by: Andy Brazier [ ]
History In 1949, U.S. Air Force introduced the new "weapons system" concept, in which consisting of the air-to-air guided missiles, fire control system and the "1954 interceptor" capable of supersonic flight. The project was designed to intercept the new Soviet intercontinental bombers.
In 1951, Air Force announced that the Convair's YF-102 and the Republic's XF-103 were selected for the airframe part of the project. A mock up was inspected in 1953. Republic received a contact for 3 prototypes. It was to adopt a dual-cycle propulsion system, a turbojet and a ramjet were installed tandem in the aft fuselage. Normal cruise were powered by turbojet. At high speed, the thrust of the turbojet was to be augmented by a ramjet.
Due to a lot of development problems, difficulties of titanium fabrication structure, engines delay and cost overruns, the Air Force deemed that the XF-103 was no longer a possible operational "1954 interceptor". The program was finally cancelled in 1957.
The KitUpon opening the small cardboard box you will find the kit encased in a clear plastic bag. The rear fuselage, forward fuselage, wings and smaller resin pieces are sealed in separate compartments. Another small bag contains the vac-form canopies. The decals and instructions make up the rest of the kit.
There are 33 buff coloured resin parts. There is very little left of the pouring blocks left on the main parts of the kit, so cleaning up should be very simple. I can't find any air bubbles in the resin The smaller parts have a little flash left but nothing a quick scrape with a scalpel shouldn't clear.
Interior detail in the kit is fairly simple, with a ejection seat fitting into the cockpit tub. The instrument panel has no detail at all on it. But I doubt you will be able to see much of the cockpit once finished, so adding anything is probably a little redundant. The wheel bays have some raised detail, so adding some piping should make it look a lot "busier". External detail is pretty good with some lovely recessed panel lines over the kit.
The missile bays and undercarriage can be modeled open or closed. The doors will have to be cut into separate pieces for the open position, but that doesn't look to hard to do as the recessed panel lines on these parts are well defined and the pieces are quite thin.
The undercarriage legs are also resin and should hold the weight of the kit. The wheels have some nice detail on them. The kit comes with six Hughes GAR-3 Falcon air to air missiles. The fins are very thin and on one of my missiles one fin hasn't correctly formed. Hopefully this shouldn't be seen if I position the missile correctly.
Three vac-form canopies come with the kit and look pretty nice, clear and thin.
Instructions and decalsThe instructions are printed on a A4 size sheet of paper. The build sequence is shown as a exploded illustration, with each part given a letter of the alphabet. Underneath the exploded view is the name of each part and its corresponding letter.
The reverse side of the sheet is the painting and decal guide. It also gives the interior colours for the cockpit and wheel wells.
A small decal sheet with 4 American star and stripes, 2 USAF, 2 U.S Air force and 2 Republic XF-103 markings. The decals have very little carrier film and look to be all in register. They do feel a little on the thick side, but until I put them on I won't know how they will settle.