XAB-1 "Beta 1" Atomic-Powered Bomber Concept (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
Hawk Models released its first edition of the XAB-1 in 1959. The kit was subsequently re-released with new box art in 1964. The model featured retractable landing gear and gear bay doors. It also came with clear red "flames" for the atomic engines, parts distinctive to Hawk models of the period.
This model was built from the 1964 reissue and was detailed with custom-designed decals.