avatar_General Melchet

Project Aurora........

Started by General Melchet, May 24, 2010, 02:15:45 AM

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General Melchet

I've been a bit quiet on the posting builds side of late as I've been busy concentrating on doing several big 'Black' projects ready in time for SMW 10, (the R and D SiGs theme this year will be stealth/Black Projects,that is  if we can find a table big enough!  :wacko: ) starting with this beast....Italeri's Lockheed/Boeing SR-75 Penetrator/ XR-7 Thunderdart combo known more famously as Project Aurora. The 'mothership' was basically touted as being a development of the SR-71 Blackbird only considerably larger and capable of carrying the XR-7 Thunderdart hypersonic sub orbital aircraft to be used in a variety of roles including high altitude recon and the destruction of low orbit satellites. The project was given the code name Aurora and though there is no hard and fast proof of its existence many people both inside and out of the aviation industry claim to have knowledge or have seen evidence of such a program including many alleged sightings. Several names have been given to the SR-75 component including Brilliant Buzzard and Snowbird, (as the prototypes were allegedly painted high gloss white), and Penetrator.

This extract came from US sources dated 1992....
'' An indication as to the aircraft's manufacturer came on January 6, 1992, when there was a sighting of an SR-71 shaped forward fuselage section being loaded onto a C-5 transport plane at the Lockheed Skunk Works facility in Burbank, California. It was about 65 to 75 feet long and 10 feet high. The C-5 was bound for Boeing Field in Seattle. ''

The SR-75 was supposedly powered by 4 massive boron powered 55.000 lbs thrust class high by pass afterburning turbofans, (possibly developed GE-4's from the failed Boeing 2707 SST project) and the Thunderdart by a revolutionary new power source namely PDWE propulsion or Pulse Detonation Wave Engines which operate on a different principle then conventional ramjets, PDWEs dont't continuously burn kerosene, but detonate fuel as it starts to leave the combustion chamber. This generates a regular pulse which may be responsible for producing the unusual "doughnuts-on-a-rope" contrails. The most probable fuel for PDWEs would be cryogenic liquid methane, which could also act as a structural coolant. The other option would be the use of a methane-burning combined cycle ramjet engine (uniting rocket and ramjet designs).  

Whether or not it really exists is wide open to debate, there is an awful lot of 'information' about the project on the net so it's interesting to speculate....

This then is Italeri's rendition of the Aurora programme. The first thing that strikes you is the size...it's enormous!!...almost as big as the B-70 Valkyrie that I built earlier and dwarfs the YF-12/SR-71 that it so resembles. A much sought after kit, and a bit of a pig to put together, (mainly joint issues, warped parts and filling due like the XB-70 mainly down to its size), so basically just my cup of tea...................not really being a fan of  fall together kits.
I decided that the all white or black approach was too bland and an easy option so went for an operational ADC/Strategic Air Command scheme,( to compliment my Valkyrie), special recon unit based at Offut AFB, Nebraska in the mid ninties. The Thunderdart has been painted using a mixture of prismatic and hot metal tones from the Alclad range as this airframe would have needed to have been specially treated for hypersonic flight  giving it a crystalline patina indicative of sustained exposure to high temperature. . . a burnt carbon odor exudes from the surface.
All finished off with careful masking( a LOT of masking!!!) and Tamiya smoke, Promodellers dark dirt wash and the usuual oil and turpentine panel washes.....

The only mods I did were to add new resin seats. scratch the cockpit panels and use the undercarriage from a 1/48th Revell/Monogram B-58 as this was a lot beefier than the kit parts, (plus I added a four wheel unit to the nose gear).

The XR-7 being operated by the NRO...(National Reconnaisance Office, a specialist satellite development division used by the DoD and CIA).

Decals, as usual come from many sources the only kit ones used were the complex red walkways...this time I used a new technique for applying them as the walkways were very matt. This was suggested by Spence to me at Cosford and I've been looking forward to trying it out. It simply involves dipping them in warm water a s per usual, then with tweezers dip them into Klear for 30 secs or so , quickly apply to the surface and roll out excess CAREFULLY with a cotton bud.I say carefully as they can ruck up and crease very easily. The result though was spectacular....absolutely no silvering or lift anywhere, no sign of the carrier and a rock hard finish to varnish over.If you wish to try this practice a lot before you try it on your pride and joy!!  :blink:

What doesn't show up in the photos are the subtle shades of grey used on various panels across the SR-75's skin surface..you'll have to see it in the flesh to see what I mean...:

The ground support equipment comes from the Hasegawa set slightly modified to be suitable for use within the time frame for both this aircraft and the Valkyrie...

Overall great fun, starting the next 'Black Project' soon........now I'm running seriously low on shelf space!!  :banghead: ....don't think it'll be doing the round of shows either for the same reason.....unless I invest in a motorhome!!!

Cheers all, hope you like it...  :cheers:


With the base and ground equipment...just awaiting a nameplate...

A couple of comparison shots...firstly with the YF-12A and then with the B-70 Valkyrie, as you can see it's a bit of a beastie!!....

And finally a few ground level views...

Clearly, Field Marshal Haig is about to make yet another gargantuan effort to move his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin.


Flippin Eck... stunner  :thumbsup: :bow: :bow: :bow:

I never realised just how big that thing was  :drink:
Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.


Huh! I remember of this model seeing it in hobby-shops while I was a kid (some 20-25 years ago) - I knew that box was huge, but I never knew how much big is model itself!!

Really nice and clean job you did, while I really like XR-7's shading around panel lines - excellent job!  :bow:
There's a grey place between black and white, but everyone does have the right to choose the path that he takes...
Administrator of Serbian modelling forum "Maketarski Kutak"


good greif......11/10 on the awesome scale!  :wub:

seriously nice
.............hes a very naughty boy!
allergic to aircraft in grey!
The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time........Bertrand Russell
I have come up with a plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel. ......Edmund Blackadder


Superb piece of work - well done!  :thumbsup: :bow:

That first pic almost looks like CGI for some reason...... :unsure:
"Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."
 - Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Neil Gaiman

"I dunno, I'm making this up as I go."
 - Indiana Jones


incredible  :blink: :blink: :blink:
really good job  :bow: :thumbsup: :bow:


You pretty much fair to middlin on this modeling thing ;D :lol: :rolleyes:
A seriously HOLY CRAP good build :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:
I amuse me.
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Ed S

WOW!  That's a stunning display.

We don't just embrace insanity here.  We feel it up, french kiss it and then buy it a drink.


 :o  :wub:.   :thumbsup: 'nuff said!



Cliffy B

Love it, love it, love it!!!!!!!  :cheers:

So what does the rearward facing guy in the 3rd seat do?
"Helos don't fly.  They vibrate so violently that the ground rejects them."
-Tom Clancy

"Radial's Growl, Inline's Purr, Jet's Suck!"

"If all else fails, call in an air strike."


WOW :o
I absolutely love this, and it is soooooooooooo making me want to build mine. Very well done on this build  :bow: :bow:
The dogs philosophy on life.
If you cant eat it hump it or fight it,
Pee on it and walk away!!

Martin H

Andy was telling me about this monster at Hendon yesterday.   Its a good un that for sure :)
I always hope for the best.
experience has taught me to expect the worst.

Size (of the stash) matters.

IPMS (UK) What if? SIG Leader.
IPMS (UK) Project Cancelled SIG Member.

Ian the Kiwi Herder

Very nice, Andy, very nice indeed. Looks like you've really got this domination by size and quality thing sorted. Love the look of the 'mother ship' in the monochrome photos.... very Gerry Anderson, and that makes it C O O L  :mellow:

"When the Carpet Monster tells you it's full....
....it's time to tidy the workbench"

Confuscious (maybe)

Alvis 3.14159




I'm pretty speechless.

Alvis Pi