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Fabrice Simon
4 articles

1/72 North American XB-70 "VALKYRIE" - October 12, 1964 - Test flight No. 3 - 9:07 a.m.Edward's USAF Base (California)

September 14, 2023 · in Aviation · · 46 · 410

On October 12, 1964, during its third test flight, its first supersonic, the paint of the was torn off in entire patches on nearly 15% of the surface.

Whose fault is it ? Nobody really knows, but each time a VIP was announced for a visit (ground tests, taxiing, first flight tests, etc.), it was systematically repainted in the immaculate white livery. The layers were superimposed, which modified its aerodynamics and caused unwanted turbulences which had the consequence of tearing off the paint or melting it following the heating of certain parts of the structure.
Add to that some engine problems and it was decided to anticipate the landing.
It is therefore in this particular configuration that I decided to present it.

The assembly itself was not easy either, because in terms of adjustments, it is not the kit of the century (Italeri still used the AMT/ERTL mold, which had aged very badly).
Rather than use a lot of putty to fill the spaces, I preferred to perfect the adjustments, redo them, to limit the use of putty, because it is better to have a good bond than a lot of puttying.
it was improved with PE packs from Armory Models and Brengun and lots of scratching.

In addition to its improvement elements, I created:

  • Braking parachutes,
  • Parachutes storage,
  • Rebuilding the ECS exhaust area behind the nose gear bay,
  • The pressurized cockpit and the pilots,
  • Landing gears détails
  • Individualization of the elevons and putting them in the rolling position
  • the articulation elements of the variable geometry parts
  • Addition of 4 pitot probes
  • the peeling paint, particular to this famous , produced using more than 1600 elements of masking tape, cut out and glued one by one on a layer of “gun metal” paint.

the display measures 150 x 60 cm, and represents the runway 4R of the USAF Edward's base (California), embellished with some of the rare photos which immortalize this flight. in total, this represents more than 500 hours of work

Reader reactions:
29  Awesome 8  12 

38 additional images. Click to enlarge.

46 responses

  1. A truly wonderful build, Fabrice!
    Welcome aboard!

    • Thanks a lot !
      In fact, this is my very first plane and my first boxed kit.
      Basically I am a full scratch naval modeler.
      I wanted to try something else and this is the result

  2. Just an amazing effort! Your attention to detail has certainly paid of with this model. May I ask what your method was for the deluge chutes?

  3. Absolutely amazing, Fabrice @fab-reims
    Even more since this is your first aircraft.
    What a lot of extra work you did on this build, but it definitely paid of.
    You clearly entered this community with an impressive diorama, welcome.

  4. Unbelievable! I have loved the XB-70 since a lad. Built the Aurora kit back in the 60's (as a lad). You selected the most interesting period of its life and di a stupendous job. The display is top notch.

  5. That is a remarkable and stunning build Fabrice! @fab-reims. What you did to the kit is incredible and then the masking and painting really makes that all stand out. The parachutes just make the presentation! They add so much and from reading were a lot more work than I would be willing to do. Excellent build, paint, and presentation make this a show stopper!

  6. Unbelievable work on your XB-70 Fabrice and your parachutes are the real show stopper. Welcome to iModeler and I'm sure you'll enjoy it here.

    • I wanted to make an XB-70 that was out of the ordinary and I found the few photos taken during this famous 3rd flight..

      so, I said to myself "let's go...we'll do that, but when he lands, with the parachutes". A crazy project, because I didn't even know if it was feasible; but I had this idea in mind and there was no way I would do it any other way.

      I also knew that the kit was not the kit of the century and that many people were abandoning it because in terms of quality, it is more than mediocre in terms of adjustments.

      I therefore embarked on this project without knowing what the result would be. I am not disappointed with the result of more than 500 hours of work...

  7. Quality dio. Agreed with everyone on the parachutes.

  8. I have this kit in my stash ,
    Sir you are an inspiration to us all!

  9. Well, that had to be the masking job to end all masking jobs!

    A great result; very definitely a one of a kind XB-70 diorama for sure!

    • the masking was long, time-consuming and tedious.. and I didn't even know what the result would be, because I never found an example to be able to make a comparison.

      I just had the 6-7 photos that exist of this incident.

      I had undertaken a job which in the end could have been a real failure. I didn't know where I was going with this montage.

      the dynamic effect is due to the rubber marks on the run way. they are not a plain gray, they darken then fade, which gives an impression of blur which makes you believe that it is dynamic.

      It’s really very easy to do with a brush and mascara (that’s what I used). At the beginning, you just need to gradually darken one half, then do the same thing symmetrically on the other half.

      To achieve them, I found nothing better than using mascara; 2 rules to delineate the contours along the length, a brush and off we go…

      the dynamic effect is renforced by the fact that the prachutes are deployed.

      In our mind, because we know how it works, they open thanks to the speed of the wind rushing into the sail, so our brain tends to imagine and reconstitutes this speed necessary for the parachutes to inflate. It’s really just an optical illusion.

  10. That's just CRAZY Dude! What a fabulous display, and of reproducing a photo. One helluva first article that's for sure.

  11. An amazing amount of time and effort went into this spectacular build. Where model building becomes an art form.

    • a crazy project whose result I was only able to discover at the end.
      Impossible to see the results before it is definitively installed on its run way.
      it could have been a total failure

  12. Hi Fabrice
    I love the concept of adding the brake chutes and it results in a stunning diorama. Great work and research on the prototype. I was unaware that they constantly repainted the aircraft.

    • I discovered a lot of little information through my reading and research.

      In fact the first prototype was very far from perfect. At the time, there was an arms race to keep up with the Soviets and above all to always be one step ahead of them.

      It is therefore an unfinished, unreliable plane, which made its first flights, but it had to be repaired quickly.

      He experienced a lot of problems both on the ground and in flight (reactors, hydraulics, painting, etc.).

      therefore, during each test, there were leaks, traces, etc.. it should not be mounted, these problems had to be camouflaged, especially from the VIPs who came to see the flagship of the USAF. It had to be perfect, so it was repainted to still display its immaculate white livery.

      Even from an aesthetic point of view it is far from perfect.

      if from a distance, given its size it appears smooth, aesthetically perfect, in detail, it is just an imperfect assembly of sheets (photo).

      the second prototype was much more reliable, but lo and behold, it was the one that crashed

  13. Simply wow.

    That paint job is truly incredible and I really love the parachutes, makes it all so dynamic and attention getting.

    Well done.

    • In our mind, because we know how it works, they open thanks to the speed of the wind rushing into the sail, so our brain tends to imagine and reconstitutes this speed necessary for the parachutes to inflate. It’s really just an optical illusion.

  14. Anybody who's worked on this kit deserves a medal, but your work surpasses any mere superlatives I can issue. Superb. Exquisite. I am in awe of your work.

    • to plagiarize mark twain: "they didn't know it was impossible, so they did it".
      But it's clear that alongside this crazy project, I had to make do with a mediocre quality kit, both in terms of assembly and detailing, and yet given the size of the machine, there is something to do.
      I think that indeed, just re-amining the kit is an achievement in itself; I now understand why many started, but few finished

  15. if you wish, a tutorial on making parachutes is here (but it’s in french (i’m french) ; sorry, I didn’t think at first that my parachutes would cause such a sensation) :
    Parachutes are full scratch. They require more than 200 hours of work. Just the design, between the plans, the first tests, it represents around a hundred hours…
    for each parachute there are:
    40 hours of work
    4 meters of brass
    15 meters of sewing thread
    300 wing elements, cut out and glued one by one.
    they are models in themselves

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  16. Wow, Fabrice, that’s a really well thought out model, the design, workmanship, and finish all perfect.

  17. Simply amazing work...Congratulations!

  18. Definitely out of the ordinary! I always wanted to put a 'chute behind a Phantom.

    • I wanted to make a copy that stood out from the ordinary and its full white livery.. Well, afterward, as I often say, that was madness..
      For the parachutes, I put a link above to the parachute tutorial.. if that can be useful to you.. (even if it is in French because I didn't think that parachutes would arouse so much interest)

  19. Well, you took a somewhat boring monochromatic scheme and made it a real eye-catcher! That is the best rendition of the Valkyrie I have ever seen. Beautiful work, and a great diorama that captures some of the history of the bird.

  20. Great subject with an incredible final product. Very nicely done sir. And the chutes could be used in a variety of different ways.

  21. Wow, what an amazing result!
    500 hours of work is a sheer display of patience and perseverance, I take my hat off.
    It’s a true honor to an iconic aircraft that was way ahead of its time.

  22. Amazing Fabrice, welcome to iModeler.

  23. Well, that is just incredible scale modeling, Fabrice @fab-reims! 🤩 What a stunning aircraft debut! 🏆

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