KIT:

Anigrand 1/72 Bell XV-3

KIT #

AA-2013

PRICE:

$36.50 MSRP

DECALS:

one option

REVIEWER:

Scott Van Aken

NOTES:

Resin kit with vac clear bits.

HISTORY

 

The design of the Bell XV-3 began under a joint Army-Air Force program in 1951. The XV-3 used the reliable 450 hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engine mated to a two-speed manual gearbox. The fuselage was 30 ft long and had a 31 ft wing span. The first prototype made its first flight as a helicopter in August 1955, but crashed two months later before completing a full conversion. Extensive wind tunnel and rig tests were conducted after this, with pilots practicing the conversion process and gear changes (which required significant manipulation of the pitch and throttle controls and took about 20 seconds) in the tunnel. Rotor instability concerns led to a change from 23 ft three-bladed full-articulated rotors to 24 ft two-bladed semi-rigid rotors. The second XV-3 made its first flight on 12 December 1958, with a full conversion only 6 days later. Conversions over the full 90 could be conducted in 10 seconds. Inadequate power and high weight growth precluded the XV-3 from hovering out of ground effect. The XV-3 made 110 full conversions and over 250 flights before it was damaged in a wind tunnel test in 1965 when a rotor housing separated from the aircraft. However, as with all experimental aircraft, all was not lost and much of the information learned from the XV-3 and other similar aircraft has been put to good use on the V-22 Osprey program.

THE KIT

This kit is the second prototype with the two bladed prop and the extra ventral fin. The kit is completely resin, which makes one wonder how well the resin skids will hold up after a few years. I've got several interesting resin aircraft with some rather oddly shaped resin landing gear on my shelves!

The kit itself comes in a very sturdy (and small) box with all of the parts enclosed in a partitioned bag. It seems as if Anigrad have been nice enough to remove all those pesky resin pour stubs. The engraved detailing is a tad too much, but much of that should disappear under paint. Molding is fairly good, but I did notice quite a few air bubbles on some of the part, which will not be easy to fix. Especially bad was the end of one of the rotor blades, which will probably be completely replaced by sections of plastic card as it would be the easier fix. There were others in the trailing edge of the wing and in the rudder. With all the small pieces floating around in the bag, I was surprised that there were not any broken pieces. The clear bits are in vac plastic. The side transparencies are all molded in one piece of vac plastic. Though the instructions show each of these clear windows to be cut out of this piece and glued in place, a tedious job at best.

Instructions are on a single sheet of paper. One side has a historical section and an exploded view of the kit with the parts numbered and identified. The reverse side has a large 1/72 scale three view to be used for painting and decal placement. The aircraft is aluminum with red bits on the extremities. Here's a picture of the second prototype and it is quite colorful. Decals are nicely printed and quite gloss. It will be interesting to see how they hold up. While this isn't the first kit from this Hong Kong company, it is the first I've actually seen. I would hope that the quality control would be a bit better and not allow defective parts to slip through. I've bought a number of quality resin products from Hong Kong and know that the skill is there to produce perfect resin kits.

CONCLUSIONS

You must agree that unusual it is. Though a new resin kit builder will undoubtedly find the transparency situation frustrating, for those with a few under their belts, it will prove to be a nice kit. Only real trouble is where in the world will one put the nose weight!

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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