CollectAire 1/48 B-66/RB-66 Destroyer Kit First Look
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review||September 2006||Manufacturer||CollectAire|
|Subject||Douglas B-66/RB-66 Destroyer||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||4874||Primary Media||Resin, White Metal, Vacuform|
|Pros||Nicest B-66 in 1/48 scale (only B-66 in 1/48 scale)||Cons|
|Skill Level||Expert||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The Douglas B-66 Destroyer was a SAC light bomber derived from the A-3 Skywarrior. The conversion from the Navy high altitude Skywarrior to the Air Force low-level ops requirement necessitated so many changes that only a general resemblance between the two aircraft remained in the end.
First flights took place in 1954 and deliveries to the USAF began in 1956. Many specialized variants followed the bomber version for reconnaissance, weather recon, electronic recon, etc. By 1973 the aircraft was withdrawn from service.
For years we had the very nice Italeri kit in 1/72nd scale which came in a couple of different flavors. In March of 2002 a new master was made in 1/48th scale and in 2003 the model was in production by CollectAire. A lot of effort went into making this kit. The wonderful J Miller book was used as a reference together with a myriad of walk around photos, walk around videos from museum exhibits and many high-quality in-action photos collected over time. Whenever the master maker had a question, more pictures were taken or measurements were made. Just the way a good model should be made.
Was it worth it? You bet. It is my opinion that this is by far one of the best models CollectAire has ever brought to the market and maybe the best model this maker has made to date. In the kit you get parts and decals for RB-66 and EB-66 variants. With a little work you can make most of the variants of the Destroyer.
The first kit was purchased immediately upon the announcement that sales had commenced. Once I saw the quality I placed an order again so I could secure one more kit to do one more option.
Upon opening the box the modeler is pleased to see the amount of care CollectAire puts into packaging their models. Lots and lots of tissue paper protect the kit parts. The box is very sturdy and it better be considering what packages go through in our mail system. My kit was mostly fine upon delivery with only two small chipped corners on the main wings. The broken parts were in the box and can easily be glued back.
The fuselage parts are taped together to ensure that they do not warp. The tail comes as a separate piece. Two different tail cones are provided, one for the electronic gear and one for the gun turret tail.
The speed brakes can be posed open. The inside of the fuselage has molded-in detail for the cockpit walls.
The cockpit is very complete and it is very evident that the maker put the J Miller book to good use. Very little added work will be needed to get the cockpit to look great.
The landing gear bays are very complete and the main landing gear bay is a model on its own.
The jet pods are also very nicely done and they are full of accurate surface detail with all the panel lines present as well as all the small ports that are all over the surface of the real jet pods.
The metal parts are very clean and should support the model very well.
The main wings are cast solid. They have cutouts for the leading edge slats which can be posed in the dropped position. This will give the model a very nice look just like the real thing when resting on the ground. A couple of ferry tanks are also included. They were not used very often operationally but I have seen many pictures with B-66s having them on.
ECM gear is provided in the kit with wing pods and belly pods that can be posed in different configurations to represent the various operational modes.
As per usual CollectAire policy, two vacuform canopies are provided which look clean and will look great after the customary dip in Future floor polish.
Decals are provided for two natural metal variants and no less than four SEA camo birds.
This is one spectacular model that will be a centerpiece in anyone's collection. Experience is needed but it should come together fairly well because it is engineered very well by a master maker that really knows his art.
Very much recommended to those that love the Destroyer and to those who have this huge gap in their Vietnam era collections.
Check out the B-66 Section also online for your reference.