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Beech XA-38 Grizzly - 1/144


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I don't know about you but I don't particularly associate mild mannered old Kansas-based Beech Aircraft Inc. with ground attack aircraft. No more than I associate Piper with rocket powered interceptors or Cessna with four engined nuclear bombers. But here you have it...

 

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Perhaps that's what attracted me to this, Beech's XA-38 Grizzly. Perhaps it is the name Grizzly - surely the coolest and most appropriate name for this aircraft (step aside Airbus A400M). Perhaps it is its eye watering performance. Perhaps it's that ridiculous punch-in-the-face artillery piece in the nose. Everything about this aircraft is impressive. And very un-Beech - a far fling from the Bonanza, Expeditor, Mentor at any rate. 

 

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This was designed as a bomber-killer, but when fears of long-range German raids abated it found its groove as a replacement for the Douglas A-20 Havoc. It first flew in mid-1944 and is one of the handful of aircraft in history which have actually exceeded their anticipated design potential in initial testing. But herein lay its achilles heel: the key ingredient to its superb performance were the two colossal Wright R-3350s (a ferocious 2,300hp apiece if you must know - same as the Tigercat). This gave it a blistering top speed in level flight of 320kts - compared to the Marauder's 249kts, Havoc's 275kts or the Mitchell's 236kts. The A-26 Invader came closer, at 312kts.

 

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The 75mm cannon (which you may or may not have noticed on the nose of the aircraft - it's rather bashful and discreet) was also fitted to the B-25H with success. In fact, had the Mitchell not been so successful at doing its thing, the Grizzly would have been employed flying in and out of the coastal inlets of the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan, knocking out shipping and bunkers. 


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This is the Anigrand kit. Mr. Anigrand produced a 1:72 kit of this which I drooled over for a few years and was overjoyed when they released a 1:144 bonus kit with their Sikorsky VS-44. I started this in the first lockdown over a year ago. It goes together very nicely indeed - very little seam cleanup. I don't quite know why I set it aside actually. 


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I made only a couple of modifications - I replaced all the cannons and machine guns with metal tubing; I used a dremel to make two more gun ports in the forward nose that were not cast on; I replaced the plain kit wheels with some from the spares box; I added some 500lb bombs to the moulded pylons (thank you Platz P-47); I put a few stencil decals on from the spares box. But that was it. There's not much more to add.


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The kit is pretty accurate I think - shapewise it looks right. Two minor things that could be improved: I had to shorten the main undercarriage legs or this sits too snout-high. The exhaust panels aren't quite right - it should have recessed scoops like on the A-26 but is moulded flat.


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I painted this AKI Xtreme Aluminium as usual. There are lots of very good reference photos of this aircraft and its sistership. This was fairly plain overall natural metal (so plain that I wondered whether it was painted an aluminium lacquer). 

 

I did a bit of weathering on the upper wing which was very exhaust stained on the real thing...

 

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...but after an abortive attempt in which I applied far too much staining and the whole thing looked faintly ridiculous, I scrubbed it back and had another go with a dollop more restraint. I'm happy with the look now. Overall these were pretty clean.

 

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The Jeep is a Brengun number by the way (improperly painted for this scene in post-war guise but forgive me). 

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Finally with another twin engined bomber that's approaching completion.


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Next I'm going to build Slingsby's jet-powered anti-submarine warfare seaplane. 

 

Thanks very much for looking.

 

Angus

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That's some great work in such a tiny scale. That you could mask the clear parts so effectively actually amazes me. Very well done.

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Now, that's a wonderful model in all respects - a superb build in a miniature scale (it does look a much larger scale), nicely presented with that tiny Jeep (my compliments on that!). The scenery, the photography and the background story make it so much more interesting. That's the way I like it!

I was surprised by the XA-38's considerable size when compared to the B-26.

 

1 hour ago, ajmm said:

two colossal Wright R-3350s (a ferocious 2,300hp apiece if you must know - same as the Tigercat)

 

The Tigercat had P&W R-2800 engines if I remember correctly.

 

Thanks for showing this great (small) work of art

Michael

 

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Thank you so much for the kind comments @SAT69 @JamesP - they are greatly appreciated. Thank you. 
 

1 hour ago, Toryu said:

The Tigercat had P&W R-2800 engines if I remember correctly.

 


Thank you Michael for the compliments - that’s very kind of you to say! You’re quite right about the Tigercat of course - I was unclear. I meant that they had about the same number of ponies rather than the same powerplant. 

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This is one of those discovery moments in your life that you say "OK, I have seen all the aircraft types that ever existed".

 

Never heard of the XA-38 before BUT, I find it to be a very interesting type of aircraft and from many perspectives!!!!!

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the Grizzly was so close to getting a production order but the engines were needed for other projects so it was put aside as the A26 could pretty much do the job..i am an XA38 fan and have the 1/72 kit in my stash.

BTW awesome job i hope my 1/72 kit turns out as nice.

Edited by oz rb fan
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That looks a lot more like the 1/72 kit than a 1/144th kit! You did an incredible job on this one- it's very hard to make such a small scale model look like a replica instead of a toy, but you have pulled it off. I also have the Anigrand 1/72 kit, and if I ever get the nerve to build an all-resin model, I hope it will turn out half as good as yours! Without a doubt, the nastiest Beechcraft ever! It's a shame one of them wasn't preserved.

Mike

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A smashing job as always Angus. It really looks purposeful. I thought it was smaller until seeing it beside the B-26 Marauder!!

 

Miguel

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Posted (edited)

Thank you all very much for the kind comments - they are really appreciated. Thank you!

 

@72modeleri agree such a shame one wasn’t preserved. 100% the meanest Beech, agreed! You should definitely build yours - I’d love to see that. 
 

@oz rb fan so nearly, wasn’t it. I was so tempted to go what if with mine - theres so many possibilities. I did seriously look at putting the B-25H Butch noseart on it. Alas I was conventional… I look forwards to seeing yours too one day! 
 

@Shalako ha - I know what you mean. Although I do have those moments alarmingly often…!

Edited by ajmm
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Beautiful! I, too, thought it was 1/72 at first. And I thought it was a photo of the real thing until I noticed the "doormats" under the figures. And you're forgiven for the blue Jeep.

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