Anigrand 1/144 Lifting Bodies set
One option per subject
Hong Kong is the gift that just keeps giving. Yum cha, the Star Ferry,
a supremely efficient airport, bbq pork buns, miles of hilly hiking
trails, and above all a feisty and friendly populace with a very
endearing independent streak. The list goes on.
If all that's not enough for you (fussy, huh?) then add Anigrand
Craftswork to the list and maybe that'll tip the balance.
I just received, direct from Anigrand in Hong Kong (but available from
Nostalgic Plastic in the USA), this cool little 1/144 collection of
"lifting bodies". What are they, I hear you ask? Well, as wikipedia
puts it, if a flying wing (think B-2 or YB-49) is basically a plane
with no fuselage, then a lifting body is basically a plane with no
These ones in particular were designed and built in the late 50s and
early 60s. The goal was to see whether a spacecraft could be designed
to fly back down to earth rather than plummeting like a stone until
the chutes popped out. Wings weren't much help in this scenario, so
various fuselage shapes were tested to see how much lift they could
Later on, the idea was tried again with the HL-20 Personal Launch
System, also included in this kit, but which never flew.
The lifting bodies in this "compile-set" (another great thing I love
about Hong Kong is the cool and quirky way they use English) are the:
Northrop M2-F2: 16 flights, one of which ended up on the opening
credits of the "6 Million Dollar Man" thanks to a spectacular crash
(the pilot survived)
Northrop HL-10: 37 flights, including one to 90,000ft and another to
Mach 1.86 - highest and fastest on the lifting body program
Martin Marietta X-24A: 28 test flights; validated the concept that the
lifting body could glide back to earth
Martin Marietta X-24B: rebuilt -24A in a new shape, 36 flights, proved
accurate unpowered landings were feasible.
NASA HL-20 PLV: Proposal that reached mock-up stage. Would have
allowed for crew transport to and from space stations.
Martin X-23A Prime: tiny unmanned lifting body used to test effects of
manouvering during re-entry.
This is my first ever resin kit so my expectations were based on
reviews of resin kits from various manufacturers including Anigrand.
Packed in separate little plastic bags (the kind I've heard they use
for small quantities of illicit substances) the kits come in a sturdy
top-opening and resealing cardboard box.
The first thing to note is that this is small. The X-23A Prime is one
piece, and about half the size of a 1/72 Mk 82 bomb. Mine had a
damaged tailfin, but the broken piece is still in the plastic bag. The
largest one is the X-24B and it is about half the length of a 1/72
Each of the larger kits (all but the wincy one-piece X-23) consists of
a single-piece fuselage, and then various pieces for the winglets or
tailfins, wheels, wheelbay doors, and associated little bits and
pieces. A separate bag contains the clear parts for all the kits that
From my very limited experience with resin kits, these ones seem to be
nicely moulded. I haven't inspected them closely for the surface
bubbles that I understand resin sometimes suffers from, but a cursory
glance (and touch) suggests that won't be too much of a problem. There
are nicely engraved panel lines on each kit. Some of them have some
pretty decent seams or moulding artifacts that will take some sanding
down (I'm meant to use a mask, right? Yes, says the crew on the
Smaller parts seem to be pretty nicely done and are certainly no worse
than many injected kits in this scale.
My kit came with two decal sheets and the Anigrand website allows you
to order an extra one for an extra buck. There are enough markings to
make each model. Some of the markings are very small. The Editor says
in his other previews that Anigrand decals are good but don't respond
to solutions. We'll see how Mr Mark Softer takes that challenge...
Interesting subject and I think it will be a good way to try resin
because the fuselages are all one-piece. Not exactly cheap but I
suppose you do get five models (six if you count the miniscule X-23)
so they work out at about 12 bucks a pop. I look forward to building
these and seeing how they work out.
I hope so because then I will have yet another excuse to spend some
quality time in one of my favourite cities - Hong Kong.
My own personal fandom for Hong Kong, and wikipedia.
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