|KIT:||Anigrand Craftworks 1/72 Convair XB-46|
|PRICE:||$85.00 from Nostalgic Plastic (Free US Shipping)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin kit with vac canopy|
In 1944, with the success of the German jet bomber Ar-234, U.S. war department was aware of aviation advance in the enemy. So a requirement for a new design of the jet bomber which tactical radius could cover 1000-miles was issued. Convair (Consolidated Vultee Aircraft) submitted the Model 109 mockup. It was approved and awarded contract for three prototypes which designated XB-46. Other designs in the competition included the North American XB-45, the Boeing XB-47 & the Martin XB-48. In fall of 1945, the funds for two XB-46 prototypes was transferred to Convair's other jet attacker project, the XA-44 while the first XB-46 was nearing completion. In August 1946, the B-45 was endorsed for immediate production as the threat from the Soviet Union was rising. The XB-46 was permitted for test purpose. In 1947, first flight was made and accepted by the Air Force but the program was cancelled in the same year. Further flight tests were occurred until 1949.
Molded in a nice buff resin, this is really a very large kit. In fact, it is so large that the fuselage has to be molded in four sections. Thankfully, these sections are keyed and as you can see from the test fit in the image, the fit is quite good. The long wings are divided into three sections with the engine pods providing the support needed between the center sections and the outer wings. On an aircraft that is this large, one is always concerned with stresses and the way this one is designed, it seems that there will be sufficient support once it is together. The tail planes and fin are butt joins. One may wish to drill holes for pins for these parts, though I've had little trouble with these kits in this regard.
Though the kit looks to be complex, inspection shows that it is really rather basic in its design and should not be a difficult build. I was particularly impressed with the lack of molding problems like air pockets and short formed pieces that have been a situation with earlier kits. While not totally free of these, it seems to me that there are fewer than I've seen in the past and that is a good thing. One set of transparencies is provided and while well formed, the frame lines are rather indistinct and somewhat difficult to see. I have noticed that these parts are now separately bagged, which is a nice touch. Thanks to the solid and rather large landing gear legs, I anticipate no problems from deformation of these parts over time due to weight, always a consideration when it comes to un-reinforced resin landing gear.
The instructions are basic, but perfectly adequate for a kit like this. One one side of a folded sheet are a short history, photo of the plane, parts list and exploded view of the kit. The other contains a painting and decal guide. The lone prototype was in unpainted metal. The decal sheet is well printed and consists of insignia and serial numbers, for the XB-46 carried no other markings. Those needing another decal sheet or set of transparencies can get them from Nostalgic plastic rather than have to order them from Hong Kong.
The XB-46 has to be one of the most graceful aircraft to take to the skies. It is great that Anigrand have chosen to produce a kit of this aircraft. It is one that should build well and be a real head-turner when shown to others. I'm very much looking forward to building this one.
Many thanks to for Nostalgic Plastic the review sample. Get yours direct.
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