Several months ago Renaud Mangallon of Sharkit was kind enough to send me a complimentary 1/72 scale resin kit of the Douglas Model 1186-C, which is based on the drawings and information found in my book, Secret Aerospace Projects of the U.S. Navy: The Incredible Attack Aircraft of the USS United States, 1948-1949. The cover art from the book also appears on the box cover and is used with my permission. The Model 1186-C was one of several studies submitted by Douglas Santa Monica to the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics on October 27. 1948 to meet the requirements of Outline Specification 115 (OS-115) , which called for an attack airplane capable of delivering a large bomb load at extreme ranges. The nature of possible targets and probable future developments in enemy defensive weapons dictated that such an airplane, in order to survive, had to be capable of traveling at higher altitudes and continuous cruise speeds than was then considered practical for conventional aircraft. Douglas Santa Monica responded with several variations of a futuristic composite aircraft, made up of a huge expendable missile component and a parasite aircraft influenced by the X-3 Stiletto, which was designed to carry out long range nuclear strikes on the Soviet Union at a speed of Mach 2.0. The winner of the competition would have operated from the USS United States (CVA-58), an immense 65,000-ton super carrier lacking an island or other obstructions, permitting the operation of exceptionally large and heavy aircraft. Unfortunately, the Navy’s hopes for the USS United States and the accompanying Long Range Special Attack aircraft were rudely dashed on April 23, 1949 when the aircraft carrier was cancelled by Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson. All was not lost for Douglas, however; the more conventional Douglas Model 593, better known as the A-3 Skywarrior, survived the cancellation and went on to become a workhorse for the Navy in the decades to follow.
The numerous resin pieces are well cast and it appears that this kit will build up into an impressive model of Douglas Santa Monica’s highly unorthodox submission to OS-115. A vacuform canopy is included for the piloted parasite aircraft; no decals are supplied, though they can easily be sourced from the spares box or adapted from decal sheets for the A-3 Skywarrior, for instance. The total length of the assembled model is about 18″ (46cm). If you are a fan of unusual jet aircraft projects from the early Cold War period, this kit is definitely for you. You may buy it direct from the manufacturer here; I applaud Renaud for taking the risk to produce such an obscure and interesting subject and encourage you to support his efforts.