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Grumman X-29

DML 1/144 Grumman X-29 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2012 Manufacturer DML
Subject Grumman X-29 Scale 1/144
Kit Number 4643 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice looking model Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $27.50

First Look


The X-29 was an experimental aircraft that was sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to test the application of composite structures to counter the twisting found in metal-based forward swept wings. Grumman modified two Northrop F-5A airframes into single-engined aircraft powered by the F404, just like Northrop's F-20 Tigershark. Unlike the F-20, the forward-swept wings were mounted to the rear of the airframe and the canards for pitch control were mounted forward.

Where German scientists had looked into the feasibility of forward swept wings with their aerodynamic advantages, the twisting of the wings under high-G loads (combat maneuvering) made the wings impractical and never progressed off the drawing boards. With the advent of composite-based airframe structures, the composite materials could be 'programmed' to twist in a forward swept configuration in the same fashion as rear-swept wings. Flight testing of the two aircraft ran from 1984 through 1991. While the program was successful, we have yet to see if there will be forward-swept wings in our future.

DML has produced an impressive yet simple kit of the Grumman X-29. Produced in 1/144 scale, this kit is very tiny model that still has some nice features. Among these:

  • Nice cockpit for this scale
  • Choice of open or closed canopy
  • Positionable landing gear
  • Very simple construction

Construction is very simple and well designed.

Markings are provided for the first aircraft (the kit doesn't have the spin parachute system of the second aircraft).

I had no idea that you could get so much detail into such a small-scale kit. I'll never look at the 'simplistic' details of the 1/144 scale kits the same ever again as it is clear that DML has raised the bar quite significantly. This will make a really nice project that doesn't take lots of time or effort to complete.

My sincere thanks to DML for this review sample!