Anigrand 1/144 XF-12 'Rainbow'
|KIT:||Anigrand 1/144 XF-12 'Rainbow'|
|PRICE:||$78.00 from www.NostalgicPlastic.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes kits of the F-2A, XF-11 and F-15A Reporter|
In 1943, the USAAF had an urgent need to fly photo-reconnaissance missions over the Pacific Theater to identify Japanese positions and movements. But its airfields were far too distant for the medium-range planes to make the round trip. Its only recourse was to issue a request for a new long-range, high altitude reconnaissance plane capable of the long-endurance missions the Pacific War required. In March 1944, Republic Aircraft responded to the USAAF by proposing to modify its experimental civilian RC-2 transport to the specifications. The proposal was accepted and Republic received an order for two prototypes which designated XF-12. Its competitor was the Hughes XF-11. While the Rainbow was under development, the USAAF converted several B-29 bombers into recon aircraft, reclassifying them as F-13s. Even after the war, Republic continued to develop the Rainbow, changing its designation from the XF-12 ("F" for "Photo" instead of the more logical 'P' which was already being used for 'Pursuit/Fighter') to the XR-12 ("R" for "Reconnaissance"). The first XR-12 made its maiden flight in February 1947. Its performance was up to expectations, making it the fastest four piston-engine aircraft flying at the time. Development of the two prototypes continued until 1948 when the USAF canceled the program, choosing recce variants of existing B-29s and B-50s instead.
Many of us would have been delighted if the Rainbow had reached production as it has to be one of the five most beautiful aircraft to have ever graced the skies.
I, for one am very pleased that Anigrand has ventured more into 1/144 scale. In this way, they can produce some aircraft that, in 1/72, would be just too large for many modelers. Not only that, but when doing these 1/144 beauties, Anigrand adds in bonus aircraft. In the case of the XF-12 Rainbow, those bonus planes are the Hughes XF-11, Northrop F-15 Reporter, and a Beech C-45 (it is listed as an F-2A).
While the photo I have shown is from Anigrand's website, it does show what the parts layout is. The kit that I have is very nicely done with almost no molding glitches at all. I had to really look this time to find any of the usual air pockets. Each of the models is packed separately. The smaller ones in a little zip bag while the XF-12 is in the usual segmented poly bag. I did notice on the smaller aircraft that several of the parts had come adrift from the pour stubs by all the parts being in the same container. I also noticed that these planes will be major tail sitters and finding space for weight might be a bit of a challenge. Of course, this isn't a problem with the C-45.
Each of the kits comes with the main transparency done in clear resin. This is a bit thick, but they have well defined frame lines to assist with masking. As there is basically nothing to be seen in the cockpits, the thickness isn't really an issue. The nose transparencies for the XF-12 Rainbow are an upper and lower half, which makes assembly a lot easier than when I did the 1/72 version. The smaller scale also means that each fuselage half is a single piece and the nacelles are molded in with the wing. Probably the most difficult part of the builds will be getting the small prop blades into the spinners.
A couple of notes on the C-45 as it has some interesting design aspects. First of all, few if any C-45s had prop spinners so you may well want to scratch build some different hubs. Having said that, the markings for the C-45 are pre-war with a red dot in the center of the star and red and white tail stripes. I'm thinking that a warbird may well have been the impetus for these markings, but I'll never say never as when I do, someone comes up with a photo! The second is that the entire upper fuselage of this plane is the clear part. Requires some careful sanding and filling for a good fit, but means that you'll have clear cabin windows if you are careful. This is good as this particular kit comes with a cabin full of seats to put in there. There are also cockpit seats for the XF-12, but not for the other two.
Instructions are the ones that are a photo of the model from a couple of angles with the parts listed. This time, the photos are easy to see as are the parts placements. Two identical decal sheets are provided to give you the various markings you need. For the most part they only need insignia and serials. The Anigrand decals are a tad thick, but work well. All of these planes are unpainted metal, though there is no law that says you can't do a 'what if' version.
So there you have it. Not only one of the most graceful planes to ever take to the air, but three highly desirable additional aircraft to go along with it. All at what is a bargain price for a short run resin kit. Since popular subjects like this tend to sell quickly, I do suggest picking yours up at the first opportunity.
You can get this beauty at www.NostalgicPlastic.com and pay no shipping in the US or Canada.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly , please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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