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NB-52A “Balls Three” NASA Mother Ship




Cutting Edge Modelworks


S u m m a r y
Catalogue Number and Description CELO44010 - NB-52A “Balls Three”  NASA Mother Ship
Price: each USD$19..99 from Meteor Productions website
Scale: 1/144
Contents and Media: 16 pieces in grey resin an three in clear resin; canopy and wheel masks
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: High level of detail; excellent casting; comprehensive conversion and contents; simple construction; nice clear resin parts; masks round out an impressive package.
Disadvantages: No mounting pylon for the X-plane (to be supplied separately with the X-Plane kits
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

HyperScale is proudly sponsored by Meteor Productions




CLO4410 is new from Cutting Edge Modelworks in their Lift Off Series.  The set is, a multi part resin conversion specifically designed to convert the 1/144 scale Crown/Minicraft B-52H kit into the NB-52A, serial number 52-0003 used by NASA as a drop ship during the testing and development of the X-15 as well as many other X-planes.

The set consists of 16 mid-grey resin pieces, as well as three clear resin pieces, and a Black Magic Canopy and Wheel Hub Masking Set.

The grey resin parts consist of:

·        A new forward fuselage (in left and right halves)

·        New right hand wing section that incorporates the ‘cut-out’ flap to accommodate the fin of the X-plane that it was carrying aloft.

·        New vertical stabilizer.

·        Four engine nacelles and engine intakes (it is a pity that the later parts were not cast as a single piece).

·        Three small observation fairings – three for the starboard side of the nose and one for the waist position.

The clear resin parts comprise the canopy, tail turret and observation blister.  The rear ends of the canopy and the tail turret have been cast so that they incorporate a portion of the fuselage to ease fitment.  The canopy has also been cast with recessed frame lines to make the task of painting them a little easier.  This is the first time I have seen clear resin used to cast transparencies and, to be honest they look no different from the plastic injection-moulded ones found in mainstream kits.

The casting is well up to Cutting Edge’s high standards.  All of the parts are crisply cast with engraved panel detail to match the Crown/Minicraft kit.  The trailing edge of the vertical stabilizer is both thin and straight.  The surfaces of all parts are without blemish and there are absolutely no air bubbles present in any of the parts in my set.

The instructions on how to carry out the conversion are contained on a single A-4 sized sheet that contains both written instructions and photographs of an actual conversion.  The opening line of the construction notes says it all:

“This is a fairly simple conversion set, but as always, be sure to read and understand the instructions BEFORE you begin cutting!”

Be aware that the set does not provide a mounting pylon (for the X-plane).  The construction sheet advises that the pylons for each X-plane was different and that the correct pylon will be provided (separately) in each of the Cutting Edge Lift Off X-plane sets.  To be honest, I would have liked to have seen at least one pylon provided as the completed model will look a tad odd without one.



You will also need to purchase (again, separately) the Cutting Edge decal sheet - CED44003 - to complete your conversion as no decals are provided with the set.  This sheet has been previewed on Hyperscale and can be found at:


The resin parts are contained within two separate zip-loc bags, with the Black Magic Masking set in a further one.  The parts, masking set and instruction sheet come packed in Cutting Edge’s familiar stout black and yellow box.

This is a well thought out and well produced conversion from Cutting Edge that will result in a stunning model.


Thanks to Meteor Productions for the review samples.

Cutting Edge Modelworks products are available from Meteor Productions Website

Text and Images Copyright © 2003 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 08 July, 2003
Last updated 05 January, 2004

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