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XP-55 Ascender Kit

Modelsvit 1/48 XP-55 Ascender Kit First Look

By David L. Veres

Date of Review January 2019 Manufacturer Modelsvit
Subject XP-55 Ascender Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4808 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Crisp moldings, amazing interior detail Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (Euro) 33.72€

First Look

XP-55 Ascender Kit
XP-55 Ascender Kit
XP-55 Ascender Kit
XP-55 Ascender Kit
XP-55 Ascender Kit
XP-55 Ascender Kit
XP-55 Ascender Kit
XP-55 Ascender Kit
XP-55 Ascender Kit

Aside from Vultee's XP-54 and Northrop's XP-56, Curtiss' XP-55 "Ascender" – pun possibly intended – arguably remains the most intriguing, visually stunning American warplane of World War II.

All three emerged from the USAAC's Request for Proposal R40-C for new, futuristic "pusher" fighter designs. And all three might have sprung straight from 1940's pulp fiction – if they weren't real!

Now Modelsvit offers an impressive 1:48-scale Ascender with 141 plastic parts on six trees, aftermarket-quality extras, comprehensive instructions, and markings for two XP-55 prototypes.

Quality of components is uniformly outstanding. At worst, parts sport just whiffs of flash. And without care, thickly applied paint might hide Modelsvit's exquisitely fine scribing.

Hard to believe that Modelsvit's remarkably detailed kit is "limited run".

The jaw-dropping cockpit alone comprises, if I calculate correctly, at least 50 plastic and photoetch parts – with optional configurations. And assembly spans seven eye-crossing panels. Add nose and main gear wells, and Ascender interior detail reaches resoundingly stunning proportions.

Crystal-clear canopy parts include both open & closed options. And an equally impressive suite of aftermarket-quality details supplement styrene trees:

  • One (1) fret of 22 photoetch metal pieces
  • One (1) set of canopy painting masks

Modelsvit's eight-page, Ukrainian-English instructions include a thumbnail history, parts maps, paint matches keyed to Humbrol colors, and 29-step assembly sequence. The kit's 56-item decal sheet includes insignia, serials, instrument panels, and a few dozen microscopic stencils. And the one-page color guide with explanatory notes showcases two (2) subjects:

  • 42-278846, XP-55 Second Prototype, autumn 1944
  • 42-278846, XP-55 Third Prototype, May 1945

Modelsvit continues setting world standards for "limited edition" injection-molded aircraft subjects. And its XP-55 stands at the apex of kit quality and completeness. As I've said before, everything's there: just add adhesives – and time.

More, please!

My sincere thanks to Modelsvit for this review sample!