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X-29 Kit

Hasegawa 1/72 Dual X-29 Kit Builds Review

By Chuck Holte

Date of Review June 2018 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject X-29 'NASA' Scale 1/72
Kit Number 02206 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Well-engineered, easy assembly, great decals Cons No spin chute parts or drawings.
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $33.99

Build Review

The Grumman X-29 forward-swept wing and canard concept was designed to test advanced technologies for NASA and the USAF in a multi-phase program from 1984 – 1992.  Two aircraft were built using F-5 fighter nose and cockpit sections, new wing and canards, F-16 landing gear, and a new tail section designed around a General Electric F404-GE-400 engine producing 16,000 pounds of thrust.

The number one aircraft, tail # 003, first flew in 1984 and, in 1985, was the first aircraft to fly supersonic with a forward swept wing.  The number one aircraft was retired to the National Museum of the USAF at Wright-Patterson AFB, (Dayton) Ohio in 1994.  More data on #003 and more photos may be found at the NMUSAF site here.

The second X-29, tail # 049, the aircraft modeled here, first flew in May 1989, and is currently on display at the Armstrong Flight Research Center (formerly NASA Dryden), Edwards AFB, CA.  More technical background on both aircraft and the test program may be found at the NASA Armstrong site here.

Our Cybermodeler kit first-look may be found here.

Hasegawa's original release of this kit (kit #2620, BT20) was in 1992 and included X-29 Program decals for the #1 aircraft, tail 003. This Limited Edition re-release contains the same plastic as the original, a fresh new decal sheet for both flight test aircraft and a new painting/instruction sheet to go with the updated decals.  Plus new box art with a photo of #049 on display at NASA Armstrong/Edwards AFB.  One of my favorite of the "new" Hasegawa kits, this is well engineered for easy assembly, is accurate in shape and size and with the new decals, it builds into a nice little futuristic technology demonstrator model in 1/72.  A few of my build notes:

The cockpit is a bit Spartan.  The smooth instrument panel and two side consoles rely on decals for detail.  There is a separate control stick.   The seat portion of the ejection seat resembles a padded sitting room chair and could be replaced if using the closed canopy option.  The canopy opening linkage is part of the ejection seat mechanism and although a nice representation, it would be a lot of work to cut and graft it to a more representative after-market seat.  I used it as is, with the open canopy option.

The windscreen and canopy are thin and clear and have lightly molded frame lines to help with masking.

Surface detail and flight controls are lightly engraved and look in scale with a light coat of paint.

The landing gear are suitably detailed and sturdy and benefit from a bit of dry brushing or dark wash to make them stand out.  Gear bays are adequately detailed for this scale.

Once the fuselage was joined and wings attached, I checked for seams and filled, sanded and corrected as needed.  Actually this is one of the best fitting kits I've ever built and very little filler was needed.

X-29 'NASA'

In preparation for painting, I washed the model in warm soapy dish water, rinsed with warm clear water and set aside to dry.  I primed the model with rattle can White Mr Surfacer 1000 and finished with Tamiya rattle can Pure White gloss lacquer.  After the lacquer had dried for several days, I applied the appropriate decals for X-29 #049, the second jet, using the excellent assembly and painting instruction guide for reference.

Spin-chute parts.  Some of the handling and flyability demos and tests required that #049 be modified with the addition of spin recovery chute on the tail of the aircraft.  Since the boxart photo showed the aircraft with the chute framework attached, I was a bit disappointed to find no parts or even drawings to create this important appendage.  But, after the decals were in place, I fabricated the chute mechanism from scrap aluminum tube, thin brass rod and plastic using an educated eyeball and lots of patience.

X-29 'NASA'

I enjoyed this build much like a visit with an old friend.  There was a familiar feel to the plastic, and the new decals were a definite highlight of the build.  The spin chute fabrication tuned up some of my scratch building skills and added to my enjoyment.  Recommended!

X-29 'NASA'X-29 'NASA'X-29 'NASA'X-29 'NASA'X-29 'NASA'

In the above build of the Hasegawa X-29 kit, we featured the second of two NASA/USAF X-29 experimental jets, tail # 049.  Ship two is finished as it appeared for most of its flying life in the attractive red, white and blue NASA scheme.

Part two of this build article takes on the not so attractive, but functional, build "scheme" of jet number one, tail #003.  I wanted to show some of what went into building the jet, including its partial Northrop F-5 nose and cockpit, the new fuselage, wings and canards, and the patchwork graphite composites that gave it strength.  Grumman used veteran F-5 nose and cockpit sections melded to a new build aft fuselage section designed for the large and powerful General Electric F404-GE-400 engine.

X-29 'NASA'

I modeled 003 from several photos of the aircraft in production/assembly.  Construction was similar to jet two, but I left off the main landing gear doors, the nose wheel door, the nose cone and pitot part, antennas, and finally the kit ejection seat, per the photos.  I used the three kit decals for the painted cockpit, along with the control stick and ejection seat rails and canopy opening/closing mechanism, again per photos.  After priming the fuselage with Tamiya rattle can primer, I used Alclad II Dull Aluminum for the cockpit/nose sections, Testor's yellow Zinc Chromate #1184 (small square bottle) for the new build sections and Model Master black Graphite Metallic #2712 enamel for the composite panels.  And a yard of Tamiya masking tape to make it work.

X-29 'NASA'X-29 'NASA'X-29 'NASA'X-29 'NASA'X-29 'NASA'X-29 'NASA'X-29 'NASA'

I enjoyed the challenge of building a naked X-29 showing how it was transformed from a Frankenstein airframe to a colorful Princess.  They look cool together in the display case.

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!

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