Anigrand 1/72 XF-103 Thunderwarrior
|Scott Van Aken|
|Resin kit with vac canopy|
From the USAF Museum comes this information on the XF-103:
"The XF-103 was developed as a high-speed high-altitude aircraft specifically designed to intercept incoming enemy bombers. The XF-103 was proposed in the same contract competition that resulted in the Convair F-102--Project MX-1554 Interceptor Fighter Airplane. The Republic design, Model AP-57, underwent a design performance evaluation conducted by the Air Material Command (AMC). The results showed an estimated top speed of 1438 knots. A limiting Mach number of 3.0 was quoted due to excessive (estimated) turbine inlet air temperature. The Republic AP-57 design was ranked 8th out of 9 entries for design. The only aircraft scoring lower (as a design) was the Consolidated-Vultee (i.e. initial F-102 design) entry.
The USAF canceled the XF-103 development contract on 21 August, 1957 when the aircraft was in the mock-up phase.
Technical Evaluation - MX-1554
Section II (page 19)
Republic Model AP-57
27 March 1951 (Document # 51S-43239-A)
The Republic Model AP-57 has a Delta wing swept-back 55 degrees at the leading edge and incorporates a variable incidence feature. The horizontal tail is of the Delta configuration with a sweep-back angle of 60 degrees at the leading edge. The alighting gear is of the tricycle type and retracts into the fuselage. The turbo-jet is a Wright Aeronautical Corporation XJ-67-W-1 power plant with afterburner. A Ferri type two-dimensional engine air inlet is used. The thrust of the turbo-jet engine is limited at high Mach numbers by the allowable turbine inlet temperature. The air bypasses the engine compressor and turbine, and using the afterburner as a ram-jet combustion chamber, the available thrust is greatly increased above a Mach number of 2.0
Six (6) MX-904 missiles and 36 2.75 in. FFA rockets internally stowed are proposed. The missile launching system is complex with six (6) individual tracks and actuating cylinders. Accessibility of all launchers for loading is adequate. Rockets and especially missiles are poorly located in the immediate area of the engine air scoop.
Most of the Electronic and Control system is located in a compartment adjacent to the radar equipment. Accessibility of the radar for checking in the airplane is not too good. A ladder is required for access to all components, unless the entire nose package is removed. This limits the use of test equipment and makes minor adjustments difficult. The entire collection of rack-mounted components may be removed in a detachable nose section along with the radar antenna and associated equipment for complete replacement or for major service.
Fuel is contained in five pressurized fuel cells. No self-sealing or armor is proposed for the fuel system.
The electrical system includes a 24-28 volt DC system and a three phase 4 wire 208 volt 400 cycle AC system. The electrical power source proposed will require the development of an alternator, constant speed drive and an air turbine."
|SPECIFICATIONS as designed
Span: 35 ft. 10 in.
Length: 81 ft. 11 in.
Height: 18 ft. 4 in.
Weight: In excess of 40,000 lbs.
Armament: 36 unguided 2.75 inch "Mighty Mouse" FFAR rockets and six MX-904 "Falcon" guided missiles
Engine: One Wright XJ67-W-1 rated at 15,000 lbs. thrust and one XRJ55-W-1 ramjet (afterburner section of the XJ67) of 18,800 lbs. thrust when operated at altitudes above 50,000 ft.
PERFORMANCE as designed
This particular kit is typical of every Anigrand kit I've seen or built. The resin has its share of air bubbles, holes and parts where small chunks were taken out of the kit by having the pour stub attachment points broken from the part. Several of the large parts had some curious 'dents' in them that I first noticed when building the HL-10 kit. My kit has the forward section of the left aft fuselage broken off, several of the small fins on the included Falcon missiles were broken as were many of the gear door and missile panel attachment arms. Nearly all parts of any size at all had at least one air bubble and often more. There is a lot of resin flash around nearly all the parts that will require the usual cleanup prior to construction. There are no slots, tabs or alignment pins for assembling the large parts so one should drill holes and make guide pins for increased parts security. In addition, the vacuformed parts are indistinct at best.
You are probably wondering why anyone would want a kit like this? Well, the truth is that this kit is typical of a low volume garage manufacturing process. The molds only last for a relatively short number of kits so unless something is totally screwed up, it will make it into the final kit. Secondly, those who are at the stage of buying these kits should have the skills needed to fix or work around these shortcomings. None of what I have mentioned is incurable and with a bit of time and patience, can easily be repaired. I feel it is my duty to point out things like this so that the buyer knows exactly what to expect and if their skills are not up to it, won't be frustrated or feel cheated. I should also mention that if one doesn't have the skills, there is no better way to hone them that to carefully construct a kit like this. Once you see how easy it is to fix most of these situations, then it should encourage the builder to do more of the same type.
Anyway, the kit has several interesting and optional features. One is that you can build it with all the various doors and hatches closed. Now doing a wheels up plane will require one to build a stand as none is included. To build the doors open, one has to merely scribe along the closed parts panel lines to separate the items. I should point out that on my kit, the panel lines on several of the missile doors are so thin that they are already nearly cut through and will easily come apart. If one is doing the aircraft gear down, the wheelbase is so long that I doubt if any weight will be needed in the nose. I would also recommend finding or building replacement main landing gear as the resin may well distort over time due to the weight. This kit includes the escape capsule that was part of this aircraft, though I'm not sure how much you'll be able to see through the vac plastic. Apparently, the instrument panel was outside this capsule so the pilot had to look through the capsule's windscreen to view the instruments.
Instructions are basically an exploded diagram, which is more than adequate for a kit like this. The builder will have to stretch sprue or use fine tubing for the nose probe. The color info is basic, but again, adequate to complete the build. Interior color is given as a medium grey (probably Dark Gull Grey) and the various wells call for Interior Green. The exterior of the prototype would undoubtedly been bare metal in various shades. The fun thing about kits like this is that one can 'what if' several interesting schemes. The small decal sheet is well printed and a bit on the thick side. My experience with these decals is that they work well on relatively flat surfaces so should be fine when it comes to this kit.
Ok, I've now whined about the glitches on the kit. Does that mean I don't like it. Heck no. I love aircraft like this. When it comes to short run kits of any type, it is the subject that sells it. None of the problems are insurmountable and any modelers who are at the stage of being able to tackle a kit like this will not have trouble fixing the glitches. With this kit, Anigrand has completed the three 'Century Series' project aircraft. It will be of great interest to see just what they come up with next. You can be sure that it will be interesting and desirable!
Many thanks to DMC Models for the review kit
UPDATE: Nostalgic Plastic is now the US Importer for Anigrand. Please contact them for more information.
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