Kit #AA2084. 1/72 scale. This is
a highly-detailed resin kit of the Martin
XB-48, complete with decals.
With the success of the German
Arado Ar-234 jet bomber, in 1944, the US Army Air Force issued a requirement
for a medium bomber to be powered by either of the General Electric jet
engines, the J35 or J47. The design
competition was won by North American, with their interim B-45, and by Boeing, with their advanced B-47 Stratojet. Martin’s XB-48 and General Dynamics’ XB-46 were the
The Martin Company, fresh from
their success in creating the “hottest” medium bomber of World War II, the B-26 Marauder, submitted the rather
more pedestrian Model 223. Martin was awarded contract for two prototypes, the
XB-48. While the B-45 filled the jet bomber gap, the Air Force deferred a
decision between the more advanced XB-47 and XB-48 until they had been tested.
The first XB-48 made its maiden flight in 1947, but a year later, the XB-48
lost to the clearly superior Boeing XB-47. With its swept wing, the B-47 had
much better performance, including a top speed nearly 100 mph faster than the
B-48. This was a crushing blow to Martin – Boeing built more than 2,000 B-47s,
and that design led directly to both the B-52 and the Boeing 707 – which in
turn led to the C-135 and a whole range of jet passenger liners, including the
727 and 737 – while Martin never produced a jet-powered transport or airliner.
The B-48’s sole contribution to
strategic air combat was its pioneer work done on “bicycle” landing gear,
tested in a modified B-26, then adopted by the B-47 and B-52.
Martin attempted to convert the
second XB-48 with four turboprop engines but that design was rejected by the
Air Force. Flight tests of the XB-48s continued until the end of the program in
fall of 1949.