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North American X-15A-2
Reviewed by Rui Silva
The X-15 "Hyper-Sonic Rollercoaster" captured my teenager imagination. I confess that I am a fan of the products of North American since the immortal P-51, so when I browsed the Collect-Aire net site and found the X-15 kit, after a brief period of thought (so much money for a kit?) I sent the fax with the credit card details. One month later and the X-15 kit sits on my bench.
The kit comes in a stout box and is very well protected. This is a good thing considering the investment and the Collect-Aire statement in the instructions: "We have no spare parts inventory, so if you break anything, be prepared to fix it."! These instructions are well detailed and with plenty of warnings on the delicacy of the smaller parts.
The version modelled is the later A-2, faster and able to carry those two enormous Ammonia and LOx drop tanks.
The Scale-Master decal sheet provides markings for the "common" black and the special all white ablative paint version.
The castings are pin-hole free but seem like they were made in spark-erosion molds by the "grainy" texture. Panel detail is crisp and clear. The long fuselage is made in two halves, horizontally divided. The wings and stabilators suffer from very small "dents" on the leading and trailing edges, but these look easy to fill.
Two vacformed canopies are supplied plus one resin canopy casting as an alternative with clear plasticard for the windows. The vac canopies have several pin-holes and lack the interior detail of the resin casting, which is also ready cut to shape. A resin "wafer" includes small parts, which will need very careful handling.
The white metal parts are for the undercarriage. The model may be depicted in the ground-handling dolly or with the skids. The airbrake parts are separate and detailed and as the lower ventral fin is also provided separately (it was jettisoned before landing).
I will model my X-15 in after-landing configuration, of course without those drop tanks that, to me, spoil the exquisite lines of this plane.
I am eager to start this kit and place it in a central spot on my display shelves. Expensive it may be but it looks worth it. If it builds as anticipated I think a X-24B will soon make it company.
Review and Image Copyright © 2000 by Rui