In 1948 the US Navy issued a specification for the study VTOL aircraft. The main reason for the specification was to investigate aircraft for convoy protection, when convoys were outside the range of land based aircraft. These aircraft were intended to be shipborne.
Work on the project began at Lockheed in August of 1950 and in April 1951 a prototype was produced - the XFO-1, later changed to XFV-1. The XFV-1 is called Salmon, after the Chief test pilot, Herman “Fish” Salmon. (The XFV-1 “Salmon” is a contemporary of the XFY-1 “Pogo”.) The first of 32 test flights was on June 16th, 1954. Powered by an Allison 4362 kW (5850 hp) engine the aircraft was underpowered and could not sustain vertical flight orientation for long. Because of this the XFV-1 was fitted with “conventional” non-retractable landing gear for test flights. Landing and take offs were done in a conventional manner.
The Lockheed portion of the project was cancelled on June 16th, 1955. With only one prototype having been produced.
The “Salmon” was intended to be armed with four 20mm cannon or 48 rockets in the wingtip pods, but these were never fitted.
Valom is to be complimented on their packaging. All parts are sealed in a plastic bag; the PE and Decals are in a separate, re-closable bag.
61 gray plastic parts
2 Vacuformed canopies
10 PE detailing parts
1 Clear plastic “instrument panel”
The parts are made of typical short run quality plastic, fairly soft, flat in finish but with very little flash. I have to pinch myself now and then to remind myself this is a “short run kit”. The recessed panel lines maybe a little shallow, but there is good exterior detail. The plastic cockpit parts have some detail, but the PE included can help here.
An extra bonus with this kit is that the “conventional landing gear” is provided. So, you don’t have to build it as a “tail setter”, but more like the prototype was really tested. This has been a frequent question on the minds of individuals awaiting this kit.
As with most short runs, there are no alignment pins or slots to fit the parts - strictly surface to surface, but the test alignment looks excellent. Fuselage halves and wing root match look great, panel line match is spot on. Unfortunately alignment of the landing gear will have to be done once most of the kit is assembled, using reference photos for placement. Though the instructions show a location, it’s just not obvious where that place is at the moment.
PE parts are provided for cockpit detailing in the form of seat harness and instrument panel (built as a sandwich, using the clear plastic instruments). These are finely detailed and well done. Some PE is also provided for external detail “pitot tubes”.
Two Vacuformed canopies are provided, one and a spare. They are clear, but have minimal framing detail.
Instructions and Decals
The instructions consist of “exploded views” and final assembly line drawings. They are very clear and well done. The only detractor I found was that the color call out for the spinner color does not match the reference photos I have found, this is also true of the box art.
Decals are provided for the one prototype constructed. They are printed with excellent color and registration.
This is by far the best “short run kit” I’ve seen. As stated earlier, it’s not for the beginner, but that’s the nature of “short runs”. For those interested in rare birds such as the XFV-1, I highly recommend this kit. This is one that I hope my build efforts will do justice.
Valom's Lockheed XFV-1 “Salmon” is available for $29-96 from MMD-Squadron to whom we are grateful for kindly supplying the review sample.
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