Grumman X-29

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Company: Dragon Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Dragon Models USA - Website: Visit Site
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The X-29 was built in 1984 as a test bed for the forward-swept wing concept. The result was an extremely maneuverable aircraft, but because the center of gravity was behind the aerodynamic center, the aircraft was inherently unstable. The solution was a fly-by-wire system which used a computer to make 40 corrections per second to keep the aircraft going where the pilot wanted it to go. Two test aircraft were built.

If the aircraft looks kind of familiar, the basic airframe was a Northrop F-5A and the main landing gear was from an F-16.

The Kit

Since it’s 1/144, it’s pretty simple. The parts are on 2 sprues, one for the clear parts, one for everything else. But simple doesn’t mean crude. The molding on this kit is very good, and the fit is really great. And it includes a cockpit and seat with choice of open or closed canopy, and a boarding ladder.


I painted the interior of the cockpit, and painted the nicely detailed little seat. The cockpit and seat go into the lower fuselage half, the wings go into the upper fuselage half, and the fuselage halves go together. And everything fits. The intakes are added, along with the horizontal stabilizers which mount on the intakes. There are two small parts for under the wing, and then it’s time for paint and markings.

Painting and Decals

The entire aircraft is white. Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t just let it go, as the white plastic looks OK, and I didn’t use any filler on the kit. Future for the decals to go on, and I was ready for markings.

The decals were great – but we’ve come to expect that from Cartograf. They came off the backing paper cleanly, stayed together during the poking and prodding needed for alignment, and then stayed where I put them. I used a little Micro-Sol under each decal, and that seemed to be the method that worked.

The markings had a pretty high degree of difficulty, as the stripes on the bottom go from the exhaust to the wing leading edge in a continuous line. The ones on the top go from the vertical stabilizer to the intake edges, then continue to the nose. Getting everything straight and lined up was a task. I got pretty close, but you can see a couple of waves in the stripes. Another coat of Future, then flat coat.


The landing gear and doors are simple to install and fit so nicely. If you want to do a flying model, there’s a separate closed canopy and closed gear doors. I selected the open canopy because I wanted to use the boarding ladder, and the seat is pretty good, too.

Overall Evaluation

Highly recommended. Dragon kits have great fit and this one was no exception. It’s an interesting aircraft, the second jet to fly with a forward-swept wing, the first being the Ju-287. But the X-29 was the first to go supersonic.

Thanks to Dragon USA for the kit, and to Steve Collins and IPMS/USA for the chance to build and review it.


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