X-15 Design and Build

Discussion in 'Aircraft & Aviation' started by exzealot, Nov 5, 2008.

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  1. dhanners

    dhanners Member

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    My stars and garters. That looks amazing....

    I checked Hypersonic and it has a photo of the X-15A-2 at rollout on Feb. 24, 1964, and it did have the two fuel tanks. Both are silver. The front third of each tank is a dull silver, while the latter two-thirds is some highly reflective silver. There were no markings except for the lettering in various small blocks of warnings or advisories. The roll markings were added later.

    As for the markings on the starboard side of the nose. For a book that has hundreds of photos of the X-15, I've only found one so far of the right side of X-15-2 -- on its first powered flight in September '59. It has "X-15" on the nose. Then there's the photo on the cover of X-15-2, from '66 from a flight when it carried the red MA-25S ablative coating on the lower vertical stabilizer, and it has the yellow arrowhead with the NASA meatball on it on the starboard nose. Then there is a photo taken from the right when the X-15A-2 was wheeled out after its final repair, in '68, but not only does it lack any markings on the nose, it also lacks and national markings.

    A couple of days ago I went to Amazon and ordered the other book that Jenkins and Landis did on the X-15; it is a photo scrapbook of pictures they didn't use in Hypersonic. I've seen it before; there are scads of photos in it, so maybe it'll have something. When it arrives, I'll report....
  2. exzealot

    exzealot Member

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    Here is the first pass at an engine. The colors will need to be adjusted, and fit issues corrected. I double-checked the length of the stabilizers - according to the front view of the drawing I am using (where the pencil is pointing), they appear to be correct. Never hurts to double-check these things.

    Ken

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  3. dhanners

    dhanners Member

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    Looks great. I love the depiction of all the little vents and drainage holes at the rear of the XLR99....
  4. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

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    That is shaping up to be quite an impressive model. I was thinking that in 1/32 scale, Reheat Models had a line of astronaut figures many years back. I'll bet one, suitably modified, would look great in the open cockpit.

    Also, more ideas from someone doing none of the work, a unique idea for display: the pylon suspended so that the X-15 could be attached to it and seemingly suspended in midair.

    On kenlwest's F-84, I am working on a section of the KC-97 boom as part of a wall=mount display. If it works as I envision, I'll post the plans on this Forum.
  5. exzealot

    exzealot Member

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    Here is my daily progress report.

    I designed the rear skids and modified the fuselage structure to accomodate them.

    I also settled on rivet patterns, size, and color. In the pictures, you see the production tail section of the fuselage. It incorporates the rivets and panel colors - using a picture of the rollout as a guide. From 3 feet away from the model, the rivets disappear, but there are there when you get close (especially with a camera). The screw-type fasteners will be more prominent (as shown in the circle next to the base of the fin.

    Ken

    Ken

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  6. exzealot

    exzealot Member

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    To all,

    I'm currently working on the cockpit. The last 2 pictures show the X-15A-2 at its rollout (I believe). The X-15 insignia on the nose is still a question.

    Notice the various panel shades. This is what I am aiming for in this design.

    Ken

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  7. dhanners

    dhanners Member

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    My copy of the Jenkins/Landis X-15 photo scrapbook should be arriving in a day or so. I'll look through it and report back. While the white "X-15" may have been on the starboard side of the nose at rollout, it was eventually replaced by the same yellow arrowhead and NASA meatball that appeared on the port side of the nose at rollout.

    Figuring out the history of X-15 markings could be a full-time job....

    As for the panel shading, it looks like you've done a very good job. While the bulk of the X-15 was in the natural color of the Inconel X alloy, some panels were painted flat black.
  8. exzealot

    exzealot Member

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    I think I might just go ahead an design an "alternative" version having the white X-15 logo. It only involves 1 panel... Then the builder will have the option.

    I also found out that I can adjust the amount of ink used during printing. The initial instrument panel was a little fuzzy around the edges; probably the paper I am using. I reduced the amount of ink, and it turned out perfect.

    I'll be posting the final version of the cockpit later today.

    I showed my wife what I was working on. Her only comment was "You need to get a life." I'm not sure what she meant by that. :confused:

    Ken
  9. dhanners

    dhanners Member

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    Well, we appreciate the life you have already. And you're certainly demonstrating a talent for design and construction that not may of us have....
  10. exzealot

    exzealot Member

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    To all,

    Attached are pictures of the instrument panel and pedals. I am still inclined to make the rivets a little more pronounced. Notice the canopy hinge brackets on the rear bulkhead. Still some more work to do in the cockpit, but I am happy with the results so far. :thumb:

    Ken

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  11. dhanners

    dhanners Member

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    Simply amazing work. I'm awestruck. Gobsmacked. Dumbfounded....

    I agree with you on the rivets, though.
  12. jagolden

    jagolden Guest

    Quality Work

    Stunning work, Ken. Both design and build. Clean and smooth joins.
    X15 is a beautiful machine and deserves your quality treatment.
  13. dhanners

    dhanners Member

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    My guess would be that they didn't change the markings in the week between rollout and the official acceptance ceremony by the USAF, and in a head-on shot of the rollout in the X-15 photo scrapbook by Landis and Jenkins, you can see the yellow arrowhead/NASA meatball on the port side and the white "X-15" on the starboard side. But a few pages later it shows a head-on shot of X-15A-2 taken in October '65 and the white "X-15" is gone from the starboard side, but the arrowhead/meatball marking is still on the port side.

    By at least May '66 the arrowhead/meatball had been applied to the starboard side but when the X-15A-2 arrived at the USAF museum, it had no markings on it at all. When they did eventually apply markings, the arrowhead/meatball was on both sides of the nose.

    I don't envy you your task of trying to figure all this stuff out....
  14. exzealot

    exzealot Member

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    Dhanners,

    Thanks for the information. Yes, this is a real puzzle - and I don't think that trying to preserve this kind of information at the time was a real priority for the people involved in the missions. It is only 40 years later that people try and piece together the details from photographs, and talk to people involved (if they are lucky enough).

    The safe thing to do at this point is to offer both versions.

    Here is another point of contention: I don't recall ever seeing a picture of the X-15 on its skids (after landing) with the external tanks still attached.

    To overcome this dilemna, I plan to offer a "landed" version on the skids, open cockpit, disattached lower fin, and speed brakes open; without the tanks.

    THEN, in the same kit, offer an "in-flight" version on a pedestal, with lower fin, closed canopy, and tanks attached.

    I can even envision a monster X-15 kit that will include all 3 aircraft! Since this will be a downloadable kit, the additional cost to the builder will be minimum.

    This is really cool stuff!!

    Thanks for all your help on this :thumb::thumb::thumb: - it is worthy of the time and effort spent.

    From the Arsenal of Democracy in Detroit,

    Ken
  15. dhanners

    dhanners Member

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    The tanks were jettisoned before landing. There are some pre-flight "gear-down" photos of the 'A-2 with tanks, but because of ground-clearance and weight issues, the tail was supported by a two-wheel dolly and the skids were stowed. (And the nose gear on the 'A-2 was lengthened over the earlier version to provide clearance for the tanks when on the ground.)
  16. exzealot

    exzealot Member

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    To all,

    The weekend is finally here.

    All week I have been working on rivets and panel shading. I have everything printed out, and I should have pictures posted later today.

    I am excited to see how the riveted version comes out.

    Ken
  17. exzealot

    exzealot Member

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    Here are some pictures of the (what I hope to be) the final version of the fuselage - which includes rivets and panel colorization.

    Picture 1 - This basket was empty when I started. Since starting the X-15 project, I have emptied it once already. Designers already know the amount of trial and error and iteration that goes into a paper model.

    Pictures 2 and 3 - Shows the new and old versions, comparing the lines vs rivets. I think you will agree that rivets are more appropriate for this aircraft. The rivets are more subtle to the naked eye - I bought an unforgiving camera just for closeup shots and the purpose of highlighting things.

    Pictures 4 and 5 - More comparisons.

    More to come....

    Ken

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  18. dhanners

    dhanners Member

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    The rivets are definitely better. Now THAT'S an X-15....

    Amazing work. And amazing wastebasket.

    By the way, I've searched through what stuff I have and everything shows the X-15A-2 with the yellow arrowhead and NASA meatball on the port side of the nose and the white "X-15" on the starboard side, at least around the time of the rollout. It appears there were actually two events -- the rollout, when the newly rebuilt vehicle was first displayed, then the ceremony a few days later when the Air Force accepted the vehicle. It is clear the nose markings changed later, but when the rebuilt X-15A-2 came out of the factory, it appears it had the markings you've done -- and done a great job of replicating, I might add.
  19. cdavenport

    cdavenport Member

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    Just incredible! That's one of the nicest looking aviation models of any kind I have seen!
  20. flying rasta

    flying rasta hooked card modeler

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    wow
    i love details. but you have taken this to a new level. great to be amoung builders like you.
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