Anigrand 1/72 Bell XF-109




$48.50 from DMC Models


one option


Scott Van Aken


Resin kit


Allow me to paraphrase from the instruction sheet as my references on this plane are minimal at best!

"In 1953 Bell developed the Model 65 ATV, a VTOL research aircraft with  a pair of rotating turbojets mounted to each side of the airframe. These could be moved  enough to allow the plane to get vertically airborne. Though it ended just two years later, the program gave Bell  experience with VTOL aircraft. This led to project D.188A, a joint USAF/USN  program for the XF-109/XF3L. It was designed to be in the same general performance class as the F-104, a Mach 2 fighter of much lighter weight. To reach this goal, the XF-109 was to be powered by eight engines. Two in the aft fuselage, two vertically behind the cockpit and the other four in two wingtip pods that could swivel to provide either vertical or horizontal thrust. In 1960, the Navy pulled out of the program as it was tired of the constant delay in engine development. A year later, the USAF also lost interest and pulled the plug after only a mockup had been built. Once again, a promising aircraft was still-borne thanks to a lagging engine development program! That engine, by the way, was the General Electric J-85, which went on to provide sterling service in the T-38/F-5 program and in many cruise missiles!


Molded in a standard tan resin, Anagrad's kit is well done, though not perfect. Panel lines are nicely engraved and not too intense, though they will mellow out with a coat or two of paint. The kit includes a relatively well done cockpit with seat, floor, stick and instrument panel. There is a vac canopy provided, though I wish there were two of them included with the kit in case of accidents. There are compressor faces for the wing engines and afterburner cans for all of them. Two large intake scoops for the fuselage engines are provided as are the ventral strakes.

The wing engines are designed to pivot, but the builder will have to come up with the required 2mm diameter metal pits from the parts bin. My sample suffered from some air bubbles, the worst being on the edge of the wing, one of the gear doors, and on the tops of a few of the wing engine parts. I've run into this on other Anigrand kits so it is a problem that is endemic with the company and their quality control. This isn't difficult to fix with superglue, but it also means that there may be more bubbles nearby so one has to be very careful in sanding the seams on the parts not to open a plethora of small bubbles.

I also had one of the main gear legs missing from my sealed kit. Fortunately, they are similar to the one on the F-16 so I can probably rob one from there as a replacement. I'd also suggest to Anigrand that they reinforce the landing gear with metal pins as what is provided will surely sag after a short time under all the weight of the resin. I know it can be done in this scale as I've purchased Czech resin kits with this feature.

Instructions are simply a sheet of paper with a full three view on one side which also doubles for markings and painting information. The other has a short history, a photo and an exploded diagram of the parts. Basic, but adequate enough to build the kit. The decal sheet is small but well printed and provided markings for the mock-up that was built. It also includes an instrument panel decal. The red fuselage warning stripes will have to come from some other source. I plan on doing mine in an appropriate USAF Fighter Interceptor Squadron marking as would have been put on the actual aircraft.


Frankly, I'm very pleased that there are companies that are willing to put the time and effort into producing kits like this. Yes, they are not for the meek and they will take a bit of extra work to fix some glitches, but the end result should be well worth the time put into it. I fully look forward to building this one and it is in the 'next' position on my build pile!

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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