Vultee X-54 "Swoose Goose" (1943)
About the Design
In 1940, with Europe already at war, the U.S. Army Air Corps contracted with several American aircraft manufacturers to design and build the next generation of high-altitude interceptors. Its proposal No. R-40C called for the development of a high-speed "pusher" fighter, its propeller in the back so that its nose could be free to accommodate General Motors' new 37mm cannon.
Vultee's entry, the XP-54 "Swoose Goose," incorporated twin booms similar to what would become the P-57 Lightning as well as an unusual "cracked wing" configuration. The plane was also odd in that its nose tilted up slightly when firing, the cannons tilting slightly down, to give the weaponry additional range.
The first XP-55 was rolled out in January 1943 but was junked after just 63 hours of test flights due to it being woefully underpowered. (A problem suffered by the Curtis and Northrop entries as well). A second "Swoose Goose" prototype was tested briefly in 1944, after which the program was cancelled.
Would the "Swoose Goose" have performed better with the new jet engines then under development? We'll never know....
About the Kit
This all-resin kit from Planet Models (Czech Republic) was released in the mid-1990s. The kit was well detailed and could be built as either Vultee's first prototype (olive drab paint scheme) flown in 1943, or as the 1944 follow-up prototype (bare metal paint scheme). This model represents the first version.
Planet Models specialized in obscure X-planes and Luft '46 subjects before branching out into more mainstream models in the early 21st century. The company remains highly active, its kits available via numerous web-based hobby sellers as well as larger hobby shops.
This model was built from an original issue.