Anigrand Craftswork 1/144 Republic XF-12 Rainbow Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||March 2008||Manufacturer||Anigrand Craftswork|
|Subject||Republic XF-12 Rainbow||Scale||1/144|
|Kit Number||4012||Primary Media||Resin|
|Pros||There are four models in this release!||Cons||Fragile landing gear|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$78.00|
In 1943, reliable reconnaissance information was very hard to come by in the Pacific. Many areas of interest were simply out of range or too well defended for existing medium range aircraft to overfly. What was needed was a pressurized photo platform that was fast (400 mph), long range (4,000 nm) and could operate well above enemy interceptors (40,000 feet).
Republic responded with a four-engined design given the XF-12 while Hughes developed the twin-engined XF-11. Remember that fighter aircraft in the USAAF were still designated with a P (pursuit) while photo reconnaissance aircraft were designated with an F. In 1948, pursuit aircraft became fighters (designated with an F, and photo-reconnaissance aircraft became R. Hence the XF-12 Rainbow would be later known as the XR-12.
In any case, neither the XF-11 nor XF-12 would enter production even though both exceeded their design goals. Neither one flew before the end of the war and the innovative designs were lost among the post-war budget cuts and transition to turbine-based designs.
Actually there are four kits in here. The subject of the box, the large XF-12, the competitor, the XF-11, and two others that did get some production, the F-15A Reporter and the Beech F-2A. These kits are individually packaged and are nicely cast.
The order of the photo previews are:
- Republic XF-12 Rainbow
- Northrop F-15A Reporter
- Hughes XF-11
- Beech F-2A
This first image illustrates the usual fine job of packaging of each kit and clear parts to get you a complete and undamaged model. Each bag contains one kit, and each bag is heat-sealed into separate compartments to keep parts from shifting around during shipment and potentially damaging one another.
The second image is of the main parts of the XF-12. The kit is beautifully cast and has nice detailing in the castings. Assembly is straightforward with the clear resin parts providing the nose cap and astrodome. The main challenge to this kit as well as some of the others are the landing gear. They're nicely cast and in scale, but they're also fragile which will make the job of holding this heavier model up a little more challenging over time. The simple solution is to build this kit gear-up and pose all four models on brass rods in-flight over a suitable display base.
The third image shows the ancestry of the P-61 Black Widow. The F-15A prototype was a P-61E that had been disarmed and given a new nose section to house its cameras. In all, 36 of these aircraft were produced and in 1948, these were redesignated as RF-61C.
The fourth image is Howard Hughes' reconnaissance gamble, the XR-11. This innovative aircraft initially featured counter-rotating propellers (depicted in this kit) but this aircraft was destroyed on its maiden flight, nearly killing Howard Hughes himself, acting as test pilot. In the end, both the XR-11 and XR-12 would loose out to Boeing's RB-50 Superfortress. Unlike the other models in this kit, the landing gear on this aircraft is robust enough to hold up the model. The challenge will be to find a way to ballast the nose to keep this model on its nosegear.
The final kit in this line-up is the reconnaissance version of the USAAC C-45 Expeditor. Both aircraft are based on Beech's Model 18 twin-engine workhorse that was popular in both military and civilian circles. This kit is a very simple build and wears pre-war colors.
Overall, all of these kits are designed with the same pin and hole locator system to mount wings and tail surfaces to the fuselage. As I've stated previously, the only real concern I have with all four of these models is that the landing gear on each one is molded in scale. Translate that to mean FRAGILE! If I were you, I'd build these gear up and mount them on a brass rod to a base so you can display these beauties in flight and not on your shelf with collapsed landing gear.
The kit provides three sheets of decals to provide sufficient national markings, stars and bars with red overlays to depict a post 1947 aircraft.
I am still in awe over the quality of the resin work that Anigrand Craftswork puts into these models. If you are a reconnaissance fan, these four are definite must-haves for your collection. The nice part about 1/144 scale is that it will take up a fraction of the shelf space of the larger scales.
My sincere thanks to the US importer, Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!