Academy 1/144 B-1B Lancer Build Review
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||July 2019||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Kit Number||12620||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy construction, nice detailing||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$44.00|
If you'd like to take a look at the kit as it comes out of the box, check out the in-box review previously published here on Cybermodeler Online. Academy continues to engineer new-tool kits aimed at the entry-level modeler which might disappoint some, but given that virtually the remainder of the plastic kit market is currently ignoring young/inexperienced modelers (not counting the periodic reissue of older 'snap-together' kits), it is nice to see some reasonable new subjects being developed for that younger demographic.
To be clear, this is not a snap-together kit, though it does come close. The fit is that good. The kit provides a decal for the instrument panel and center console, but I opted to skip them as there's little chance of seeing them through the small windows of the cockpit. I painted the flight deck insert, glued it into place on the lower fuselage half along with the two wing ratchet stops (parts A5/A6), glued the hinges into the one-piece wings with hollow wing roots (impressive molding!), then added the upper fuselage half. As I said, the fit is nice and while I might have been able to leave it without glue, I used liquid cement to glue the fuselage halves together.
I had pre-painted the wheel wells white as I did the instrument panel coming black. I decided to build the kit with the weapons bays closed and was again impressed with how they fit snugly before I glued them into place.
Another impressive bit of slide-mold technology is demonstrated with the one-piece tail cone which slides snugly onto the fuselage. Following the instructions, I added the remaining parts needed before painting. Note that the wheel wells are closed now - the kit comes with different gear doors for landing gear extended or raised. I am using the raised doors to mask the wheel wells for paint. Not shown here are the yellow-tape window masks that are included in the kit and are a easy to apply using a pair of tweezers.
The B-1B is seen in a variety of color schemes - all of which are Gunship Gray FS 36118. The model receives its base coat.
After a coat of Future is applied, I began the process of decals, using the 'Black Widow' as the subject of this build. With the decals set, I applied another coat of Future before applying a dull coat. The F101 engine nozzles are correctly depicted without their 'turkey feathers' and these were painted metallic gray and then dry-brushed with flat aluminum to bring out the nozzle actuators. The wheels were all painted flat white, then the hubs were masked with yellow-tape round masks that I had on my bench before applying rubber black to the tires.
The model is an easy build, though I'll offer a few tips:
- While the instructions don't mention it, this model is a tail-sitter with the wings swept aft. Perhaps with the weapons added to the weapons bay it will behave, I'd still add a bit of ballast should I build another one.
- The kit comes with two sets of wing sweep fairings - I used the one tailored for full-aft sweep (hence the gap in the wing root). You can sweep the wings forward with that fairing (as I do), but you can't sweep the wings aft with the other fairing installed - choose wisely.
- The landing gear can be a bit awkward to install, just pay attention to the order of the parts used in the instructions and you shouldn't have any problems.
It is nice to finally have a new-tool B-1B on the market that doesn't require putty/filler to assemble and represents the current configuration of the aircraft, right down to the JDAM bombs and Sniper XR targeting pod. If someone tries to tell you this is a rebox of an older kit, you can be certain that this is all-new-tool as will be evident when you see these parts in your hands. I only wish Academy would consider this subject in 1/72 scale as well.
Thanks to MRC for this review sample.