Special Hobby 1/48 X-15A-2 Build Update 4

At the end of the last update, I had the external tanks painted and ready for the final details to be added. I did that by using CA to attach a device that I had previously scratch built. I’m not sure the exact function of this device. I can’t find any documentation for it as of yet. However, it is built and looks similar to the one on the actual tanks. I painted it silver and then attached it to each tank. I then sprayed on a clear coat to prepare them for the decals.

I next moved back to the X-15 itself. I glued on the dorsal fin/rudder with Tenax. There is a gap that will have to be filled where the fin meets the fuselage, but it is not too bad. I also glued on the resin helium tank box. It will require a bit of filler to make it properly meet up with the air brakes. There are also a few small pinholes on one side that will need filling.

I then glued on the ventral fin. It too has a gap at the fin/fuselage joint that will need filling. It also had a much larger gap at the base of the air brake on the right side. I couldn’t use filler since the air brake was a moveable surface and should have a small gap at the fuselage. I ended up gluing on a strip of .010 sytrene to fill the gap. The end result looks good.

It was time to add the landing skids. I removed them from the pour plug. They are a two piece assembly. One small piece represents the hinge where the skid is attached to the fuselage. The instructions indicate to glue the hinge to the fuselage first then glue the skid to both the hinge and the fuselage at the same time. Of course by this point I have ditched the instructions long ago. I glued the hinge to the skid and made sure they were square and lined up properly.

I then glued that assembly to the fuselage. This worked very well and allowed me to get them on exactly where they needed to be and straight.

I then added some masking tape to the back of the ventral fin/rudder at the air brake opening. This will keep primer and paint from getting on the detail parts inside that are already painted.

I next tackled the APU exhaust ports. They are small pipes that exit the fuselage near the cockpit at an angle. I took a piece of 3/64 styrene rod and drilled it out to make a tube. I then cut off some angled sections and glued them in place.

After cleaning up some final spots that needed some more filler I sprayed primer over the whole model. This let me better see if I had some additional areas that needed filling. Of course there were. I had to do additional work on the wing/fuselage joints, the fuselage halve seam, the ball nose and a couple of spots at the back near the engine. When those were cleaned up I sprayed primer again.

After looking it over I decided that I had to add the BCS thrusters on the wings. The ones on the nose had been drilled out earlier in the build. They had markings showing where they were. The wings had no such markings. There were two upward facing thrusters and two downward facing thrusters. I went through my documentation and finally found some dimensions that the would allow me to measure where they should be on the model. I made some marks and then drilled out some nozzle representations.

I lastly went back and re-scribed some panel lines near the front of the tunnels that run along the sides of the fuselage.

The only parts left to add are a couple of antennas on the lower side of the fuselage and the two vent booms that project from the back of the rocket motor. I’m leaving them off until painting is finished since with all the handling that will need to be done I will probably break them off if I put them on now.

Next up is to paint the white stripes on the bottom of the aircraft and then mask them off prior to spraying on the base color.

Thanks for looking, more to come.

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