DML 1/200 XB-70A Valkyrie Kit First Look
|Date of Review||March 2012||Manufacturer||DML|
|Kit Number||2015||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||First kit of this aircraft in this scale||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$26.00|
The North American Aviation B-70 program was the answer to a number of unique requirements for a strategic nuclear bomber that could fly above and speed away from Soviet interceptors, fly unrefueled from the US to virtually anywhere within the Soviet Union, deliver a significant nuclear payload, and speed away from the target area before the released weapon detonated. The XB-70A prototypes were developed to meet these requirements using an advanced aerodynamic design. The wing was delta with outboard sections that could fold up or down in-flight to optimize aerodynamics at different speeds. Pitch control was via canards mounted behind the cockpit. Power came from six afterburning General Electric YJ93 engines each rated at just under 20,000 pounds dry and 28,800 pounds in reheat. Fuel capacity was just under 47,000 gallons! The aircraft could cruise at over Mach 3, one of only a handful of aircraft ever built that could sustain those airspeeds.
Two prototypes were finished before the program was cancelled. Air Vehicle 1 (AV-1) was 52-0001 and AV-2 was 52-0207. The flight research data gained from the program would benefit future bomber programs though the B-70 was billed by the media as a 'white elephant' and pushed into the history books. The aircraft continued to perform flight research before AV-2 was lost during a General Electric photo-shoot with other GE-powered aircraft. An F-104 collided with the rear of AV-2 and only one of the two XB-70 crewman was able to eject from the crippled aircraft - the F-104 pilot was killed during the mid-air collision. You can see photos of the accident here. AV-1 is on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, OH.
I must say, I am getting more impressed with DML's engineering with each aircraft kit release. Here is the XB-70A in 1/200 scale - for many the thought of such a small scale makes one's eyes hurt but after seeing the YB-49 and now this XB-70, I'm changing my mind. First, if you've seen the AMT/ERTL kit in 1/72 scale, the model is huge and then there is the soft plastic used to mold the kit. Here is a simple model that still provides some very nice details and options.
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on four parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. The kit has a cockpit! You don't see that in many of the 1/144 scale kits from other companies. In addition, the kit provides some nice features/options:
- Choice of subsonic or supersonic windscreen positions
- Positionable landing gear
- Positionable outer wing panels
Markings are provided for two published and one unpublished option:
- AV-1, 52-0001, USAF Flight Test markings
- AV-1, 52-0001, NASA Flight Test markings
- AV-2, 52-0207, USAF Flight Test markings (not shown in instructions)
I had no idea that you could get so much detail into such a small-scale kit. I'll never look at the 'simplistic' details of the 1/200 scale kits the same ever again as it is clear that DML has raised the bar quite significantly. This will make a really nice project that doesn't take lots of time or effort to complete.
My sincere thanks to DML for this review sample!