

Those of you who have been occasionally stopping by this blog for a while will have realized that I enjoy the side road of aviation known as experimental aircraft. I find them more interesting, sometimes, than planes that actually made it into production. The current completion is a good example of that. It is the Northrop XP-79, another in the long series of Jack Northrop’s flying wings.

At one time planned to be rocket powered (ala the Me-163), it was eventually installed with two early Westinghouse turbojets. It followed a proof of concept test aircraft, the MX-334. The XP-79 had its problems during testing, and was cancelled shortly after the first prototype had a fatal crash.

The kit is from RS Models. I have to admit I am growing to like this brand of kit; they combine interesting types with good engineering (even if they are at the upper limit of what could be considered short-run). As you can imagine with a flying wing, parts count is limited, though that doesn’t mean a trouble-free build.

The major point of contention is the canopy. I had a hell of a time getting it masked and then attached to the model. The canopy is in two parts, meaning a glue seam between clear parts. I used Clearfix in an attempt to avoid fogging. That worked out fine, but in exchange I sort of bollocksed up the masking job, leading to ragged edges and rather uneven lines. Some of this is no doubt chalked up to native impatience.

The canopy isn’t the only danger zone. The landing gear don’t have great spots to anchor them, and for a plane this small it has an absolute forest of gear doors. Some of them are supposed to be flush with the lower surface, but I just couldn’t get them properly mounted. Maybe their hydraulics bled down and the doors lowered accordingly. At least that’s my story.

I always enjoy finishing an unusual model, though I suspect this one won’t be in the front row of the display case.

This is completed aircraft #486 (3 aircraft, 0 ordnance, 0 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in January of 2018.

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