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YF-102 Kit

Nostalgic Plastic 1/72 YF-102 Delta Dagger Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2008 Manufacturer Nostalgic Plastic
Subject YF-102 Delta Dagger Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72001 Primary Media Resin
Pros Nice looking model of YF-102 that isn't vacuformed! Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) Out of production

First Look

YF-102 Kit
YF-102 Kit
YF-102 Kit

The F-102 was the third installment in the so-called 'Century series', the third USAF aircraft designed for supersonic operations and the first purpose-built to be a supersonic interceptor. The F-100 Super Sabre was the first supersonic aircraft, designed as a day fighter. The F-101 Voodoo was designed as a long-range bomber escort fighter and was later redesigned into a supersonic interceptor, the F-101B.

Convair was one of several respondents to the supersonic interceptor weapons system requirement, but due to the higher costs of the other respondents, Convair's design was the only one funded into full development. The basis of their design was the delta-wing research performed by Dr. Alexander Lippisch, a German aviation pioneer that was brought over to the US after World War II to become one of the chief designers for Convair, leading to the development of not only the original XF-92 research aircraft, the F-102, F-106, and B-58 Hustler.

As development of the YF-102 proceeded, a major issue arose, the discovery that the design incurred extremely high drag at transonic speeds. It would be the work of another German aerodynamicist Otto Frenzl along with American Wallace D. Hayes to discover 'Area Rule', the coke bottle waist designed into the fuselages of 1950s and 1960s era aircraft. The F-102 would be the first aircraft to be redesigned with area rule and the significant increase in performance proved out the theory.

Before the area rule solution was applied, performance of the YF-102 was unimpressive for two reasons. The first was the drag that would be solved by area rule, the second was the lack of thrust from the interim engine, the Westinghouse J40. The F-102 was anticipating the production of the Wright J67, but when that engine was cancelled, power would come from the reliable Pratt & Whitney J57 that powered the F-100, F-101, F4D Skyray, and F-8 Crusader.

Nostalgic Plastic has tackled another interesting shape in the heritage of USAF flight history, the YF-102 Delta Dagger. Produced by Anigrand Craftswork, the kit is the usual beauty that you expect from Anigrand. This is a rather simple build at that. You can see in the images that construction won't take much time.

The kit is cast in tan resin and the one-piece canopy is cast in clear resin. The major components, fuselage halves, wings, tail, intakes, and tail cone just need a little clean-up of the casting block remnants, then assembly. The fuselage halves go together, paint the cockpit well, drop in the ejection seat, plug in the wings and tail, and fit the intakes.

You are provided your choice of tail cones, one with streamlined fairing used on the first two aircraft, and the other with the more characteristic tailpipe and afterburner nozzle that flew on the later eight prototypes.

The landing gear is resin, just like most of the previous Anigrand kits, and on the YF-102, scale down with some relative thickness that should hold up the model. Even so, the landing gear will be delicate and Anigrand and Nostalgic Plastic should consider white metal or brass landing gear struts, recognizing what that will do to retail price.

The kit comes with a nice set of markings to replicate any of the 10 examples built. The first two aircraft, 52-7994 and 52-7995 wore the rounded tail cone. The remainder, 53-1779-1786 had the later tail cone. Markings are included for 785 as it appeared as a NACA (later NASA) research aircraft.

This is going to be an easy build and a fun project. If you're interested in some of the flying history of early supersonic flight test vehicles, this is certainly an important step on that historical trail!

This kit is recommended to modelers with some experience in resin kits.

My sincere thanks to Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!