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Northrup Nuclear Wing Bomber


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Another oldie but good from Fantastic Plastic!  From their site:

In the mid-1950s, the U.S. Air Force flirted seriously with the idea of producing long-range strategic bombers powered by atomic energy.  The main advantage of such a weapon would be its ability to stay aloft for weeks at a time, thus serving as the aerial counterpart to the Navy's fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

Jack Northrop, America's number-one proponent of "flying wing" aircraft, proposed several configurations for such an atomic-powered bomber.  The most exotic of these was an asymmetrical design that positioned the cockpit at the end of the port wing.  (German engineers had proved that asymmetrical designs were  completely airworthy more than a decade before.)  This configuration, while highly unconventional, had the advantage of putting the flight crew as far away from the nuclear reactor as possible while minimizing weight. 

None of Northrop's concepts got farther than the concept stage.

One of the wings was a little warped when I pulled it out of the box, but was easily remedied with a dip in almost boiling water. The only other problem I had was that no matter how much water flooded the decal, once it hit the model it stuck down fast.  I gave up after ruining on decal that went alongside the crew pod. All in all it was a nice build. Thanks for looking.

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Nicely done and with an attractive display base, too!

I bought a second copy of the old HAWK XAB-1 "BETA-1" as a replacement for my old childhood build and notice that the Fantastic Plastic company once sold a resin 1/144 scale version.

If I weren't up to my eyeballs in kits, the Northrop Nuclear-Powered Flying Wing Bomber would have been an attractive addition to my Pile O Kits as you have proved the kit builds up very well !

Thanks for posting the photos.

Out of curiosity, have you also built the old AMT YB 49 or Italieri re-issue?

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I think you did a great job with your model--the natural metal finish is very well done.  I also learned something new from your post.  I knew Northrop built propeller-driven and jet-powered flying wing bomber prototypes, but I didn't know they worked on a nuclear-powered version.  I read the Air Force experimented with nuclear-powered aircraft, but the only one I ever heard of was a modified version of a B-36 bomber.  It had a leaded compartment to house the reactor, which also added significantly to the weight of the airplane--not a practical idea; not to mention the problems they would face in the event one of these aircraft crashed in the U.S.   Thank you for sharing!    

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Very cool! I too wasn't available of this "concept" plane. I don't know if it ever got a name, but I'd have called it "The Manta"! SWEET build!

 

Gil :smiley16:

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Most impressive job on that concept aircraft! It does look a bit ungainly, one wonders if it would have actually flown.

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Thanks guys! I appreciate the kind words.

cheveuxroux:  I don't have any of those aircraft. I came to aircraft from the Sci-fi, and real space side of modeling. So I started looking for these far out looking aircraft, and it ended up being some of the wacky Luft '46, Prototype, and other aircraft that never made it off the drawing board.

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