Bell RoBo Rocket Bomber (1955)
About the Design
Even before the launch of Sputnik in 1957, America was seriously pondering the military applications of manned space flight. In 1955, designers at Bell Aircraft came up with this design for a Bomber Missile (BoMi), also known as a Rocket Bomber (RoBo), a craft designed to be boosted into space by one to three chemical-fueled boosters, "skip" across the upper atmosphere in a manner similar to the "Silverbird" skip-glide craft proposed by Dr. Eugene Sanger in the late 1930s, drop an atomic payload on an enemy target, and then glide back to earth. Later versions of the BoMi included a transtage that could boost the spaceplane into earth orbit.
For more information on this project, see: http://www.astronautix.com/craft/robo.htm.
About the Kit
This big 1:72 scale kit was released by Sharkit of France in early 2005. The main orbiter and transtage was limited to less than 50 copies; this version, which includes the three boosters, was limited to less than half a dozen due to materials shortages. Although the kit came with decals, markings for this model were both custom-made and swiped from the modeler's "junk" box.
Interesting Fact: The model was first marketed as Bell's earlier "BoMi" (bomber missile) concept spacecraft (1954), although that was a wholly different project. The box art still bears the incorrect "BoMi" moniker.
This model was built from an original issue.