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D-558-1 Skystreak 

Special Hobby, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Special Hobby Kit No. SH 48080 - D-558-1 Skystreak
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 53 parts in grey styrene; 11 parts in cream colored resin; two clear injection molded parts; nickel plated photo-etched fret; instructions; decal sheet.
Price: USD $30.60 available online from Squadron
from GBP £15.15 available online from Hannants
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Fascinating subject; fine surface detail; high quality plastic mouldings; appropriate use of multi-media.
Disadvantages: No jet pipe; some fine flash on smaller parts; limited run nature means experience will be helpful
Conclusion: A well executed kit of a very interesting subject for moderately experienced modellers.


Reviewed by Brett Green

Special Hobby's 1/48 scale Skystreak is available online from Squadron.com




The Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak straddled two eras. Its jet engine was of a new age, but its low straight wing and conventional tailplanes were features familiar from the previous generation of WWII aircraft.

Douglas built three D-558-1 aircraft for the US Navy and NACA. Although performance was hardly startling compared to its contemporary, the rocket powered Bell X-1, the D-558 still set a new official world speed record of 1031.049 kph on 20 August 1947.

The D-558-1 was also capable of breaking the sound barrier in a dive.

Special Hobby continues to demonstrate its commitment to American experiemental aircraft with their 1/48 scale D-558-1 Skystreak.

Special Hobby's 1/48 scale Skystreak comprises 53 parts in grey styrene; 11 parts in cream colored resin; two clear injection molded parts; nickel plated photo-etched fret; instructions and a decal sheet.


  • Special Hobby D-558-1 Skystreak Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby D-558-1 Skystreak Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby D-558-1 Skystreak Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby D-558-1 Skystreak Review by Brett Green: Image
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The plastic is very smooth but matt in finish. Considering this model will eventually wear a high gloss paint job, I would recommend polishing the plastic with Micro Mesh cloths (or similar) to prepare the surface for the smoothest possible finish.

Surface detail is incredibly fine, but it should look approporiate under a carefully applied coat of gloss red. Fine flash surrounds some of the smaller parts, but this shoud be fairly fast and easy to clean up with the tip of a new hobby blade.

The resin parts include an integrated cockpit tub and intake splitter. This is a neat idea and very well executed, but it will be a little tricky to paint the sidewall detail inside the pre-formed tub.

Other resin parts include the wheels and smaller airframe details.



A photo-etched fret supplied details for the cockpit (instrument panel control yoke and harness straps), plus undercarriage oleo scissors.

A pre-painted acetate sheet offers instrument dial detail. This is designed to be cut to shape and glued to the back of the photo-etched instrument panel.



Alternate canopies are supplied for the two aircraft. These are both moulded in one piece.They are clear and free of distortion.



Parts breakdown is quite conventional, with a three-piece wing (full-span lower section and two top halves), and butt-joined horizontal stabilisers. I recommend that the stabilisers should be drilled and pinned to the tail to ensure a robust join.

Strangely, Special Hobby has made no attempt to depict the jet pipe inside the rear fuselage. You might paint this area black to reduce its exposure, or you could install a piece of plastic tube inside the rear fuselage.

This model looks like a classic tail-sitter, so it will require lots of weight in the nose. Check the centre of balance carefully before you seal the fuselage.

The compact decal sheet provides markings for two of the three D-558-1 Skystreaks - Bu Nos 37970 and 37971. These represent the first and second prototypes.

The first prototype was the aircraft that twice set the World Air Speed Record, while the second prototype crashed on 3 May 1948, killing its pilot, H.C Lilly.

Both aircraft are finished in overall bright gloss red with large letterin and white horizontal streaks on the forward fuselage.



The decals are thin and printed in perfect register.




Special Hobby's 1/48 scale D-558-1 Skystreak is a well-executed kit of a fascinating and significant experimental aircraft.

The limited run nature of the kit makes it most suitable for modellers with some experience, but the relatively small parts count and conventional kit breakdown should not present too many unexpected challenges.

I do hope that Special Hobby continues this theme with the D-558-1 in its white scheme, and with the swept wing D-558-2.

Thanks to MPM / Special Hobby for the sample

Review and Images Copyright 2008 by Brett Green
Page Created 28 October, 2008
Last updated 28 October, 2008

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