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  1. Hi everyone, returning to my Project Cancelled roots for a moment, I decided to finish a model that's been sitting on the Shelf of Doom for years, that being Anigrand's North American F-108 Rapier. After building the Republic XF-103, Rockwell International XFV-12A, and Vought XF8U-3 Crusader III (all as hypothetical operational aircraft), it felt impolite not to finish this one. The aircraft would have been quite a monster had it made it to production, roughly comparable in size to a B-58 Hustler, with the same total thrust but using only two engines. One of its envisaged duties was to have been fighter escort for the Mach 3 B-70 Valkyrie, another NA monster. Obligatory waffle A brief history of the project for those interested....... North American Aviation proposed the North American XF-108 Rapier as a long-range, high-speed interceptor aircraft to defend the United States from supersonic Soviet strategic bombers. The aircraft would have cruised at Mach 3 (2,000 mph) with an unrefueled combat radius of over 1,000 nautical miles and was to be outfitted with an AN/ASG-18 look down/shoot down radar and missiles with engagement ranges of up to 100 miles against bomber-sized targets. Its primary weapon would have been the large Hughes GAR-9 (three fitted on an internally mounted rotary launcher within the weapons bay). When the F-108 program was cancelled in 1959, it was decided that the GAR-9 would continue to be developed. This became the AIM-47, intended for the Lockheed YF-12A, which, in its turn, was also cancelled. The missile became the basis for the AIM-54 Phoenix, originally intended for the GD F-111B (which was likewise axed) eventually finding a home with the F-14 Tomcat. Despite the extra money and time spent on the Rapier, its cancellation was not completely in vain; the companies North American A-5 Vigilante, retained the fuselage/weapon package and systems design ideas of the Rapier. In many ways the Vigilante could be seen as the successful application of the Rapier design in a Mach 2 supersonic aircraft. Power would be provided by the General Electric J-93-GE-3 turbojet, developed as the power plant for both the North American XB-70 Valkyrie and the Rapier. Tests were to be carried out using a Convair NB-58A aircraft and a special pod carrying the engine was designed and fitted to the underside of the Hustler. Several successful test flights were made from Edwards before the program was terminated. Interestingly due to it's high thrust of the J-93 and the B-58s clean aerodynamic configuration it wasn't necessary to run the four J-79s at full thrust during the tests. Being one of Anigrand's earlier offerings, there were unfortunately several flaws in the kit that needed addressing. Thankfully there were no air bubble issues that others seem to have had but there was noticeable warping of both wings, fixed using a hair dryer and a bowl of cold water. A bigger problem as noted by Space Ranger during Whirly's excellent build here on BM, concerned the position and angle of the main gear bays which resulted in the main undercarriage legs not being opposite each other with a 5mm discrepancy. To make it completely accurate would take major surgery so my quick solution was to cut out the offending areas, fore and aft, realign the angled portions of the bays using scrap resin and create new location points so that the main gears were at least opposite one another. At the same time the nose-gear bay was deepened as it was way too shallow and new undercarriage doors fabricated from Evergreen card as were the the underwing fins. The long-range tanks were sourced from the spares bin, unknown origin. The skinny undercarriage legs were replaced with brass parts and the GAR-9 sourced from an Italeri YF-12A kit, the missile needing modification to the fins and to fit the weapons bay. Anti-collision and nav lights were also added from the CMK set. I left the exhaust nozzles as they were just adding collars around the base of each nozzle that covered the thrust reverser system. Regarding the scheme, I was drawn to Erik Simonsen's artwork on the cover and inside his book 'Project Terminated,' depicting a pair of Rapiers from the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Aerospace Defense Command, complete with long-range wing tanks, based at Minot AFB, circa 1972. Painting was done using AK Real Color's FS16473 ADC Grey and RAL 9021.F-9 NATO Black. Looking at images of contemporary F-106 aircraft, their finishes seemed immaculate with little evidence of weathering or staining, so this was applied, although a few panels were faded slightly here and there. The 5th FIS decals, national markings came from the Xtradecals set for the F-106 Delta Dart (Part 1). Knowing what to expect from early Anigrand kits it was still a fun build of an unusual and powerful aircraft of striking appearance. Might just have to break a few more of these out of the stash in the future. Scan of the book cover, If you made it this far, give yourself a big pat on the back... Cheers all, hope you approve Melchie
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