1/48 Fonderie Miniature Bell Aircraft X-2

by Vince Lucente

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Hello all.  This recent submission is one of my favorite experimental aircraft ,though its history is troubled and tragic.  The development of this "X" plane was long and difficult ,requiring over ten years from its conception in 1945 to its final flight in 1956.  In that time span the X-2 logged only twenty glide and powered flights, reaching the pinnacle of its development with Capt. Milburn G. Apt's record breaking Mach 3.196 run in September of 1956.  Sadly, seconds after reaching that speed Capt. Apt lost control of the X-2 in a phenomenon known as 'inertial coupling', with the aircraft rotating around all three axes.  Although he was able to initiate the first part of the escape sequence (separating the cockpit from the rest of the aircraft), he was unable to bail out of the cockpit and was killed.  This marked the end of the X-2 program.

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This kit shares many similarities with the real X-2, for building it is difficult and time consuming.  Its low pressure injection molded parts, while accurate in shape and dimension, are very thick and require a lot of cleanup.  The mismatch between the wing root and the assembled wing halves is the worst area.  Getting the vacuformed canopy to blend smoothly with the fuselage was another problem spot.  Be prepared to get friendly with your many sanding mediums.  The decals seemed a bit large, but laid down nicely with some setting and solvent solutions.  The white metal seat and instrument panel and the resin cockpit tub have a minimum of detail, so be prepared to scratch build if you're going to display the cockpit open.     

The big plus of this kit is the beautiful white metal trolley that is included to display the aircraft.  The other advantage is the price,  when compared to the Collectaire resin kit of the same scale at 90 USD.  Also, I think it looks great sitting next to my Special Hobby X-15-A2.  So, if you're up for a challenge and you want a 1/48 X-2 on your shelf, give this kit a try...

P.S. The final picture is of another project I was working on at about the same time as the X-2.  It is a Revell 1/96 Apollo CSM Modified to Block II configuration. 

Vince

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Photos and text by Vince Lucente