|KIT:||Anigrand Craftworks 1/72 D.558-3 Skyflash|
|PRICE:||$33.00 from Nostalgic Plastic (free US shipping)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run resin kit with vac canopy|
In the early 1950's, high-speed flight research was being done by different agencies, the NACA's hypersonic research, the Air Force's Project 1226, and the Navy's D-558 program. In 1954, a Langley team from NACA gathered those similar researches from military services and aerospace industries, combined with the Air Force and Navy to launch the new "Project 1226" competition. As the Navy liked to keep in the 'space race' and Douglas was interested in building future manned spaceplanes, the D-558-3 Skyflash (Model 684) design was sponsored by Navy to enter the competition. The D-558-3 was designed to be able to install whatever rocket engine was selected by NACA, and to be air-launch from a Boeing B-50. In 1955, while the Navy decided to save the development cost and no longer participate, NACA and the Air Force chose the North American proposal as the winner of the competition. This aircraft became the famed X-15 while the D.558-3 disappeared into the dust of the past.
This is the thired of the triumvirate of Douglas experimental aircraft, and probably the most unusual and interesting. It bares more than a passing resemblance to the X-15 as it was designed to basically the same parameters as the North American version.
Molded in Anigrand's usual tan resin with large engraved panel lines, this one has little in the way of molding glitches, thanks as much to the relatively thick resin flight surfaces. There is space in the nose for weight as it will be needed on this one. The cockpit is little more than a generic seat and a straight stick and an instrument panel. I was impressed by the level of detailing in the main gear wells as I'm used to just some approximate bracing and there is more to it than that. One vacuformed canopy is provided, with window openings so small as to make little of the interior visible. Anigrand does provide a single rocket nozzle, though I'm sure that had the XLR-11 and later the XLR-99 been installed the rear would have looked quite different.
Instructions are the usual exploded view, parts list and history on one side with markings and painting guide on the other. More than adequate for building the kit and in this case, since it never got beyond the drawing board, you can use the markings provided with no problems at all concerning historical actualities. With other X-craft, the markings were usually in a constant state of flux throughout their actual useable lifetimes.
OK, this is yet another great kit for the X-Plane crowd. Not only that but the 'what if' crowd can also have a go at it if they may wish to do some sort of Air Force hypersonic interceptor.
An outstanding reference on this aircraft is Specialty Press' "Skystreak, Skyrocket and Stiletto" that was published last year.
Many thanks to Nostalgic Plastic, the US importer, for the review kit.
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