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Special Hobby 1/48 scale D-558-1 Skystreak


The D-558-1 Skystreak was designed by Douglas Aircraft Company for the U.S. Navy and NACA (forerunner to NASA) to explore transonic and supersonic flight. The aircraft was initially painted red overall, but Special Hobby’s box art, and my model, show it as it was painted later for better visibility.

Gray and clear plastic, photoetched-metal and cast-resin parts, as well as the decals, are packaged in clear plastic bags. A black-and-white, 12-page instruction booklet begins with a brief history in Czech and English. Included with the assembly drawings are a parts map, a color list for Gunze Sangyo paints, and four-view color and markings drawings for the three airframes built.

While part colors are called out on every page of the assembly drawings, parts are neither numbered nor named on the first page of drawings. The instrument-panel film (F) shown on the parts map was missing from my kit.

Plastic parts are crisply molded with finely scribed panel lines. Ejector-pin marks appear on the inside of many parts. Flash is minimal, but all part edges are rough and must be sanded to clean them up. The fuselage halves were slightly warped. Two canopies are provided; they have faint window outlines, and the cockpit openings do not fit the canopies. Horizontal stabilizers butt up against the vertical fin sides without locating pins or tabs.

The wing-to-fuselage fit requires considerable tweaking. The landing-gear wells, glued to the inside of the wing panels, interfere with the fuselage sides and must be trimmed.

The photoetched-metal safety harness and instrument panel are well done. Sadly, none of these parts is visible after the fuselage is joined and the canopy installed.

After cleanup and test-fitting, parts fit is generally good. I did have trouble installing resin part P7, the nose splitter/cockpit; it was oversize around the intake splitter, preventing the fuselage from being joined. I filed and sanded the top and bottom surfaces until it was located without stress. I lost Part P3 (nose-gear vibration damper, shown in Step 5) and replaced it with a stretched-sprue facsimile. During the build I broke the nose-gear strut (Part B15) four times.

The wing-to-fuselage fit was rough. I was never able to get the wing far enough up on the fuselage sides to eliminate steps on the fuselage bottom at the leading and trailing edges.

I chose Floquil paints followed by Model Master clear gloss for decal application and final finish. The decals were fault-free and settled with just a little Micro Sol.

My crude measurements indicate the model is about 8 scale inches short in length. However, my references don’t indicate whether or not the tip tanks were installed at the time of measurement.

Photos in my prime reference, Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak, by Scott Libis (Ginter, ISBN 978-0-942612-56-1), show that the model’s stance is about right. If you have experience in cobbling parts and applying white paint, Special Hobby’s Skystreak will look great on your shelf. I know it’s the only red-and-white jet in my collection.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the January 2012 issue of FineScale Modeler magazine.


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