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Eduard 1/48 scale Bell X-1

Kit: No. 8026
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Eduard, distributed by Precision Parts Corp., 800 Proctor Ave., Ogdensburg, NY 13669, 613-224-9071
Price: $24.98
Comments: Injection molded, 37 parts, decals.

The sound barrier, long thought to be impenetrable, was shattered more than 50 years ago by then Capt. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager in the Bell XS-1. This bullet-shaped aircraft was designed for only that purpose - transonic flight. Three XS-1s were built by Bell in Buffalo, New York, in December 1945; the designator XS-1 stood for experimental supersonic, but later was simplified to X-1.

Eduard's offering replicates the prototype with accuracy, including recessed panel lines. The 37 parts are flash-free, and fitting them was a simple task. Decals are provided for Yeager's overall-orange "Glamorous Glennis" (named for his wife), and the second overall-white craft (serial 46-063).

The exploded-view instructions comprise three assembly steps and two sets of four-view drawings for painting and marking. A parts map and modeling paint chart are handy additions.

The cockpit detail is good, but there's not much inside the wheel wells - there may not have been much in the real X-1 either. The gear and doors took a little dry-fitting to get right. The doors look thick for the scale.

Modelers can leave off the cockpit door, but I glued mine in position. Add weight under the cockpit to keep the nose down.

I mixed Testor enamels to produce an orange similar to the color I've seen on original films of the craft. Later films show it faded to a pumpkin color.

The Propagteam decals were troublesome, but sliding them into a puddle of water on the model's surface helps them to move in position. My sample's "Glamorous Glennis" legend was out of register and looks mostly blue - the real legend had red balloon letters with either white or silver outlines, so printing the tiny letters is difficult.

The finished model looks great. The X-1 was tiny, and in 1/48 scale it measures only 8 1/2" long. There are many references, but my favorite is Aerofax Datagraph 3, Bell X-1 Variants by Ben Guenther and Jay Miller.

I spent only 15 hours on my model of this handsome and historical craft. Beginners will enjoy the good fit and detail. No doubt some modelers are planning to shove their X-1s under Monogram's B-29, just like the real one!

- Bill Gebhard

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