|KIT:||Anigrand Craftworks 1/72 D.558-I Skystreak|
|PRICE:||$33.00 from Nostalgic Plastic (free US shipping)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run resin kit with vacuform canopy|
In December 1944, after NACA launched the rocket engine powered XS-1 (X-1) with U.S.A.A.F for the supersonic flight research, NACA and U.S. Navy preferred other aircraft that could able to fly transonic speed for a long time with turbojet power. Douglas was selected to propose the design as Douglas was conceived some high performance planes for Navy at that time. In February 1945, Douglas offered the Model D-558 design and was received contract for six testbeds but later changed to three. The first D-558-1 was rolled out in February 1947 and was made it first flight in April. During its ninth flight in August, the D-558-1 set a new world speed record at Mach 0.85. After it reached its max speed at Mach 1.01 in September 1948, the first D-558-1 was served as spare for the third D-558-1 while the second D-558-1 was crashed during test by NACA. From April 1949 to June 1953, the third D-558-1 carried out an intensive research programs that allowed NACA to perfect its knowledge in aerodynamics.
Molded in Anigrand's usual tan resin, the overall detailing is engraved panel lines that look a bit overdone at first, but once under a coat of paint look just fine. The kit includes optional wing tip tanks as flown in later sorties. Hand made kits like this are always an unknown when it comes to the actual condition of the parts themselves.
In this case, I found holes in the upper wings, a tail plane tip and a short shot inner gear door mount. Not bad as I've had worse and all are not difficult to fix. The holes on the wing are from the wing being very thin and the need to supply a mounting hole. In this case, you'll be wise to wait until after the main gear legs are installed to try to fix this or you may not be able to mount the gear.
There is room behind the cockpit to install weight as without it, I believe this one will be a tail sitter. Two canopies are provided with one being an earlier version which is more clear and not flat on the top. The wing tip tanks can be used on the second aircraft with the modified canopy. It does not use the "Skystreak" decal as that was gone by that time. The third aircraft was painted white, but left the rudder, ailerons and elevators in red so they would not have to be rebalanced. The decal sheet is generic for all three of the Douglas experimental aircraft. For the Skystreak, the only serial provided is 37970, the first aircraft. If you wish to model either of the other two, you'll need to change the last digit to a 1 or 2. You could do the third plane as NACA 142, but you'll have to find the later NACA markings for the fin and the NACA wing markings from some other source.
The Anigrand instructions are unchanged over the years, providing a parts count, exploded view and historical section on one side with a painting and decal placement guide on the other side. I should add to the rather confusing information provided earlier regarding markings, that if you use the 'NAVY - 37970' on the fin, do not use the "Skystreak" decal. When using this decal, the serial and Navy were very small and have not been included in the sheet. The white painted version does not appear to have used the larger serials either, but from the reference you can barely make out photos of the smaller serial as was typical on in-service planes in the late 1940s. No wing insignia on any of them. For those wishing to do the initial roll-out markings of aircraft 1 and 2, you will need fuselage insignia without the red bar. Probably more than you wanted to know.
Here it is, another superb prototype/experimental aircraft from Anigrand. They are committed to providing these types of kits and I'm thrilled that they have. This one would be an excellent introductory kit due to the minimal parts count and straight-forward design.
An outstanding reference on this aircraft is Specialty Press' "Skystreak, Skyrocket and Stiletto" that was published last year.
Thank you to Nostalgic Plastic, the US importer, for the sample kit.
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