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Giannis Asimakos
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Republic XF-103 Thunderwarrior Mach 3 superiority fighter project 1/72 scale

March 20, 2021 · in Aviation · · 20 · 3.1K

Aircraft History and Specification
In 1949, U.S. Air Force introduced the new "weapons system" concept, in which consisting of the air-to-air guided missiles, fire control system and the "1954 interceptor" capable of supersonic flight. The project was designed to intercept the new Soviet intercontinental bombers. In 1951, Air Force announced that the Convair's YF-102 and the Republic's XF-103 were selected for the airframe part of the project. A Model AP-57 mockup was inspected in 1953. Republic received a contact for 3 prototypes. It was adopted a dual-cycle propulsion system, a turbojet and a ramjet were installed tandem in the aft fuselage. Normal cruise were powered by turbojet. At high speed, the thrust of the turbojet was to be augmented by a ramjet. Due to a lot of development problems, difficulties of titanium fabrication structure, engines delay and cost overruns, Air Force deemed that the XF-103 was no longer a possible operational "1954 interceptor". The program was finally cancelled in 1957.

The only kit released in is an ANTiGRAND CRAFTSWORK resin kit . Since at the time I wanted to build the model was hard to find it. So I decided to build the model from scratch. The materials I used, as shown in the photos, are balsa wood, plastic sheet, a few pieces from the spear box (wheels, seat, etc.) and, transparent and metal sheet. The decals were designed by me on the computer and printed on a laser printer. I hope you like my construction.

Reader reactions:
20  Awesome

42 additional images. Click to enlarge.

20 responses

  1. I had to look this one up, never heard of it and it looked way too fantastic to ever have existed. I was almost right...

    Way cool project. Magnificent project from start to end. Love how you created the fuselage and filled it up with all details.

  2. Γιάννη, this is a wonderful model of an important project!
    Cannot believe that you scratchbuilt everything!
    Congratulations on your masterpiece!

  3. An amazing project and a beautiful result. This is an airplane I never thought I would see a model of. And it's truly excellent!

    What a strange airplane - I don't think I would have wanted to be the first guy to be pulled up into that cockpit - something tells me this thing would have been "hairy."

    One almost feels sorry for the USAF, that their "enemy" didn't exist. All those billions of dollars spent on the DEW Line, the Century Series, etc., etc., for a "threat" that was close to non-existant. The only "intercontinental capability" the Soviet Union possessed in the 1950s was some 400 reverse-engineered B-29s (the Tu-4) that could only reach about as far as Chicago, over the pole, on a one-way flight (that they didn't think their crews could be depended on to execute). All their other development projects went nowhere. William Green wrote an excellent series of articles titled "The Billion Dollar Bomber" (referring to the B-29s that landed in Siberia and the cost of the US defense program) that appeared in Air International back in 1973, detailing all the Soviet aviation failures.

    When the U-2s first overflew the USSR in 1956 and the first photos arrived at the Pentagon, the Air Force had an attack in the men's room of excreting "bricks." There was nothing there! No fleets of bombers to be found! The generals actually went so far as to claim the Soviets must have penetrated the U-2 program and were hiding their bombers somewhere the U-2 hadn't flown to (in fact, this was one reason for the Powers flight in 1961). All those nightmares kids of my generation had from their "duck and cover" drills (a truly useless activity that would have saved exactly nobody) were a case of "monsters under the bed."

  4. My first impression was that you had modeled a cruise missile. Looks cool!

  5. As Tom rightfully pointed out, ADC was facing a non-existent threat. However, the spectre of a nuclear holocaust loomed so large that the US Military Industrial Complex went into overdrive designing and putting into service some of the hottest interceptors of the Cold War. The Thunderwarrior was one of those truly remarkable designs born out of fear but also the American Can Do attitude of pushing the design envelope to the limit. A great model, expertly built! Well done!

  6. I may have to give this a shot as my first scratch build! (Although I'd up it to 1/48.) I never would've thought of using balsa for the entire aircraft, but it makes sense! (I did use it as a trial run for the nose on an F-111B to see if I wanted to attempt an actual conversion. I do.)

    The major thing the 103 has going for it as a first scratch build (at least for me) is a very basic shape! I love the idea of using metal to get the intake lip so thin. Did you vacuum form or stretch form the ejection capsule?

    • Yes, I made a mold from balsa wood and molded 2 pieces on it with 0.5 mm plastic sheet and 1 on a transparent sheet for the window. Then I cut them and shaped them as shown in the photos.

      3 attached images. Click to enlarge.

      • Thanks! I think I am going to try this one! Also, is the nose of the plane a model rocket nose cone?

        • It came from the box of spare parts, from an old model of aircraft and was formed with epoxy putty with the help of the mold shown in the corresponding photo.

          7 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  7. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    Wonderful scratch building work Giannis.
    Thank you for sharing this project and images.

  8. An incedible build, Giannis @mfcg
    Unbelievable that you created this exceptional aircraft entirely from scratch.
    You have shown some true craftsmanship.

  9. Now this is model building!
    You're a true mechanic versus being a parts painter.

  10. Awesome build. They were certainly crazy times.

  11. What's not to like about this, interesting background story, terrific scratch built model, and to finish it off, great photographs, definitely liked.

  12. I'm glad you liked my model and thank you all for your comments.

  13. As above, great craftsmanship!

  14. Wow - what a project! Very cool aircraft, and great effort and skill in pulling it off. Looks fantastic.

  15. Giannis, very nice work! I would love to see one of these built in 1/48 or quite possibly a 1/32 scale. Collect Aire models released a 1/48 scale kit of this several years ago but unfortunately it's nearly $200 price tag kept it out of reach of my wallet.
    A good friend of mine's grandfather was working at Republic Aviation when this aircraft was in development. As he put it: "The XF-103 was about a decade too soon...had it been built in the 1960's it would have definitely flown, been the fastest interceptor in the sky and no Russian fighter jet would have stood a chance against stopping it!"

    Where did you got the blueprint in the first picture above?

  16. After researching on the internet I found these designs that helped me a lot in the whole construction. I converted some of them to 1/72 scale and printed them to make it easier for me to build the model.

    8 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  17. This popped up at the bottom of the page and I am glad I clicked on it. This is very interesting and well done build of an unusual subject, Giannis, @mfcg. I am glad I found this...Very Well done!

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