Kit: Bell X-2

Scale: 1/72

Kit Number: 001

Manufacturer: Maintrack Project X

Price: Unknown, I got the kit minus metal and decals in a bag for $2.00

Media: Vacuformed plastic with white metal parts

Decals : one version

Date of Review: 15 June, 1997

Comments: I have been fascinated by the X planes ever since seeing a William Holden movie in the late 1950's.  I cannot remember the name of the movie, but it had two aircraft in it that fascinated me.  One was the XB-51 (of which I had a wooden model made when I was in the Philippines in 1979), and the other was the Bell X-2.  While it was the first aircraft to go three times the speed of sound, it was also a killer and, unlike other X craft, none survived, all of them having been destroyed in crashes during the program.

When I saw this kit in a bag at an IPMS swap meet, I grabbed it and then proceeded to find out who made it (no instructions, either).  I found out it was a Maintrack kit, so wrote to Maintrack requesting the decal sheet.  Maintrack graciously sent me a new sheet without charge.  Buy Maintrack kits!  

The kit is simplicity to the max.  The vacuformed part consists of ten parts: fuselage halves, upper and lower wing halves (right and left), and upper and lower horizontal stabilizers (right and left). All you need to do is remove the bits, sand them down and glue them together. The only part not included is the wing fence that is cut from thin card. There is no interior and no transparencies.  There is no need as the windows are so small that nothing can be seen of the interior.  Once the airframe is glued together, it is time to fabricate the missing metal parts.  I am not sure exactly what was included, but I would imagine it was a landing skid with actuating rods, the nose gear and wheels, and the engine exhaust nozzles with fuel dump pipe.  Since I had already determined this was to be a stand model, I didn't worry about the landing gear so only had to fabricate the rocket nozzles and fuel dump pipe.  The pipe was duplicated with Contrail tubing and then fared into the fuselage according to some photos I had.  The exhaust nozzles were made by cutting the tips off some F-104 underwing tanks.

Painting was really tough as the aircraft is overall gloss white with a black antiglare panel.  This panel also covers most of the cockpit canopy.  The exhaust were painted burnt metal and the fuel dump pipe was covered with Bare-Metal foil.  Finally, a straight pin was inserted in the nose as the instrumentation probe.  Maintrack's decals are unusual in that they must be first carefully cut out of the sheet, placed on the model, and then when it is in the right place, the top of the decal is saturated with water and the paper covering the top of the decal is then carefully removed.  This fixes the decal in place.  It works very well, however, if the decal is not in the right place, it is impossible to move it.

The results worked out very well.  It is a highly recommended kit, especially if it is your first vacuform.

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