Northrop is quite well known as being a company who likes building planes without tails. Or fuselages, for that matter. The flying wing, while not an original concept of Northrop, was certainly used in quite a few designs, up to and including the B-2 Stealth Bomber. But where did it all start? Right here, with the N-1M. This small plane was the first of Northrop's flying wings, and many design features seen in the later N-9M and XB-35/XB-49 planes can be seen in this first attempt.
One feature of the N-1M that didn't make it to the other designs is the variable incidence wingtips and variable wing sweep. These features allowed many different flight characteristics to be undertaken without having to have a completely different airframe, and the results from these tests helped design the production-level XB-35 and XB-49s.
Designed purely for research, the N-1M performed its tasks very well, and when the testing was done, the N-1M disappeared. But it wasn't destroyed, thankfully, and after some searching it turned up again and the National Air and Space Museum restored it to its original glory and gave it a new home in the Museum, where it resides today.
If you're looking for a simple introduction to building a resin model, look no further. This kit is very simple, with few parts broken down into an easily assembled model. The resin is well cast, with very little flash or air bubbles present. The parts breakdown aids in the simple construction, with an upper and lower wing and separate winglets. The canopy is a tiny little thing, and is vacuformed.
While the surface detailing of the kit is quite well done, the interior doesn't have much to it. A simple floor, panel, seat and stick is all that's provided, but the canopy is rather small and I doubt that much more would be visible anyway. There are separate parts for the front cooling intakes, as are the propeller mounts. The propellers are made up of separate blades attaching to a hub, and since these are 3-bladed propellers, some care will be needed to get them aligned properly.
This flying wing is a pretty colorful one, being a glossy orange-yellow overall with large black N-numbers on the upper right and lower left wings. The N-number is also repeated in very tiny letters vertically on the rear tail bumper. These markings, plus a Northrop logo for the nose are provided on a decal sheet printed by Propagteam. Nothing much to say about these, other than they are very thin and in perfect register. Of course, I've never seen a single-color decal sheet out of register.
With this kit it is now possible to build just about every Northrop flying wing in 1/72, with the Sword N-9MA and the AMT/ERTL flying wing bombers. All that's really needed is the B-2, which we can always hope for in the future.
If you're into flying wings, or just want a nice break from camouflaged low-viz models, this kit will be a great weekend project.