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Convair F-102A Delta Dart Case X Wing

Meng 1/72 Convair F-102A Delta Dagger Case X Wing Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2012 Manufacturer Meng
Subject F-102A Delta Dagger Case X Wing Scale 1/72
Kit Number DS003 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $39.95

First Look

Mansyu
Mansyu
Mansyu
Mansyu
Mansyu

The post-war aircraft industry was growing by leaps and bounds as captured German technology allowed for advances in aerodynamics and propulsion. In the case of Convair, they were the beneficiaries of not only Dr Alexander Lippisch's research in delta-wing designs, he became an employee of the company and helped them through the growing pains of the XF-92. Thanks to his work, Convair became the experts on delta-wing designs in the US with the F-102, F-106 and B-58.

In the early 1950s, the USAF put out a requirement for a supersonic interceptor that featured integrated fire control and weapons. Convair won that competition with the F-102. Despite their win, the F-102 faced a number of problems including the loss of the first prototype in crash. The aircraft was plagued with technical problems including the need to change engines to the J57 (used by the F-100, F-101, and F8U) since the intended J67 was cancelled; a crash course in supersonic aerodynamics due to the poor performance of the prototypes which led to the discovery of area rule; and other challenges. The adoption of area rule required the complete redesign of the fuselage which further delayed production.

While the F-102 was delayed in production, the USAF used the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo as an interim interceptor. By the time the F-102 entered service, it would serve side-by-side with the F-101 and would even be replaced in Air National Guard units by the F-101 as the F-102B (redesignated F-106A) entered operational service. The F-102B offered the Mach 2+ performance that the A-model lacked.

As a footnote, the F-102As did not leave operational service fast enough for some enterprising F-100 crew chiefs. The F-100 Super Sabre was powered by the same J57 series engine, but its afterburner nozzle was notoriously unreliable. The F-102's nozzle was better. As the F-102s were retired, the afterburner nozzle assemblies were grafted onto the rear of Air National Guard F-100s.

Meng is a model company based in Hong Kong and has already released an interesting range of kits for subjects that have never been produced in plastic before. Here is their third aircraft installment and while this subject has been done before, it hasn't been done like this!

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus a small clear tree. At first glance, this it almost appears that this kit design is based upon Monogram's outstanding 1/48 F-102A kit but the designers have done a number of things better. Let's take a look.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Scribed surface details
  • Nice cockpit and ejection seat
  • Positionable canopy
  • Full-length afterburner chamber
  • Wing tips molded separately - Case XX in our futures
  • Positional speed brakes
  • Positional landing gear
  • Weapons bay doors can be posed open or closed
  • Weapons trapezes can be positioned retracted or extended
  • 6 x AIM-4 Falcons
  • 2 x External fuel tanks

The nicely done decal sheet offers three subjects:

  • F-102A, 56-1006, 431 FIS, 1962
  • F-102A, 55-3380, 327 FIS, 1958
  • F-102A, 56-1136, 497 FIS, 1970 (SEA camouflage)

For many years, the only option for the F-102A in 1/72 scale was Hasegawa's venerable kit. While the Hasegawa kit builds up into a nice Dart in the right hands, at last we have a nice alternative which will easily become the best Dart in this scale.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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