KIT: Anigrand Craftworks 1/72 XP-81
KIT #: AA-2049
PRICE: $49.00 from Nostalgic Plastic. Free US Shipping
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin short run kit with vac canopy


In 1943, USAAF issued a specification for a long-range jet powered fighter which could be flight across the Pacific to escort bombers to Japan. Consolidated Vultee Aircraft (Convair) responded with the new design which was powered by a combination of the turboprop and jet engine units, while Navy was also working on the same theory with the Curtiss XF15C-1 and the Ryan FR-1. The configuration was a nose mounted turboprop engine used for cruising flight to solve high fuel consumption problem, and a tail mounted jet engine used for high speed combat. In 1944, two prototypes were ordered and designated XP-81. First flight was on February 1945, the performance from the under-powered turboprop engine was disappointing. After Guam and Saipan islands were captured, the need for a long-range fighter had eliminated. The XP-81 development was slowing down and the entire program was terminated in 1947.


This is another winner from Anigrand. Molded in their usual buff resin, this one is typical with slightly large engraved panel lines and a few molding glitches. In addition to a few air bubbles on the fuselage, one wing tip houses a very large one just under the surface, so much care will be needed to prevent opening this up during sanding. A few air bubble 'notches are also found on the wing edges and on the underside as well. The one wing I mentioned has a curious section with different colored resin, almost as if there was a patch. I also found some resin residue inside the intakes and exhaust of the fuselage. These will have to be cleaned out and is a good reason why one should have a battery powered motor drill for resin kits.

The above just shows that with very short run resin kits, the overall quality of the end product isn't totally constant from one kit to the next. Each of these are basically hand made and mold life is often as few as a hundred or even less. This is why one can't be too harsh about these things. They are generally expected and I have to tell you, Anigrand is one of the better companies. I've bought some resin kits that to build them will be barely a step above scratch-building!

The smaller bits are all in superb shape without any short shot areas, air bubbles or other mold glitches. I can also report that, unlike the XP-58, the spinner is drilled for four blades! The rest of the kit is typical Anigrand with detailed wheel wells, a nice seat and control stick for the cockpit, and hopefully enough room in the nose for weight as this one will be a tail-sitter without it.

We are given the usual Anigrand instruction sheet with short history, photo, exploded view and parts list on one side. The other is a nicely drawn three view with the color information and painting instructions. Decals are nicely done and it seems to me that part of these are for another kit, but no matter as all the XP-81 stuff is there. As with so many prototypes, it is in unpainted metal so you need to have your metallic painting skills well honed.


What can I say? Yet another superb US prototype. I'm really excited about this one and look forward to building it. It shouldn't be beyond the skills of most modelers and would be a good introduction to full resin kits. Anigrand kits fit well and though they do need a bit of modeling skill, they make into superb replicas, as you can see by the many I've done over the years. One thing for sure, when they are gone, they are gone!

January 2006

Thank you to Nostalgic Plastic the Anigrand USA importer for the review kit.

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