Mat Irvine: At just 25 components, the parts-count is small, and the moulding in places very heavy, this especially applying especially to the undercarriage doors, which are way too thick for this scale. Although there is a clear cockpit canopy, there is no interior cockpit detail. This kit came from a time when the cockpit interior was usually ‘solid’ with a semblance of the pilot built in! But you can cut out this area, and even, if you feel so inclined, scratch-build a simple interior.
Parts layout (above) and note the stand base still has the Strombecker name engraved on it. Rivet detail is quite heavy, but a quick sand with fine wet’n’dry will reduce their prominence (below right) compared with the original at left.
The kit has some very thick gates (above) where molten plastic flows through from the runners into the mould cavity, but a fine razor saw will deal with them. The ‘cockpit' (below) is little more than a blanking plate, but it can easily be removed.
I built a simple cockpit interior (below). The instrument decal is provided in the kit, the seat comes from an F-117A - not historically accurate, but it looks reasonably convincing.
The basic X-1B, primed and painted with silver and aluminium. I covered panels with masking tape and sprayed over the top to give a ‘different materials’ look.
An all-orange finish was used on the Bell X-1 and X-1A. Perhaps the X-1B featured it at one point, as shown here.
The explosions were caused by a reaction between liquid oxygen and chemical-impregnated gaskets, made from Ulmer leather. This was a factor unknown before it caused the loss of these two craft, plus two other X-Planes, the third original X-1 and the second X-2.
The third, and most recent, edition of Jay Miller’s excellent book goes up to the X-45, in real life, the series has now reached X-56.
The colour page( below) shows the X-1A painted orange. Below this is a rare photo of the X-1A and X-1B together.
Glencoe Models: Bell X-1B
Parts: 25 (including two for the stand)
Assembled length 800 mm (9 in)
Manufacturer’s ref: 05120
Review kit courtesy Glencoe Models.
Glencoe Models have a range of kits here.