In the days that followed World War Two, the cold war ensued as the Soviet Union and its former allies squared off. The Soviets developed a fleet of intercontinental bombers and in parallel, developed their own nuclear arsenal. The Soviet Air Force could deliver a nuclear weapon virtually anywhere in the world.
In 1951, United States Air Force responded to this growing threat by employing a combination of emerging technologies into a new weapons system - the F-102 Delta Dagger. Developed as a growth of Convair's XF-92, the aircraft was designed for a supersonic dash toward an incoming formation of bombers (remember that Yeager had only broken the sound barrier a few years earlier) so that it could employ its radar to close within range of the target and, if necessary, employ its missiles to destroy the target before it came within range of US airspace. The F-102 could carry up to six AIM-4 Falcon missiles in its weapons bay as well as twelve 2.75 inch rockets in the weapons bay doors. Under extreme circumstances, the F-102 could also carry the nuclear-tipped AIM-26.
First flown in 1953, the F-102 served in the USAF until replaced by the Mach 2-capable Convair F-106 Delta Dart, and served into the 1970s as part of the Air National Guard. The F-102 would serve its country one last time, serving as target drones to develop new generations of surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles, as well as to train fledgling aircrews.
If this kit sounds familiar, that is because this is a re-release from Monogram's outstanding line of 1/48 scale Century Series aircraft. The previous releases of the Monogram F-102A were provided with a Case XX (20) wing, which was featured on the last third of production Deuces. With the release of the Pro-Modeler F-102A kit, those wanting to build the earlier F-102 were now given the requisite Case X wing. The only visible differences between the Case X and Case XX was the wingtip and elevons. The Case X had a squared-off, upturned wingtip, whilst the Case XX was downturned and rounded. The elevons on the Case XX were also enlarged with angled outer edges. The kit inside this release of the Monogram F-102A is the same plastic as the Pro-Modeler kit, complete with Case X wing and extra crew figures.
The kit is molded in light gray plastic and features the normal Monogram raised panel lines and recessed flight controls. While these molds are not as old as many of the other Century Series kits from Monogram, they have been well-maintained as the sprues are flash-free. When you thumb through the instructions, you'll quickly get an idea of how detailed this kit is straight from the box. The cockpit is nicely detailed, though some of you might want to go the extra step of installing the Black Box F-102A cockpit.
This is also one of the few kits that are designed to let you see an engine face when looking down the intakes! The weapons bay is likewise heavily detailed, including the trapeze launchers for each of the six AIM-4 Falcons. The kit provides a mix of three AIM-4A/E radar-guided Falcons and three AIM-4C/D heat-seekers. Among the options provided in the kit, a positionable canopy, positionable speed brakes, and open or closed weapons bay doors.
It is nice to see these Century Series kits being re-issued as they are not only the nicest 1/48 kits of these subjects, they're currently the only ones. What is especially nice to see is the growing list of options for these kits on the market, including the previously mentioned Black Box cockpit and also the C&H Aero 1/48 TF-102A conversion for this kit. Remember that this kit has the Case X wing included, so if you're looking for a late-model Deuce, you'll have to keep an eye out for one of the earlier Monogram releases. This kit is highly recommended to all modelers.
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