Buff Master Design 1/72 B-52H Conversion 'Late' First Look
|Date of Review||August 2018||Manufacturer||Buff Master Design|
|Subject||B-52H Conversion 'Late'||Scale||1/72|
|Pros||Nice castings, good details||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$71.95|
Second chances - when Cutting Edge released their B-52 update sets for the Monogram and AMT kits, I wasn't too interested at the time because I was anxiously awaiting the 1/48 B-17G nose variant conversions that were in the works and supposed to follow the BUFF sets. Little did I know at the time that Cutting Edge would only have the B-52 sets on the market for literally days before they shut down the business. Not only did I never see the B-17 nose sets released, but the B-52 conversions were collector's items within a few weeks of their release!
A number of years ago, I acquired a B-52H conversion for the Monogram kit from Great Models Webstore that carried a brand I hadn't heard of before - Buff Master Design. As I recall, the set was actually listed as Golden Dragon Productions online, but the set arrived in a Buff Master box. After looking over the set, I was impressed with the casting but I was also concerned about some areas that would require skills that I was not ready to tackle at the time. When the subject of the B-52 came up as a project a few years later, I wanted to get a back-up set so any problems that might crop up would have spare parts available, but alas, Great Models was gone and nobody else seemed to carry these products.
Along comes the Modelcollect 1/72 B-52G kit and it was evidently based upon the Monogram B-52D, and after some test-fitting, the errant nose of the kit could be easily replaced by the Buff Master castings. What's more, Kitlinx (same owner as Great Models) has some of the Buff Master sets in stock. It is time to dust off this project and before getting started, let's look at this set.
As I said, this conversion is designed to fit the Monogram kit, there is another set to convert the Monogram kit into the B-52G, and sets to accurize the nose and other areas of the AMT/ERTL/Italeri kits. Included in this set:
- Replacement nose section from just ahead of the wing root forward
- Replacement radome and forward nose with accurate radome shape
- Accurate EVS fairings
- Replacement flight deck
- Nicely detailed main instrument panel
- Vacuformed cockpit enclosure with clear windows to see inside the flight deck
- Nicely detailed ejection seats
- Replacement tail cone with 20mm gatling gun
- Replacement vertical stabilizer and rudder
- Replacement spoilers
- Accurate EVS fairings
- A variety of antenna bumps for around the airframe
- Replacement twin-engine pods with separately cast compressor faces for the B-52H TF33 engines
- Replacement outboard wing tanks
You might pause at the price of this set, but when you see just how much resin is in this set, this set is actually reasonably priced. On the other hand, there are a few caveats I will share:
- This set is titled 'late' but it is misleading. The B-52H in this set has a tail gun which was eliminated starting in 1992. 'Late' B-52Hs don't have tail guns. There are a number of other details that will be needed to bring the model up to 'late' configuration, but this set is essential to bring the Monogram (or Modelcollect) kit up to the point where those updates can happen.
- The instructions in this set need improvements to be up to substandard. Buff Master spared every expense on these instructions. One sheet shows where all of the resin casting blocks need to be removed and identifies each part with a letter/number. The second sheet shows the major parts that go into building the nose section and then modifying the Monogram fuselage to accept the new nose and tail sections. It also shows the assemblies of the engine pods and adapting the Monogram pylons to work with the new resin engine pods. The third sheet adds the new tail, mounts the engine assemblies and spoilers to the model, and then points out where the antenna bumps go (somewhere over there). You'll need a good reference like the "Uncovering the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress" to get better detail placement references and note other details that will need to be added.
This set will convert the Monogram kit or correct the Modelcollect kit with a correctly shaped and detailed nose section, and bring the rest of the aircraft up to a configuration that existed at the end of the Cold War. The 'Late' title is accurate for the B-52G conversions because those aircraft were retired around 1992, so I don't believe that they had their tailgun mounts removed before going to AMARC.
You can follow our progressive build review that will incorporate this set and other essential updates to render a proper late-configuration B-52H 'bomb truck'.