by "Bondo" Phil Brandt
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Even though TAC-puke Bondo has never been "SAC-umcized",
he has always loved the exceedingly graceful lines of Boeing's
medium bomber mainstay of the Fifties and Sixties, especially the
exotic, "bumpy" versions flown by Strategic Air Command's legendary
55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.
Recent books detailing the massive LeMay-encouraged B-47
overflights of the Soviet Union - and we're talking hundreds and
hundreds here - further whetted my appetite to build an RB with the
blunt nose, like the one I got to crawl into when our Shakey Bird
made a short stop at Florida's McCoy AFB in the Sixties. The "Black
Hole" where the navigator hung out was something else!
There must not be a modeler over thirty who doesn't know of the
old, reliable Hasegawa B-47E in its many iterations. Raised detail,
Coke bottle-thick canopy and all, it has been the only 1/72 game in
town for three decades.
Luckily, Bondo was able to score a beautifully molded DB
Productions RB-47H conversion set before their departure from the
aftermarket business. I am not sure if Flightpath has re-released
To further embellish the bird, Eagles Talon produced a resin
cockpit/wheel well/bombay/weapons set which, although certainly not
Black Box quality, was buildable (now out of production). It also
greatly improved the totally inadequate Hasegawa cockpit.
I used True Details 1/72 T-33 seats because they're fairly close
to the real thing (there's a cutaway, fullsize B-47 cockpit at the
March AFB Museum in Riverside, CA) and they have harnesses cast-in.
The entire airframe was rescribed, and Blue Acryl was liberally
added to the wing/fuselage join, engine pods and especially around
the periphery of the "big belly" mod wherein the "Ravens" lived. The
Eagles Talon cockpit components needed lots of fitting iterations,
but that seems to come with the territory. The truly gross kit
canopy was epoxied to a dowel, placed in a vise, and used as a male
mold over which Squadron Thermoform was stretched to make a decently
thin representation. The canopy has been posed partly open, as was
the SAC custom, to prevent heat buildup.
I saw pix of this huge ELINT pod and couldn't resist scratching
one out of various portions of parts heap external tanks. The pylon
is also scratchbuilt.
Bondo's Natural Metal Finish of choice ever since it hit the market,
Alclad II, was applied in at least four shades. I'll say it again:
for toughness, appearance and ease of application, this stuff's
Various aftermarket decals were used as required. The radar
navigator's "Black Hole" windows are simulated with decal sheet.
The more than a thousand Boeing B-47s that rolled off assembly
lines in the Fifties were, simply put, the very embodiment of a
half-century of Cold War.
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Review and Images Copyright © 2002 by
Created 12 April, 2002
04 June, 2007
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