|KIT:||Anigrand 1/72 Platt LePage XR-1/1A|
|PRICE:||$41.00 from Nostalgic Plastic (free US shipping)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin kit with vacuformed transparencies|
In 1937, two engineers, LaurenceLePage and Havilland Platt traveled to Germany to view the Focke-Agielis FA-61 tandem-rotor helicopter. There they obtained an option to build this helicopter in the US, but deteriorating conditions between the US and Germany prevented the deal from going through.
After their return to the US, they formed Platt LePage Aircraft Company and started to develop their own tandem rotor design, the PL-1. This new aircraft interested the USAAF, which advised them to enter a military helicopter competition. The PL-1 was redesigned to meet military requirements and was given the new rotary wing category's first designation, XR-1.
First flight of the XR-1 was in 1941. Control system problems caused numerous delays. Modifications were made and a second prototype, the XR-1A was built. However, in 1955 the Sikorsky R-4 was named the winner of the competition. The USAAF cancelled all contracts with Platt LePage, with resulted in the closing of the company. Platt LePage subsequently sold their design to McDonnell, resulting in the XHJD-1 Whirlaway.
Packaged in their usual very sturdy box and molded in the usual tan resin, the kit is also compartmentalized in a thicker than usual plastic package. This packaging puts all the smaller bits in separate honeycombs from the bigger bits, keeping them from being broken during transit.
The kit itself looks to be cleaner than the norm with only one air pocket noticed in the rudder trailing edge. I didn't see any other glitches in the parts I left in the bag either. I would hope this means that QA is improving. Since most of this aircraft is fabric covered, there is little in the way of panel lines. The two large outrigger assemblies are nicely done and include pegs that fit into holes in the fuselage for a positive alignment. The rotor heads are convincing to all but the big-time rotor-head and there is room for additional bits if one has the references. The blades are well formed as well. A rather complex set of vacuformed bits are provided (again, only one set) as the entire nose of this aircraft is clear. You are provided with both nose transparencies for the XR-1 and the updated XR-1A so you have a choice of which one to do.
Instructions are the norm with a short history, parts list and exploded view on one side and decal/painting guide on the other. Both of these are in OD over Neutral Grey. A common sheet with insignia is provided with serials on two smaller sheets. Anigrand decals are a bit thicker than the norm, but stick quite well and will eventually succumb to strong setting solutions, though it may take several applications!
I'm not sure how well helicopters sell, but this is a more unusual one that I've never seen kitted anywhere. The subject is most unusual and if you are comfortable with doing simpler resin kits, this one should not be a problem for you.
My thanks to Nostalgic Plastic/Anigrand USA for the review sample. Get yours on line and pay no shipping in the US.
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