Anigrand 1/144 X-Planes VTOL Set

KIT #: AA-3005
PRICE: $90.00 at www.nostalgicplastic.com Free US/Canadian shipping
DECALS: One Option for each aircraft
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin. Five complete kits

HISTORY

X-14

Bell constructed the X-14 as an open-cockpit, all-metal monoplane. It was powered by two Armstrong Siddeley Viper turbojet engines equipped with thrust deflectors sited at the aircraft's centre of gravity. The engines are fixed in position; transition from vertical to horizontal flight is achieved with a system of movable vanes that control the direction of engine thrust. Top speed was 180 miles per hour with a service ceiling of 20,000 feet. The X-14 was designed using existing parts from two Beech aircraft: wings, ailerons, and landing gear of a Bonanza and the tailcone and empennage of a T-34.

X-18

X-18 design work started in 1955 by Stanley Hiller Jr and Hiller Aircraft Corporation received a manufacturing contract and funding from the U.S. Air Force to build the only X-18 ever produced.

To speed up construction and conserve money the plane was constructed from scavenged parts including a Chase C-122 Avitruc fuselage and the turboprops came from the Lockheed XFV-1 and Convair XFY-1 Pogo experimental airplanes program. The tri-bladed contra-rotating propellers were a giant 16 ft (4.8 m) across. The Westinghouse turbojet engine had its exhaust diverted upwards and downwards at the tail to give the plane pitch control at low speeds.

X-19

In March 1960 the Curtiss-Wright Corporation developed the X-100, a prototype for a new, vertical take-off transport aircraft. The X-100 had a single turboshaft engine, which propelled two tilting-rotors, while at the tail swivelling nozzles used the engine's exhaust gases to give additional control in hovering or slow flight.

From the X-100 Curtiss-Wright developed the larger X-200, of which the United States Air Force ordered two prototypes designated the X-19A.

The X-19 was a high-wing monoplane with two sets of wings. Each wing mounted a 13 ft (4 m) propeller that could be rotated through 90 degrees allowing the aircraft to take off and land like a helicopter. The propellers were driven by twin Avco Lycoming T55-L-5 turboshaft engines mounted in the fuselage. The X-19 was the last complete plane built by Curtiss.

X-22

The Bell X-22 was a United States V/STOL X-plane with four tilting ducted fans. Take-off was to selectively occur either with the propellers tilted vertically upwards, or on a short runway with the nacelles tilted forward at approximately 45. Additionally, the X-22 was to provide more insight into the tactical application of vertical take-off troop transporters such as the preceding Hiller X-18 and the X-22 successor, the Bell XV-15. Another program requirement was a true airspeed in level flight of at least 525 km/h (283 knots; 326 mph).

Three-blade propellers were mounted on four wings and, synchronized through a wave-interconnection system, were connected to four gas turbines which themselves were mounted in pairs on the rear wings. Maneuvering was achieved by tilting the propeller blades in combination with control surfaces (elevators & ailerons), which were located in the thrust stream of the propellers.

XC-142

The Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) XC-142 is a tiltwing experimental aircraft designed to investigate the operational suitability of vertical/short takeoff and landing transports. An XC-142A first flew conventionally on September 29, 1964, and on January 11, 1965, it completed its first transitional flight by taking off vertically, changing to forward flight and finally landing vertically. Its participants pulled out of the program one-by-one and it eventually ended due to a lack of interest after demonstrating its capabilities successfully.

THE KIT(S)

Here is a really great set of kits for the X-plane enthusiast. Anigrand has taken their 1/72 versions of these kits and reduced them down to a size where you can fit them all on your shelf and at the price of just one or two of the previous kits. Included in this set are the X-14, X-18, X-19, X-22 and as a bonus, the large XC-142.

Each kit comes in its own polybag with the clear bits together in one bag. The molding on the kits is very nicely done with the usual areas of flash and the need to remove pour stubs. I was delighted with the near paucity of molding glitches though I did find the odd air pocket from time to time. Nothing that someone familiar with resin kits cannot take care of. I note from the instructions that those planes that have tilt wings can be built with the wings either raised or lowered. Be sure there is plenty of prop arc room if you want to build them in the lowered position.

I have shown the parts of the X-22 and XC-142 rather than show a confusing mass of small parts, for there are quite a few of them in each kit. (Hello...These are 1/144!)Probably the biggest challenge will be to find a place to fit nose weight as some of these will seriously need it to keep from tail sitting. Of course, one could always cement them to a base, but it is the principle of the thing. Anigrand continues with its excellent clear resin canopies. They are fairly clear, with the big plus being the engraved frame lines for ease of masking. So far, Anigrand are the only ones who do this and I think others might be well advised to look into doing the same.

A couple of additional notes. One is that those kits with separate props have nicely done recesses in the hubs. Once the blades are cleaned up, they do just pop into place. Secondly, if you think you are missing a part for one kit, check the other bags. I found one of the XC-142 engine nacelles in with the X-18 kit.

Instructions are two exploded views per aircraft. The reproduction of the photos/CAD drawings used for this is fair and enough for you to see where everything goes. Markings are for one aircraft each and there is a lot of Natural Metal, White and Day-glo red on these. Where the instructions say 'Red', it is really Da-Glo red. There are two identical decal sheets to provide the various markings. Anigrand decals stick well but are loathe to respond to setting solutions of any strength.

CONCLUSIONS

For the 1/144 fan, this kit set is a real bargain. Five rare X-planes in one makes for a very nice display when done. I can see this one selling very well.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-14

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-18

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-19

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_X-22

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LTV_XC-142

February 2010

My thanks to www.nostalgicplastic.com for the review kit. Get yours direct from the link and pay no shipping in the US or Canada.

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