McDonnell XF-85 "Goblin" (1948)
About the Design
This weird little egg-shaped plane was the McDonnell Aircraft Company's answer to the Army Air Corp's request for a jet fighter that could protect long-range bombers on extended missions. A "parasite" fighter, it was intended to be carried in the belly of a B-36 bomber in lieu of a bomb load, and launched via a retractable trapeze when needed to protect the formation. Recovery would involve the same trapeze, which the fighter was supposed to grab using the large, ungainly hook on its nose.
The "Goblin," as the plane was known, began test flights in October 1948 using a modified B-29 bomber as its launch platform. While the jet handed surprisingly well in free-flight, in-flight recoveries proved to be impossible due to the unexpectedly severe turbulence encountered beneath the B-29 mothership. The Air Force ultimately cancelled the program after one year -- and a half-dozen hard landings.
About the Kit
MPM/Special Hobby released this plane in both 1/72 scale (this MPM version) while the Special Hobby division released one in 1/48-scale (box art, below). Like the real Goblin, this 1/72-scale version is small. Really small.