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X-15A-2
with ground dolly
 

Special Hobby, 1/32 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Special Hobby Kit No. SH 32031 - X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly
Scale: 1/32
Contents and Media: 91 parts in grey styrene; approx. 170 parts in cream colored resin; 1 clear injection molded part; nickel plated photo-etched fret; instructions; decal sheet and painting guide
Price: USD $80.73 available online from Squadron
GBP £30.89 available online from Hannants
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Large and impressive; excellent surface detail; high quality plastic mouldings; appropriate use of multi-media; now includes injection moulded canopy; auxiliary tanks and ground dolly are supplied.
Disadvantages: Markings for white scheme not included.
Conclusion: The inclusion of the ground handling dolly, auxiliary tanks and injection moulded canopy makes this already excellent kit even more appealing

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Special Hobby's 1/32 scale X-15A-2 is available online from Squadron.com

 

FirstLook

 

"Bondo" Phil Brandt must be kicking himself about now.

Back in January, Phil wrote an article on the original 1/32 scale X-15A-2 release from Special Hobby. Although he clearly liked the kit, he decided to scratch build the big external tanks seen on the aircraft during flights. He was also critical of the two canopy options supplied - one vacform and one in clear resin.

With Bondo's X-15A-2 now complete and on its display shelf, Special Hobby has released a new version that includes the large external tanks, a nice clear injection moulded canopy, and a ground handling dolly.

Special Hobby's latest 1/32 scale X-15A-2 comprises approximately 91 parts in grey injection moulded plastic, 170 parts in cream coloured resin, one clear injection moulded part and markings for two schemes.

 

  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 X-15A-2 with Ground Dolly Review by Brett Green: Image
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Typical of Special Hobby's other recent releases, surface detail is impressively crisp and fine. Recessed panel lines are supplemented with raised detail as apppropriate. I especially like the delicate corrugations on the edges of the mid and rear fuselage.

There are 70 resin parts in this release. Around 50 of these are new. These new parts mostly contribute to the new ground handling dolly. This is a truly useful bonus item, as the X-15A-2 was frequently photographed aboard this small contraption.

 

 

The remaining resin parts provide extra detail for the cockpit, plus speed brake hydraulics, propellant vent and pitot tube. The jewel in the resin crown, however, is the one-piece rocket nozzle. This is beautifully cast and exquisitely detailed.

An expanded photo-etched fret adds yet more detail parts for the cockpit, airframe and ground dolly.

 

 

The new plastic canopy is quite clear and well moulded - a noticeable imporovement over its resin and vacform counterparts in the earlier kit - but it still does not feature any interior detail. If you wish to display the cockpit, it will be a good investment of time to add some structural detail to the inside of the canopy, which was structurally substantial and quite busy. An optional resin "eyelid" is offered for the port side window.

 

 

A spool of wire is also provided. This is for plumbing on the top of each external fuel tank. Resin and photo-etch parts guide and secure the piping.

The parts breakdown is straightforward enough, but some care will be needed to align the four large fuselage parts (the fuselage is split into upper and loer halves for the front and back). The thick upper and lower fins are mutli-part assemblies too, with the option of displaying the speed brakes either open or closed.

For those interested in making sure that every detail is correct, Daniel Rees posted a comprensive accuracy review of the original kit back in September 2007. Most of these issues will still be applicable to this issue.

The large decal sheet offers two marking options for the X-15A-2, both in black. One of the options has a large off-white patch on the lower fuselage.

 

 

Of more interest is the differences bewteen the fuel tank markings for the two options. "Option A" is finished in a large geometric pattern of Dayglo Orange and White, while "Option B" features an orange front half and silver rear, with vertical and diagonal stripes.

The various tank markings, including stencils, are supplied on a new decal sheet.

 

 

All the decals are printed in register.

 

 

Conclusion

 

We have to thank Special Hobby for releasing this upgraded 1/32 scale X-15A-2, and "Bondo" Phil Brandt for his selfless sacrifice. Every modeller knows that an anticipated version of a kit cannot be released until at least one poor soul tests his sanity by converting or building from scratch!

This is a limited run kit so you will need to be prepared to spend some extra time preparing parts and test fitting. Spceial Hobby's 1/32 scale X-15A-2 is definitely best suited to the experienced modeller, but this new generation of models from the Czech Republic is much more "modeller friendly" than they were a few years ago.

There is no doubt that the massive external tanks and the colourful round handling dolly add a great deal of interest to the sleek lines of this remarkable record setting aircraft.

Let's hope that we see markings for the white scheme in the future too!

Thanks to MPM / Special Hobby for the review sample

(P.S. Does anyone know if the tanks were ever fitted to the X-15A-2 while it was wearing its "eraser pink" finish?)


Review and Images Copyright 2008 by Brett Green
Page Created 8 October, 2008
Last updated 9 October, 2008

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