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Cold War what ifHughes XF-11

The XF-11 was a long range reconnaissance aircraft designed by Howard Hughes and built by the Company. Power was supplied by a pair of Pratt and Whitney 4360 radial engines. Although orders were received for 100 aircraft for the USAAF, only two prototypes were built. The first, equipped with Hamilton Standard counter rotating propellers, was destroyed in a crash while on a test flight with Howard Hughes at the controls. The cause was one of the right propellers going into reverse inflight due to a fluid leak. Hughes, who was not supposed to be flying the aircraft at all, received serious injuries, and this is thought to be the beginning of his drug dependency. The second prototype was equipped with conventional props and made numerous successful flights before being sent to Texas as an instructional airframe, where it was later scrapped.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hughes_XF-11

This is the scale resin kit, which came to me in a box given to me by my good friend Jack while I was visiting in Florida. It was partially built and missing quite a few parts, and rested pretty much forgotten in my closet until I went searching for a new project. I knocked the box off the shelf, ejecting this thing onto the floor, which broke both the vertical tails off. So I figured, what the heck, let's give it a go!

Missing parts included the props, all the wheels and nose gear strut and the canopy. Several emails to Anigrand resulted in a whole lot of chirping crickets, so I began raiding my junk box for parts. Oddly, almost everything came from 1/48 scale Mustangs in one form or another. This is a big airplane in full scale, just two feet shorter in wingspan than a B-17. I put my 1/72 Ki-61 in one of the pics to give you an idea of the XF-11's size. This was my first attempt at a resin model, and while I did learn a lot, there were quite a few times I wanted to heave this thing out the window. All the gory details are in the build log:

https://imodeler.com/groups/work-in-progress-aircraft/forum/topic/from-the-misfit-model-file-anigrand-1-72-hughes-xf-11/

The paint scheme was decided mainly by the fact I didn't want to do a bare metal finish due to the rough texture of the resin. A lot of sanding and polishing was not in my future, so I based this scheme on what I thought it would like like had it gone into service in the late 40s and early 50s. Overall color is ADC gray. The squadron markings are based on the colorful schemes seen on many USAF fighter units of the period. The green wasn't my first choice, but it seems to work well on this airplane. Decals are all from the dungeon. I figured the airplane would have been well maintained, apart from the oil that big radials always throw, especially the R4360, which is not especially clean, so weathering was kept light except around the engines. Had this thing gone into service, it would have been designated R-11.

I don't recommend this kit to the faint of heart, because frankly, it was awful. Some of this was probably self induced, having never done resin before. But if you want a really interesting weird airplane, this is the only game in town. And you get to chuckle at everyone who thinks it's a P-38...

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.


15 responses

  1. @jetmex- I applaud you for hanging in there and getting this kit into the headline section after all you’ve been dealing with, and what sounded like experiencing one disaster after another. Didn’t expect the new photos so promptly either. Thanks for all the warnings. I hope never to come across this kit. Not even a mint condition, unopened box of this XF-11, despite always wanting to build one.

    You deserve a Purple Heart.

  2. Congratulations Jaime, not only for tackling a difficult kit, but also for finding ways to address the missing parts situation. The result is no less than spectacular! Your build thread was a joy to follow, as well.
    Well done!

  3. Amazing result on this challenging kit, Jaime @jetmex
    Thanks for sharing the progress in your building thread, it was a pleasure to follow.

  4. Well done Jaime, I first thought you did a scratch build, didn't realize anyone made a kit of this A/C. All your struggles were worth it as she looks good. Hughes flight and crash are well depicted in the movie The Aviator, with Leonardo DiCaprio playing Howard Hughes. Very interesting movie recommend it highly.

  5. Well done Jaime...glad to see that finished at last. Amazing feat given what you to start with. I never did find the missing parts.

  6. Thanks, everyone! Building this was fun in a perverse sort of way, and it is different.

    Here is an article on the 1/4 scale RC XF-11 that was built for the movie "The Aviator". Seems they had all kinds of issues as well!
    https://www.aviatorxf11.com/history

  7. Those Anigrand kits are pretty rough (have built one.) Very good result all things considered.

  8. You stuck the landing on this! Looks great. I can see now why my 1/72 contributions to missing parts were so short of the mark!

  9. A triumph of skill and tenacity and stubbornness over resin.

  10. Jamie, the results look excellent. Had I not known about the substitute parts, you would have never heard criticism of them by me... a neat, tidy look befit of your what-if scheme. Liked!

  11. Great job on your build, your friend handed it to the right person. You put in a great rescue effort and now it is an awesome looking Hughes XF-11. The "what if" scheme is spot on for this plane.

  12. It's alive! great job on resurrecting it,looks great. Chirping crickets lol.

  13. Great looking build, Jamie! excellent work bringing this kit out and getting her done despite the difficulties.
    Specs read the XF-11 had a wingspan over 101 ft., almost double the P-38...WOW!

  14. Jaime, that is a beauty of a model and so unusual! Well done indeed! 👍

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