Convair XAB-1 "Beta 1" Atomic-Powered Bomber (1959)
About the Design
In the 1950s, America's defense industry explored several radical ways to gain air superiority over the rival Soviet Union. Convair's XAB-1 concept bomber employed two notions that were particularly fashionable during this Cold War period. One was the idea of atomic engines, power plants that could keep a plane airborne virtually indefinitely. (Conventional jet engines were still required for take-offs and landings.) The other idea was that of parasite fighters, high-performance jets that were carried with the bomber and then released over enemy territory to provide airborne defense.
Ultimately, the idea of atomic engines was scrapped when the notion proved too unwieldy and dangerous, while the parasite fighter notion was rendered obsolete by the perfection of mid-air refueling technology.
About the Kit
The Convair XAB-1 was Fantastic Plastic Models' first recreation of a classic model kit. Designed in CAB by Scott Lowther and printed via stereolithography, this kit faithfully recreates the lines the original Hawk model but in a larger 1:144 scale (as opposed to the original's 1:180). Unlike the 1959 kit, this 2010 release has fixed landing gear and gear bay doors.