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Glamorous in Orange
Eduard's Bell X-1 in 1/48 scale

n model by Jacob de Maré
n text by Martin Waligorski


Of all research and prototype aircraft, this one has a truly immortal fame. On October 14, 1947, the Bell X-1 no. 1 with Capt. Charles "Chuck" Yeager at the controls became the first piloted aircraft to fly faster than sound. In the historic flight the bullet-like aircraft reached Mach 1.06, corresponding to 700 mph at an altitude of 43,000 feet. The historic event took place over the Mojave Desert near Muroc Dry Lake, California. 

The X-1 demonstrated in practice that aircraft could be designed to fly faster than sound, putting an end to the myth of an impregnable "sound barrier".

The model

Released in Eduard's Profipack series, the kit contained a few resin and photoetched details. These included replacement wheels, wheel well interior, cockpit instrument panels, set belts, exhaust pipes of the rocket engine.

Other than that, the kit was fine with cleanly moulded parts and finely engraved surface detail. The kit fuselage was split into halves, but the thin wings were delivered as single parts. The fact that the kit is of short run variety is indicated only by a total lacking of locating pins. 

Summarizing, the kit provides the basis to produce a highly detailed and accurate model directly out of the box.

Painting

The paint job was fairly easy. During the initial period of tests, the X-1 carried an overall orange color scheme. The color was similar to FS 12243, but a more faded shade was used on the model for the correct scale appearance. Of the other parts, the clear windscreen was particularly tedious to mask and paint.

The included decals allow the modeller to choose between two aircraft and four different paint schemes. However, the paint scheme of Glamourous Glennis was the most natural choice. The decals were made by Propagteam and were of good quality, albeit very thin.

Jacob placed the model an a flat  base replicating a piece of Rogers Dry Lakebed in the Mojave Desert where the historic tests took place. The two figures (easy to guess: Chuck Yeager talking to a mechanic) created a nice display context for the model.  Fort historic accuracy, Jacob even replicated the frost patch on the aircraft's belly. It was caused by liquid oxygen housed in the main fuel tank.

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