Valom 1/72 XF8B-1 Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||December 2004||Manufacturer||Valom|
|Kit Number||72004||Primary Media||Resin, Styrene, PE|
|Pros||Simple build for multimedia kit||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$33.98|
While Boeing had a brief stint in the fighter business before WW2, they attempted to regain a foothold in that arena once again during the war when requirement SD-349 was released for a long-range fighter for the USMC. Due to the fact that Boeing was already operating at maximum capacity with its bombers and transports, it was over a year before the first prototypes were ready to fly. In order to keep the construction simple and the landing gear rugged, a conventional low wing was used with nominal length landing gear.
Power was provided by a 28 cylinder Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major with 3000 horsepower. In order to translate that power into thrust, the conventional method was to swing a large propeller, but with conventional length landing gear, such a prop would strike the ground. Instead, Boeing opted for a mechanical gearbox to swing two three-bladed counter-rotating propellers, which had the further benefit of eliminating torque.
By the time the aircraft was ready for the competition, the war was nearly over and the services had their sights set on the next generation of fighter - the jet. Only three prototypes were produced, and these were also applied to an Air Force attack aircraft requirement, but they too wanted the jet.
Valom has produced this interesting aircraft for the first time in styrene. The parts come on two parts trees and are molded in medium gray using low-pressure injection. There is a slight texture on the surface of the parts, but this is easily buffed smooth.
The nose cowling is cast in white resin, as are the exhaust ports. Further details are provided on a small fret of photo-etched parts including an instrument panel, seat belts/harness, landing gear oleo scissors, intake grille and rudder pedals.
Two vac canopies are provided in the event that one installation goes bad, you have a spare.
This is an attractive kit and will no doubt require some modeling skills to get a good fit and smooth finish, but as multimedia kits go, this one is simple. For those of you modeling US Naval Aviation during WW2, this will fill an interesting niche in your scale flightline. This kit is recommended!
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!.