Anigrand Craftswork 1/144 XB-30 Constellation Kit First Look
|Date of Review||April 2009||Manufacturer||Anigrand Craftswork|
|Kit Number||4030||Primary Media||Resin|
|Pros||There are four models in this release||Cons||Fragile landing gear, pin holes|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$102.00|
In the late 1930s, military planners were knew that it was only a matter of time before the US entered the war in Europe and/or in the Pacific. With no forward bases available in the Pacific theater and the potential loss of the UK as a staging base, requirements were released for the design of a bomber that could reach targets from the continental US and Hawaii. This was the competition that brought forth the Boeing B-29, the Douglas XB-31, and the Consolidated B-32 Dominator. What about the B-30?
Lockheed submitted their own design for a long-range bomber based upon their Model 49 Constellation which was entering USAAC service as the C-69. Like its civilian counterpart, the XB-30 Constellation was pressurized to carry a crew of 12 and a bomb load of eight 2000 pound bombs across the ocean to strike distant targets. The design didn't go beyond the drawing boards and a scale model since Boeing and Consolidated had a head start on their development.
As with many of the Anigrand Craftswork 1/144 scale releases, this kit is actually four kits in one box. The four subjects in this box are:
- Lockheed XB-30 Constellation
- Fisher (GM) P-75A Eagle
- Curtiss XP-62
- Convair XP-81
The two images illustrate 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 next image is of the main parts of the Connie. The kit is beautifully hollow cast and has nice detailing in the castings. Assembly is literally plug and play with the wings, tail, engine nacelles, etc., all plugging into one another to build up the model. There are some minor issues with this release as there are more air bubbles/pin holes showing up in these casting than previous subjects. These are easy enough to deal with using cyano or Mr. Surfacer 500. Much of your time will be spent building up the individually cast prop blades up into their prop hubs.
The one concern I have for this particular kit is the landing gear. Anyone familiar with the various production versions of the Constellation knows that the aircraft has a long nose gear strut. This strut scaled down into 1/144 and cast in resin will be VERY delicate at best. You might want to substitute the resin strut with a metal rod of appropriate diameter and graft onto the strut the various cast resin details to make it look right. You can see more of the Connie's nose gear here.
The next kit in this set is the P-75A Eagle and as you can see in the image, the kit is simple and straightforward with the exception of the build-up of the three-bladed counter-rotating props. I'm beginning to think I need a prop jig for these different projects!
The third kit is the Curtiss XP-62 which was a heavily armed fighter with a pressurized cockpit. The design resembles a blend of the P-40 with the SB2C Helldiver, two other Curtiss designs. Like the Eagle above, this kit is a straightforward build with the exception of the three-bladed counter-rotating props. Yep, that prop jig is definitely getting on the project list.
The final kit in this set is the Convair XP-81. The aircraft was a long range escort fighter powered by a turbojet and a turboprop engine, but development delays and the end of the war terminated the project. This too is a simple build and this time there is only a single four-bladed propeller.
The kit provides two sheets of decals to provide sufficient markings for all four aircraft.
There are some interesting subjects in this box and clearly the most impressive of the lot is also the headliner - the XB-30 Constellation. Even in 1/144 scale, this isn't a small model but it is certainly distinctive and will go well with the three other designs that never made it to prime time.
My sincere thanks to the US importer, Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!