Eduard 1/48 X-1
Enough to do one of four variants
To me, this aircraft is the real hero of the movie The Right Stuff. I'm sure by now that everyone knows the story of how Chuck Yeager flew the bullet-shaped X-1 to break the sound barrier over the Mojave Desert on October 14, 1947. Also how this information was not released until quite some time later in fear that it would somehow give the Russians an edge in the Cold War.
The X-1 was probably the first pure research aircraft built by the US whose only purpose was to go fast. In order to accomplish this, it was felt that the only way to get the required speed was by use of rocket engines. Much of the research into rocket power was pioneered by the Germans during World War Two, however there were a number of American scientists working on the same applications. Bell Aircraft was chosen to provide three aircraft for the attempt at the sound barrier. In order to do this the aircraft had to be devoid of unnecessary weight and it was felt that ground launching the aircraft would not allow sufficient fuel for the attempt. To this end a B-29 was specially modified to carry the X-1 to launch altitude. At that time the aircraft was dropped and, after firing its rocket motors, allowed to speed away.
After success at the sound barrier, additional X-1s were built and older ones modified to perform other tasks. Yeager flew the much-improved X-1A to a speed of 2,500 mph, all in an airframe with straight wings! Yeager named his aircraft Glamorous Glennis after his wife and after a number of P-51s that carried the same name during the war. This historic aircraft is now in the main hall of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC along with the Wright Flyer and Apollo 11.
Eduard's kit of the X-1 is the first really good one in 1/48 scale. Included in the Profipack version are resin bits to replace the wheels and most of the cockpit as well as etched metal parts for at least three different versions of the X-1. Apparently there were instrument panel changes and those are taken care of with this set. There are four distinct color schemes provided for on the decal sheet. Two of them are orange overall, one white and one orange with white tail and fuselage sections. A very nice touch for this kit is the inclusion of an injected plastic canopy. Frankly, I'm not very good with vacuform canopies as I find there is little mating surface, making them rather fragile, so this is a nice surprise.
The plastic is typical Eduard in that it has fine engraved detailing and is a bit softer than normal, making gluing and sanding much easier. There is no flash on any of the parts that I could see and the resin pieces are very well done. The decal sheet is printed by Propagteam, so you know the quality is good and they are super thin. It will be interesting to see how the white of the national insignia holds up to the orange background. Most decals have trouble with intense colors like orange and red. In addition to the optional decals and instrument panels, Eduard has supplied both types of horizontal stabilizer; one with the external hinges and one without as used later in the program.
The instruction sheet is eight pages. The first page is a brief history of the X-1. Page two is a parts breakdown and color guide. The next two are pictorial building instructions. One has the choice of not using the photoetched or resin bits, but frankly, you would be missing a lot should you decide not to use them. Their locations in the aircraft are shown in smaller inset boxes, leaving no doubt to their location. Finally, the last four pages are used to show the different color schemes available in the kit.
I'm not sure what bits make up the Profipack version, but I would guess that it is the resin, photo-etch and different decal options. Overall it looks like a very good kit. Look for a build-up review in the near future.
Many thanks to the fine folks atSquadron, for supplying the review kit