Anigrand Craftswork 1/72 XA-41 Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||July 2007||Manufacturer||Anigrand Craftswork|
|Kit Number||2074||Primary Media||Resin|
|Pros||Beautiful casting, nice test-fit, even nicer detail||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$54.00|
Following the mantra "more power" from one of Tim Allen's earlier television shows, the USAAF gave Vultee the job of creating a dive-bomber that offered significant performance improvements over aircraft types then entering service in 1942. The source of "more power" came in the form of the Pratt & Whitney R4360 28-cylinder 3,000 horsepower engine. To put that into perspective, a spark plug change for that one engine required 56 plugs. This is the same engine that would power the F2G Corsair, B-36 Peacemaker, B-50 Superfortress, and many more. The late models of this engine actually produced up to 4,300 horsepower.
Once development started on this aircraft, the USAAF decided that they did not any more divebombers as they never really put the A-24 Banshee (SBD Dauntless) through its paces during the war. Instead, development continued to turn the XA-41 into a low-altitude ground attack fighter, but combat experience proved that two engines were better than one when deep in enemy territory, so the USAAF cancelled that program as well. Contracts for the type were cancelled, with only the first prototype funded for completion and used as a testbed for the R4360 engine.
Anigrand Craftswork has produced another interesting one-off prototype from the footnotes of aviation history, this time the Vultee XA-41. Note that the box says Convair, this is correct as the Vultee company merged with Consolidated (the B-24 and PBY producers) to form Convair. Convair would later gain the research and the person of Alexander Lippisch after the war to create the delta-winged XF-92, F-102, F-106, and B-58.
The kit is packaged in their robust compartmented bags that keep parts from floating around during shipment and getting damaged in the process. The clear resin canopy is separately packaged.
The fuselage is hollow-cast and sectioned left-right, fore-aft. The alignment method that Anigrand uses to align and mount the fore and aft sections together is very strong and nearly fool-proof. Assemble the fuselage, add the wings and tail unit, add the details, and you have an XA-41.
This set of decals are clearly dual use. You can see the tail number for the Vultee XA-41 43-35124 on one end of the sheet, and the markings for another Anigrand subject, the XP-81 on the other end.
If you are a collector of prototype combat aircraft, especially those that never made it beyond concept or early prototype, the XA-41 will be another nice addition to your scale flightline.
My sincere thanks to the US importer, Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!