YB-49 Flying Wing 1:200 Scale Cyberhobby (Dragon) Model Kit #2012 Review

2014 April 14
by Doug

Right On Replicas, LLC Step-by-Step Review 20140414*
YB-49 Flying Wing 1:200 Scale Cyberhobby (Dragon) Model Kit #2012 Review
Fig 000

Review and Photos by Frank MacKay Frank MacKay Thumbnail

The revolutionary ‘Flying Wing’ aircraft concept was conceived by aviation pioneer Jack Northrop, founder of Northrop Aircraft, as early as the 1930’s. The unusual aerodynamics offered obvious advantages but the design was plagued by difficulties throughout its entire development. The US Air Force evaluated a Northrop propeller driven flying wing called the YB-35A during World War Two but it was never put into production. Captured Nazi research showed that jet propulsion was the wave of the future and with knowledge gained from the Horten project, jet engines were fitted to the flying wing design. It was designated the YB-49 and first flew in 1947. It set an unofficial endurance record for staying continually above 40,000 ft (12,200 m) for 6.5 hours, and was very popular with its test pilots despite many performance issues. The first prototype disintegrated and crashed in 1948 killing its crew of 5, one of whom was Capt. Glen Edwards, who subsequently had an air force base named after him. In 1950, the second prototype burst into flames and was destroyed during a routine taxiing test, giving rise to suspicions of industrial sabotage. Jack Northrop outright accused competitor Convair of complicity because he had refused to merge with them. Convair got the contract to produce the unspectacular B-36 bomber as a result. The flying wing contracts were cancelled and all materials ordered destroyed. The US Government even denied a request from the Smithsonian for the last prototype to be put on display and ordered it melted down before the heartbroken Northrop’s very eyes. He had the last laugh when the flying wing design was finally produced as the B-2 Spirit, perhaps the finest bomber ever made. He passed away in 1981, eight years before it entered service with the USAF. The original Northrop YB-49 PR movie is available for viewing on www.youtube.com and may be the only reference you’ll need for this project. It’s highly recommended, informative and also very entertaining. 

For the Modeler: This is a review of YB-49 Flying Wing 1:200 Scale Cyberhobby (Dragon) Model Kit #2012. It is a skill level 2 for intermediate builder.  I must admit that I was a little uneasy when I drew this assignment; experimental aircraft are not really my thing and frankly, I’ve always been wary of 1:200 scale. It doesn’t have the detail of 1:48 or even of 1:72, and I rarely even bother with 1:144. However, this kit was a very pleasant surprise, almost a shock. It’s a real masterpiece and has forced me to change my long-held opinions. It is ingeniously molded with finely engraved and accurate panel lines and has an intricacy of detail that I have never seen on any kit in this scale. It comprises only 50 parts in light gray styrene and is a relatively simple build apart from a few difficulties and their remedies which will be discussed in this article. This may very well be the finest kit of this historically important aircraft ever produced in this scale. Overall dimensions of the finished build are: Wingspan 10.5”, Nose to Tail 3.0”.

Covered in this Review: Basic construction, glue, paint and material selections; adding internal counterbalance nose weights; correcting omissions in the assembly instructions; flattening wheels to represent weight pressure; enhanced cockpit detailing; masking fuselage openings; application of black primer and painting with Alclad II metalizing paint; highlighting panel lines with tempera paint; drilling out thick areas; identifying and removing unneeded injection pin tabs; winglet tab modifications; using blackwash to enhance feature details; making a paint finishing fixture; application of decals; suggestions for increasing accuracy and detail; exhaust detailing; cautionary notes regarding decal setting solution use; adding some spare parts box decal details; making your own title plaque; handling tiny parts; canopy handling techniques; expanded statistical information about the real aircraft, are all fully examined in this pictorial 13 page, full-color Step-by-Step review in PDF format. 


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