Boeing X-37B Unmanned Space Plane (2010)
About the Design
The X-37B is a reusable space plane used by the U.S. Air Force to conduct long-term orbital missions of a (so-far) classified nature. The X-37B is built by Boeing's Phantom Works division, which began developing the craft in 1999. Development was taken over by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2004.
The first flight of the X-37B began on April 22, 2010 and lasted until December 3, 2010. The second flight launched on March 5, 2011 and lasted until June 16, 2012.
The X-37B is distinguished by its relatively small size (just 8.8 meters long), hypersonic flyback-capable design and off-center engine bell. (The latter suggests the craft carries an asymmetrical payload.)
About the Kit
This was the second X-37B kit released by Fantastic Plastic Models. The first was a smaller and simpler 1:72 scale version released in 2010. This kit was designed in CAD and printed using high-resolution stereolithography. Both the design and casting were done exclusively for Fantastic Plastic by BLAP! Models.
"Upgrades" on this model compared to the early 1:72 version include landing gear, a cargo bay, a repositioned engine bell, finely detailed heat shield tiles and flight-accurate decals.