Italeri 1/72 B-52G Stratofortress Kit First Look
|Date of Review||November 2016||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Kit Number||1378||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Only kit of this subject||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$72.99|
The B-52 Stratofortress is an eight-engined strategic bomber that was designed to replace the B-36 Peacemaker. Where the B-36 was a compound aircraft powered by six huge piston engines (and later with an additional four jet engines), the B-52 was a pure jet aircraft. Where the B-36 was not air refuelable, the B-52 can air refuel. Where the B-36 was designed as a long-range conventional bomber that was adapted to the nuclear deterrence mission, the B-52 was designed for the nuclear deterrence mission and was adapted to the conventional bombing mission.
Nicknamed the BUFF (for Big Ugly Fat 'Fellow'), the B-52 was first flown in 1952, with the last B-52 coming off the production line by 1962. The XB-70 that was to become the high-speed replacement for the B-52 was cancelled. The Mach 2 B-1A Lancer was also cancelled. The Mach 1+ B-1B Lancer did eventually enter production, but not in sufficient quantities to replace the B-52. The stealth B-2 Spiirit also entered production, but again in small quantities, leaving the B-52 to soldier on.
Over Vietnam, one B-52 could carry up to 105 500lb and 750lb bombs in a single load, more bombs than a squadron of World War II B-17s. In the Gulf War, the B-52 was a key component in the 'shock and awe' that cleared entire minefields as well as any hidden enemy tanks on the front lines. Even today, the B-52 performs 'close air support' using precision guided weapons released when needed.
Italeri continues to periodically reissue kits from the AMT tooling archives and here is a subject we haven't seen in some time - the B-52G. AMT produced both the B-52G and B-52H in 1/72 scale. You'll recall that Monogram produced the B-52D in this scale as well, but that kit suffers some accuracy issues in the wheel wells to allow the kit to be easier to assemble while offering movable options on the airframe. The AMT kits offered more accurate detailing though they were molded in a soft plastic that would sag over time. I've seen several larger AMT kits like the B-52 and KC-135 hung up from the ceiling after being completed only to have drooping wings that grew worse over time.
So with this release, I have the good news and I have the bad news. First the good news - Italeri used their standard (stronger) styrene in this release, so you can hang this kit up and not worry about the effects of gravity. If you want to add a little droop to your wings to represent a fueled aircraft on the ground, that can be done as well using some modeling skills.
Now for the bad news. The kit pictured in the box art is not the aircraft inside. The box art depicts the B-52G in its nuclear mission with a full load of air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) on the external pylons. The pylons and ALCMs are indeed in the box, but where the box art shows the same wing root as the all other B-52s, this kit has the wing root fairings that were applied to the B-52Gs that were part of the nuclear deterrence force that were to be identifiable under the SALT II treaty. If you want to build a cold warrior, this is the right kit, but if you're doing an earlier aircraft, you may have to either acquire a wing root conversion/correction or simply find an old AMT B-52H kit for use as spare parts. From what I've seen, this kit has been previously issued without the SALT II fairings (using the B-52H front end, I imagine) so it is interesting that AMT went to the trouble of offering this unique configuration.
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on 15 parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts. Assembly is straightforward with few options. The wings attach to the fuselage over a wing box that extends throught the fuselage to add strength to the model. I've seen some modelers add spars to the wing box for additional rigidity out to the center of each wing.
The kit includes markings for four aircraft:
- B-52G, 58-0173, 1708 BW, King Abdul Aziz AB, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 1991, 'Let's Make a Deal'
- B-52G, 57-6515, 801 BW, Moron AB, Spain, 1991, 'Mohawk Warrior'
- B-52G, 57-6473, 5300 BW, Diego Garcia AFB, 1991, 'Hard T'get'
- B-52G, 58-0251, 379 BW, Wurtsmith AFB, 1977
You'll need to check your references as some of the decal subjects will require the B-52G without the fairings including 6473.
While it would have been nice for Italeri to include both fuselage front-ends so that you would have options for the aircraf with and without SALT II fairings, this is a unique configuration that did serve in the Gulf War as well as a Cold Warrior. Whether you use the decals included in this kit or improvise your own, you can create an impressive model of this venerable nuclear warrior for your shelf or contest table.
My sincere thanks to Italeri USA for this review sample!