A couple more X-15 builds…

Here are a couple of cardmodel builds of X-15-3, 66672, as it appeared on its world-altitude-record flight and it’s tragic last flight four years later. Both are 1/48th scale.

On 22 August 1963, on Flight 3-2236, Joe Walker flew 66672 to an unofficial world altitude record of 67.1 miles. Weather had delayed the flight six weeks, and as the weather aborts added up, the ground crew painted a pair of dice and “Little Joe the II” on the forward fuselage as a good-luck charm. It is one of the few times a zap was painted on any of the three X-15s, and as far as my research can find, the only time the X-15 flew with one. (If you play craps, “Little Joe” is a term for a pair of twos on the dice. Walker had had “Little Joe” painted on the nose of the X-1E when he flew it.)

This is a digital repaint of Henry Yuen’s X-15. On its record flight, 66672 carried the NASA band and serial numbers on both sides of the tail, but no national insignia or USAF on the wings. By September 1962, NASA determined the ventral rudder didn’t add any stability, so they stopped using it.

I added scratchbuilt details to improve accuracy.

On flight 3-65-97, 15 November 1967, Michael Adams became the first (and only) fatality of the X-15 program in X-15-3. The vehicle went into a hypersonic spin and eventually broke apart. Adams had reached a speed of Mach 5.2, and an altitude of 266,000 feet. He was posthumously awarded an astronaut certification.

This is a digital repaint of Yuen’s model. Research on this one took awhile because there were no pre-flight or inflight photos of mission 3-65. There were a couple of photos taken a few days before, though.

On 3-65, 66672 carried a number of experiments that required scratchbuilding. It had two wingtip pods and an experiment box at the rear of the upper tail. The most colorful of the experiments was a test section of insulation intended for the Saturn V rocket; it was attached to the upper left speed brake. (While technicians were testing the insulation, they were actually more interested in testing the adhesive used to attach it….) The vehicle also sported the knife-edge leading-edge attachment to the upper rudder that was fitted on 66672 late in its life.


Sweet looking X-15’s and interesting facts! Outstanding!

Thanks. The X-15 is a fascinating vehicle, and markings seemed to change from flight to flight, often because the heat from the air friction turned paint into goo. Late in the program, the crews servicing the one remaining X-15 (66670) just kind of gave up on repainting markings after every mission.


Ditto what Wade said, and made from card … even more impressive with how they look … Well done :+1:

Thanks, all. Oddly enough, I have more X-15s. Maybe more photos later…l

@Dhanners55, Great work David. Thank you for sharing them. It’s amazing that these are paper models if you had not mentioned it I would not have believed it.

I was at Edward AFB few year back with a good friend that flew the SR-71. We were they selling his books and right next our booth they had full scale replica of X-15 next to B-52. And the best part was NASA flew their SR-71 on Saturday.

Btw, I just saw your new member. Was it due to the post on Space Modeling or Historical Real Space modeling Facebook pages post?

Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, I saw the notice on FB, but I can’t recall which group I saw it on.

That must’ve been an exciting day at Edwards! You’re fortunate to have that kind of access.

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David, thanks for letting me know. I am glad someon saw that and joined. :wink:

Yes, it was very exciting weekend indeed. Best air show hands down cause they don’t hold back with flying. The giant formation was at the end was amazing. Interesting part, they did such parade every year I was there. I don’t know if my presence in the audience had anything to do with it :thinking: :joy: