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X-20 Kit

Anigrand Craftswork 1/72 Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2008 Manufacturer Anigrand Craftswork
Subject Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar Scale 1/72
Kit Number 2077 Primary Media Resin
Pros Beautiful casting, nice test-fit Cons
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $41.00

First Look

X-20 Kit
X-20 Kit
X-20 Kit

The fledgling USAF was making great use of the Operation Paperclip resources collected at the end of World War II from the various research and design facilities in Germany. One such design was for the Sänger Spaceplane, a hypersonic vehicle that would be lofted using V-2 (or larger) boosters and skip across the upper atmosphere to its target.

When Boeing started development of a similar design in 1959, work was already underway at North American for another winged spaceplane - the X-15. Unlike the X-15, which would be lofted under the wing of a B-52 mothership, the X-20 would be mounted atop a booster rocket and launched to a speed of around Mach 18 and lifted well above the atmosphere. Bear in mind that the Space Shuttle achieves orbit at just over Mach 25, so Mach 18 will not keep the vehicle in orbit.

The USAF had visions of using the resulting spaceplane that would evolve from the X-20 for reconnaissance, strike, maintenance of on-orbit satellites, sabotage of enemy satellites, and to serve as an emergency rescue craft. Unfortunately, after facing several developmental challenges, the program's proponent, Secretary of Defense McNamara reversed his support and cancelled the program in 1963. Instead, the USAF would adapt a variant of the Gemini capsule to support the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, another program that would also later get the axe.

Anigrand has returned with another installment of a craft that never flew - the Boeing X-20. This is a really simple project that encompasses an upper fuselage mounted to a one-piece wing. Add the outer wingtips and landing gear struts and you've got an X-20.

As usual, the kit is packaged in their robust compartmented bags that keep parts from floating around during shipment and getting damaged in the process.

The fuselage is hollow-cast and you'll just need to add a drop of Elmer's White Glue or Krystal Kleer to create the windows.

This set of decals are purpose printed for this release as the X-20 had a dark (read black) fuselage, so the white markings will look great on the airframe.

If you've been looking for an easy project to try out a resin kit, this X-20 is about as simple as they come. I really recommend this as a starter kit for experienced modelers ready to tackle an all-resin kit. This is also a must-have project for the space fans out there even though the vehicle never flew, it did represent another significant milestone in spaceflight.

My sincere thanks to the US importer, Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!