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1/48 Fonderie Miniatures Bell X-2

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Posted (edited)

I’ve always loved the muscle car looks of the tragic, short-lived Bell X-2 and decided it was time to pull the 1/48 scale Fonderie Miniatures kit from the shelf of doom.  It landed there years ago after I did some “reconnaissance in force" style preliminary construction.  As often happens, I found myself stumped on which version to build and how to address its (many) flaws or omissions.

As time passed, I picked up Cutting Edge’s excellent decal sheet and more references became available.  Why only have one “sow’s ear” project going when one can compound the pain?

As delivered, the kit depicts the early version of the X-2, but I wanted to build a late version with the rocket nozzle extensions.  Once I figured out how to fabricate the nozzles it was time to get going. 

The initial posts will chronicle progress to-date and I'll pick up with contemporary updates once I've escaped the rubber room of AMS.


What do you get?

  • Injection molded airframe
  • A resin cockpit tub
  • A featureless white metal instrument panel
  • White metal ejection seat and control stick
  • 2 Vacuform canopies
  • White metal nose gear and wheel
  • White metal pitot tube
  • White metal landing skid
  • White metal whisker skids
  • White metal rocket exhaust bulkhead
  • White metal towing cradle with resin wheels



Plan of Action

  • Detail the cockpit – guided by references and Shepard Paine creative gizmology.
  • Make the canopy removable.
  • Fabricate rocket nozzle extensions.
  • Add missing fairings, lines and exhaust ducts to the tail area.
  • Thin the trailing edges, but preserve blunt aileron trailing edges.
  • Box in the landing skid bay, adjust the geometry of the landing skid.
  • Fair in the wing-mounted whisker skids (they were found unnecessary once the main gear was shortened).
  • Reshape, smooth, re-scribe as necessary.
  • Scheme is still TBD, but I'm leaning towards how it looked prior to Mel Apt's flight. 



Edited by Propellerhead

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As always, it starts with the cockpit...


The cockpit tub detail is not exactly accurate and has only engraved details.  If built all closed up one could get away with paint and cannibalized decals for the instrument panel, I suppose.


I didn’t like how the resin cockpit tub fit in the fuselage and used Milliput putty to bulk it out and close up some gaps in the nose wheel well.

I used the cockpit tub from the 1/48 Hasagawa F-104 to detail the left and right sides of the resin tub.



I fabricated a new instrument panel in styrene that better matched reality and went to town with the punch and die set.



I then used cockpit parts from the Trumpeter Vigilante and some A-10 Verlinden resin leftovers (super stinky resin!) to dress up the rear bulkhead.  I also added the rocket engine "go-knobs" made up of styrene rod and gel CA glue.  Slices of styrene rod were used for the rear face of the instrument panel.  None of this may be visible in the end, but...new skilz!



It needed rudder pedals so I stole the footbox from the F-104 tub, glued it on, blanked it out with styrene sheet and sanded it to shape.


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Posted (edited)

Once things looked busy enough I painted and installed the cockpit. I chopped up some thick Evergreen strip into blocks to establish its fore and aft position.




Things get hot at Mach 3.  The sidewalls have quilted insulation that I simulated with wine bottle lead foil, embossed with the end of a rounded putty knife and washed with gray panel liner.




OCD pays off once again...


I had an acetate sheet from Eduard's Profipack X-1 that had unused instrument panels on it.  I punched those out and applied them to the instrument faces with Future.


The cockpit was painted with Tamiya NATO black and details picked out in silver, yellow and red.  I scuffed the floorboards with a Prismacolor silver pencil.



Edited by Propellerhead

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Wow, that kit is requiring some serious modeling skills, which you're clearing bringing to bear.



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I have the same project waiting on my shelves (along with a couple of hundred others). Thanks for posting. I'll be watching your build with interest.



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