McDonnell XHJD-1 

Anigrand Craftworks McDonnell XHJD-1 in 1/72 scale
prototype, modelling report by Meindert de Vreeze 
modelling report

The first helicopter to bear the McDonnell name was designed with the help of the Platt LePage Aircraft Company. The US Navy set out a competition and McDonnell invested in Platt LePage to learn techniques of the helicopter. After lost of the competition, work continued, resulting in the parallel development of a twin-engined, twin-rotor test prototype and it was designed to fit specifications for an anti-submarine role. The resulting XHJD-1 made its first hover flight at Lambert Field, St Louis, on 27 April 1946.

Using a twin rotor concept fitted on a wing with two Wasp Junior engines of 450 hp in two nacelles, it was quite a remarkable concept. The outher "wings" were first frames, later on covered looking like a wingtip to reduce drag . 
Flight testing was done up till mid 1951 with considerable success using different rotors and tail layouts. The prototype reached a max speed of about 193 km/h and normal cruising speed was 145 km/h. 

The so called "Whirlaway" was however not ordered and not put into production. 

The Anigrand resin kit #AA2024 from HongKong is a very fine model, although the resin is not of the highest quality, really being short-limited run kits. Despite being in 1/72 scale, the overall span is large because of the two rotors.

The resin flash and stubs were sawed off with a razorsaw from the model parts. The fuselage with its 2 halves is quite heavy, but nothing  the undercarriage struts can not handle I hope. 

The rotor hub stubs were added but reinforced using metal pins, with holes drilled in the flat edge of the wing stub ends.

The vacuformed glass is OK, but needs careful cutting. It think it was a little bit oversize at the mating area of the fuselage, but this can be fixed with some plastic strip en putty. I detailed the cockpit area with some stretched sprue and painted in interior green.

The rotor blades are fine, but their mounted on the central ub is tricky as they are very breakable. I drilled holes to fit metal pins for the rotor aixles. 

The model was given a light grey base coat and then the USN Dark sea blue colour of FS 15042 using enamel Xtracolor. The exhaust pipes and rotor parts were painted dark metal and the markings are very simple and provided by kit decals.

The model was finished with painting some details metal like the engine faces and wheel hubs.

The overall result is a very special model of this first McDonnell helicopter. Nostalgia!


Note also the "pitot tube" at the front.

The span of this model in 1/72 scale is about 15 inch / 37 cm!

Have a look at another McDonnell helicopter type..... the XV-1 Convertiplane.


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Created this page October 12, 2007