Valom 1/72 Lockheed XFV-1 Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Simple build for multimedia kit
In 1948, the US Navy foresaw the need for a fighter that could provide top cover for convoys that were beyond the range of shore installations. The aircraft would launch and recover vertically from small flight decks mounted atop selected vessels. This was the first major application of Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) for fixed-wing aircraft.
Work began in 1950 and two competitors entered the field - Lockheed and Convair both using the new turbo-prop engines for their fighters. While neither aircraft was successful in entering production, the concept of forward-deployed fighter protection using VTOL technology would later lead to an aircraft that would enter production, thanks to the British - the Harrier.
The turbo-prop engine installed in the number one XFV-1 was 5850 shaft horsepower (shp) and it became apparent that this engine wasn't powerful enough to safely handle VTOL operations. The next engine was scheduled to reach 7100 shp, but it would never arrive in time. In the meantime, flight testing continued on the XFV-1 by attaching fixed landing gear to the airframe to enable it to take off and land like a conventional aircraft so that the aircraft could be tested for its handling qualities. The program was terminated in 1955 before the next engine was ready.
As you can see in these photos, the kit reflects the simplicity of the aircraft (all of the complexity was under the 'hood'. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and all of the parts are present on the single tree. Only a small fret of photo-etched parts are included to provide an instrument panel (with acetate instrument faces) and seat belts/harnesses.
Parts are included for the VTOL landing gear that extends from the rear of the tail surfaces as well as the interim conventional landing gear used in flight test.
Probably the most work will be with the two counter-rotating three-blade propellers that go into that huge spinner on the nose. The cockpit is nicely done and will benefit from that photo-etched instrument panel. Two vacuformed canopies are included, just in case, and the canopy can be positioned open or closed.
This is a nice-looking kit that a more experienced modeler will have no problem assembling. It will definitely look great sitting on its tail or on its provisional landing gear. This kit is recommended!
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!.