Attic 1/48 Have Blue
The Lockheed Have Blue was the code-name for Lockheed's "proof of concept" (i.e. prototype) Stealth Fighter program that preceded the F-117 Nighthawk production stealth aircraft project. Designed by Lockheed Advanced Development Programs, now Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs, better known as Skunk Works, Have Blue was developed at the top-secret Area 51 base near Rachel, Nevada. The Have Blue was the first fixed-wing aircraft designed from an electrical engineering (rather than an aerodynamic) perspective. The aircraft's plate-like, faceted shape was designed to deflect electromagnetic waves, greatly reducing its radar signature.
Have Blue planes were built to test both the flight dynamics and radar returns
of the stealth concept. These prototypes flew at
During testing of the design, the aircraft was flown near (~100 miles away) to an army radar system, followed at some significant distance by a spotter plane; over a preplanned flight path. The cover story for the technology was that a black box in the nose of the aircraft was able to deflect the radar; whereas obviously the shape of the aircraft did all the real work. Radar only managed to detect the spotter plane; a soldier placed on the ground directly under the flight path had to witness the weird looking plane to verify that the flight had occurred.
The design was inherently unstable about all three axes, control being fly-by-wire adapted from the F-16's single-axis fly-by-wire system. Both aircraft were ultimately lost in the course of testing, the first from a hard landing incident which resulted in the gear being jammed in semi-retracted position and the pilot ultimately being ordered to eject after attempts to persuade the gear to lower and lock proved unsuccessful. The second was the result of an engine fire which severed hydraulic lines, forcing the pilot to eject. The debris from both aircraft was secretly buried somewhere within the Nellis complex.
This kit consists of 15 resin pieces, 8 styrene plastic gear doors, a vac canopy, and a 6-page instruction booklet and color reference. The resin castings in my copy are rough at best and will require lots of clean up. There are no decals provided and the two prototypes had no markings on them except for the red ejection seat triangle on both sides of the cockpit. A quick clean up of the parts and a rough test fit showed lots of problems areas. First the cockpit tub takes little modifications to fit into the upper fuselage but the instrument panel is too large and will not fit under the cowling. So one will need to be scratch build. Not a big problem as for this plane it was a simple and basic panel that only needed to give the pilot basic flight information. Attic provided an ACES II ejection seat with the kit but I do not believe that the two Have Blue aircraft were equipped with them.
The two main fuselage halves are very thick on the outer leading edges of the wings and the exhaust area will need a lot of attention.
Finally the landing gear in my copy are pretty much a loss. Clean up showed them to be full of holes. But since this aircraft was built with “off the shelf” parts landing gear suitable for this plane should be easily obtained.
All in all this is not a bad kit. With some work and patience I believe that this model can be made up into a good representation of the plane that first lead the way to the F-117A. I do recommend this kit to experienced modelers only.
Thanks to and DLV Company for the review kit. You can find Italeri kits at your favorite hobby shop or on-line at www.testors.com
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