Monogram 1/72 X-15
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The North American X-15 is a hypersonic rocket-powered aircraft. It was operated by the United States Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as part of the X-plane series of experimental aircraft. The X-15 set speed and altitude records in the 1960s, reaching the edge of outer space and returning with valuable data used in aircraft and spacecraft design. The X-15's highest speed, 4,520 miles per hour (7,274 km/h; 2,021 m/s), was achieved on 3 October 1967, when William J. Knight flew at Mach 6.7 at an altitude of 102,100 feet (31,120 m), or 19.34 miles. This set the official world record for the highest speed ever recorded by a crewed, powered aircraft, which remains unbroken.
Molded in black, the detailing on the kit (what little there is) is well done. There is a cockpit tub with Monogram's usual nicely molded instrument panel. Honestly, if you don't display the cockpit cover off, then you can skit the interior as you won't see it with the cover closed. One of the two options has the external fuel tanks and so there are holes in the lower fuselage section that will need to be opened.
You can build this kit in flight as there is a display stand provided. Otherwise a ground handling trolley for the rear of the aircraft is provided. The landing skids are molded in the retracted position. Interestingly, you are not provided with the lower fin at all. One of the options has the dummy scramjet that is installed on the lower rear. A standing pilot figure is also provided.
Instructions provide generic color information. There are two markings/color options. One is the box art plane in the basic black with both USAF and NASA markings. You can use the external fuel tanks with this one but not the dummy SCRAM jet. The other is overall white with minimal data markings and is the one that uses the SCRAM jet. In both cases the external fuel tanks are in contrasting colors. The decals are nicely printed, but are thicker than what most of us are used to today.
We have not had a lot of X-15 kits. There have been a few combined with B-52s in several scales, but for stand alone aircraft there has been a Dragon 1/144 kit, a fairly old 1/64 Revell kit, this one in 1/72 and a 1/32 Special Hobby kit. If 1/72 is your scale of choice, then this is your only option. Fortunately, it is a good kit that makes into a very nice model.
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