by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
historyThe sleek, graceful Boeing B-47 Stratojet was the United State’s first swept-wing multi-engine bomber. With its fuselage profile unbroken by neither wings nor engines, and a fighter-like canopy, the big Boeing bomber is widely considered the most elegant design to take flight. Revolutionary and groundbreaking, it is the basis for every modern large jet aircraft design today: swept wings and powerplants mounted externally on pylons.
The design originated in 1943. Originally with straight wings, post-war German data lead to a wing redesign. Ground crew were required to wear special boots to avoid marring the precise finish of the wings. The new configuration outclassed all contenders. From 1947 through 1956, a total of 2,032 Stratojets were built. They served from 1951 through 1965 with the U.S. Air Force carrying nuclear weapons for Strategic Air Command. Weighing over 60 tons, the bomber could even employ LABS (Low Altitude Bombing System), i.e., 'Toss-Bombing'! Successive versions included reconnaissance aircraft, and served until 1969. The six-engine jet penetrated and overflew the Soviet Union more than a hundred times. With six General Electric J-47 engines their sizzling airborne performance allowed most Stratojets to avoid or escape interception until the supersonic MiG-19 became operational. Several were fired upon, some damaged, and three were shot down (even over international waters).
the modelFirst released in the late 1960s or early 1970s, this is a sizable model. The kit contains 165 light gray parts on 5 sprues, and a single clear canopy. Seventy-two of the pieces are for 24 bombs. It comes packed in a two-piece box. For a 40-year-old kit, the molding is good. The surface is smooth. It features recessed lines for the control surfaces and fine raised rivet and panel details. This raised detail is confined to prominent structural features. What little canopy framing is lightly molded but appears too wide.
Molding is good for such an old kit. Fairly sharp and crisp. The only real flash is around the pilot figures. I found no mold marks. However, you will have to contend with some seam lines and there are many ejector holes to be filled. The sprue attachments are stout.
Detail is fair and simplified. The main landing gear compartments are devoid of any detail except the rivets. The same is true for the outrigger landing gear, gear doors, bomb bay and its doors. Hasegawa armed this nuclear bomber with iron bombs!
The disappointment is the cockpit. Upon a floor with raised chunks simulating consoles you mount seats, pilots, and control columns. The crew are the most detailed parts. To be fair, not much is visible through the small canopy.
I have not test-fitted the model but have read that the fit is mediocre. Expect much filling and sanding–not good for a natural metal finish.
instructions, painting, decalsThis is a simple kit with simple instructions of 16 steps.
Profile and split upper/lower planform art shows the simple SAC livery of an unpainted topside with anti-flash white undersides.
Decals are for one aircraft. Despite the colorful SAC badge and sash, the markings are spartan. The decals are well printed on thin film. Unfortunately, the film covers the void inside the wing walkway striping, serial numbers, and U.S. AIR FORCE. This is never good on a natural metal finish.
conclusion This is a 40 year-old model and it shows its age. Raised surface detail, lack of interior detail, and large areas of clear decal film are drawbacks. Iron bombs fill the nuclear bomb bay. It poses great potential for scratch building in the cavernous bomb bay and gear wells. However, the molding is good and will require a minimal cleanup. With a gleaming natural metal finish, it can build into a pleasing model.