Quick Looks

Manufacturer: IPMS/USA 2008 National Convention
Name: NASA HL-20 Lifting Body
Scale: 1:72
Kit contents: 3 resin pieces
8 white metal pieces
4 precut styrene sheet pieces
Comments: This kit is the Show Special kit of the IPMS/USA 2008 National Convention. It represents the mockup HL-20 spacecraft built by the NASA Langley Research Center as a proposed manned orbital vehicle. The main body is a solid chunk of urethane, while the wings are made of polyurethane resin. The parts are very smooth, with recessed panel lines and attitude control ports molded in place. There aren't any visible airholes, but there are a couple of minor dimples on my sample that will need filling. Locating holes for the landing gear are molded into the bottom of the fuselage, as are the gear door outlines. The mockup had no wheel wells, so neither does the model. Precut styrene sheets are provided to represent the gear doors. If you want to duplicate the brackets that held the real plywood doors to the mockup, you'll need to supply the plastic angle stock yourself. The landing gear parts are white metal, so they should support the weight of the model. All resin and some of the white metal parts will need to have their pour plugs removed before assembly. The instructions suggest adding pins to the wing-fuselage joint for added strength. The instructions are text, with templates for forming the proper wing angle. Since the landing gear of the mockup came from an F-5, finding photos of actual F-5 landing gear will be a great help in figuring out how the landing gear parts fit together on the model. A separate painting and decaling guide with some photos of the mockup is included, along with a copy of NASA Facts publication NF172-April 1992 describing the HL-20 program.

Thanx to Ben Guenther and the 2008 IPMS/USA National Convention for the review copy.
Order from: No one. You have to attend the IPMS/USA 2008 National Convention in Virginia Beach, Virginia to get this one. And it's limited to 25 copies, so get there early!

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Sven Knudson