Academy 1/144 B-47 Stratojet '306th BW(M)' Kit First Look
|Date of Review||September 2017||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Subject||B-47 Stratojet '306th BW(M)'||Scale||1/144|
|Kit Number||12618||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy construction, nice detailing||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$27.00|
The B-47 was to be the Strategic Air Command's first all-jet strategic medium bomber. Designed to augment the B-36 Peacemaker heavy bomber, the B-47 was able to counter the air defenses of the time with its sheer speed and altitude performance. Like the B-36, the B-47 was designed to carry a nuclear weapon to its designated target. Neither aircraft was designed to carry conventional bombs. Unlike the B-36, the B-47 could not only drop its weapon from altitude, it could also approach the target from low altitude and "toss" the bomb into the target area while escaping in the opposite direction at low altitude and high (subsonic) speed. The aircraft was designed with such low drag and so aerodynamically clean, one scuff mark on the wing walkway would cost the aircraft a few knots in speed. If you want to get a good perspective of the B-47, find yourself a copy of the James Stewart classic movie 'Strategic Air Command'.
Almost 20 years ago, HobbyCraft Canada released their B-47 Stratojet series in 1/144 scale with the B-47B, B-47E, and RB-47H. Like other HobbyCraft toolings, Academy acquired the B-47 molds and released the B-47B/E kit in 2006 (look here). Fotios Rouch built the kit as well (look here). In this release, Academy has produced the best kit yet of the B-47, this release contains ALL of the parts options for the B-47B, B-47E, and RB-47H in this box along with an impressive set of Cartograf decals to render any of these subjects. Let's take a closer look:
The kit is molded in light gray styrene presented on five parts trees plus a small tree of clear parts. Among the features and options:
- Basic front and rear cockpits with ejection seats
- One-piece canopy
- Choice of clear nose for B-47B, hard nose for B-47E, or hog nose for RB-47H
- Choice of wingtips
- Choice of molded-in fuselage external RATO attachments or replacement inserts for earlier internal RATO system
- Choice of outboard engine pylons
- Choice of ventral undernose radomes
- Choice of tail cone or tail guns
- Optional bulged bomb bay for RB-47H
- Optional ventral bulge under rear fuselage for RB-47H
The kit provides markings for the following aircraft:
- B-47B, 51-2212, 306 BW(M), MacDill AFB, 1950s, Square P
- B-47B, 50-042, 305 BW(M), MacDill AFB, 1953, Square G
- B-47E, 51-7071, 22 BW(M), March AFB, 1954
- B-47E, 51-7062, 22 BW(M), March AFB, 1954
- B-47E, 51-7055, 22 BW(M), March AFB, 1954
- B-47B-II, 51-2324, 305 BW(M), MacDill AFB, 1954
- B-47B-II, 51-2236, 320 BW(M), March AFB, 1959
- B-47B-II, 51-2307, 320 BW(M), March AFB, 1959
- B-47B-II, 51-2231, 320 BW(M), March AFB, 1959
- RB-47H, 53-4291, 55 SRW Det 2, Yokota AB, 1965
- RB-47H, 53-4280, 55 SRW Det 1, RAF Upper Heyford, 1967
You can see in the decal image above that the Cartograf decals provide a nice array of markings for the airframe as well as for the specific subjects. Note that the B-47B-II is a B-47B that was updated to B-47E standards including the reinstallation of ejection seats.
Some notes to consider:
- As Fotios notes in his build review, the engine pylons will require a bit of work to fit cleanly.
- The instructions have you adjust the height of the outrigger landing gear to get the model it sit on its landing gear. The problem here is that the completed model has its wings straight out as if it is in flight while the real aircraft had the wings droop while on the ground (same as a B-52). There are several techniques for creating realistic wing droop for this model, but you'll have to compensate further with the landing gear as a result. The effort will be worth it.
- The canopy is molded as one piece, but with careful surgery, you can separate the windscreen so you can pose the canopy open. Note that crews did not ingress/egress through the canopy but it opens for ventilation while the aircraft is operating on the ground and only opens over the front cockpit. You'll see in reference photos, but this is a distinctive detail if you wish.
If you love the B-47, this release provides the best features in one box as you have the all of the parts needed for the three major variants of this aircraft. This is another nice release from Academy to enhance your scale flightline.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this sample!