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F4D-1 Project Pilot (NOTSNIK) Conversion Set

Starfighter 1/72 F4D-1 Project Pilot (NOTSNIK) Conversion Set First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2018 Manufacturer Starfighter
Subject F4D-1 Project Pilot (NOTSNIK) Conversion Set Scale 1/72
Set Number 7221 Primary Media Resin
Pros Nicely detailed rocket Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $15.00

First Look

Starfighter Decals has released this conversion set to accompany a decal sheet that depicts the first space test program for the Naval Ordnance Test Station at NAS China Lake. Almost a year after the Soviet Union's successful orbiting of Sputnik I, Project Pilot was established to develop a satellite launch system as well as an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile. Under the guise of Project Pilot, the Pilot-1 was a surface-launched system while Pilot-2 was an air-launched version. The Navy provided an F4D-1 to serve as the air launcher, and after modifications were completed at China Lake, the F4D-1 attempted six launches out of NAS Point Mugu. While NACA was pulling together available technologies to get the US into the space race, the Navy was following this parallel path with 0 out of 10 total launches (six from the F4D-1) successfully reaching orbit (though one was thought to have reached orbit, but this couldn't be confirmed).

F4D-1 Project Pilot (NOTSNIK) Conversion Set

Cast in gray resin, this detail set replicates the Pilot-2 rocket with the upper fuselage, lower rocket motor/fuel cells, rocket motor bells, stabilization fins, and launch pylon for the F4D-1 Skyray. This set will allow you to recreate a unique piece of early spaceflight history.

You can purchase this detail set directly from Starfighter on their website.

My sincere thanks to Mark's Models for this review sample!