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B-54A Ultrafortress Kit

Anigrand Craftswork 1/144 B-54A Ultrafortress Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2010 Manufacturer Anigrand Craftswork
Subject B-54A Ultrafortress Scale 1/144
Kit Number 4054 Primary Media Resin
Pros Beautiful casting, nice test-fit Cons Tiny resin parts
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $76.00

First Look

B-54A Ultrafortress Kit
B-54A Ultrafortress Kit
B-54A Ultrafortress Kit
B-54A Ultrafortress Kit
B-54A Ultrafortress Kit
B-54A Ultrafortress Kit

The B-29 Superfortress was one of the key weapons to help end the war in the Pacific (the US Marines were another), but the B-29 was plagued with development problems and even in the field, its Wright R-3350 engines were not reliable. The B-50 was essentially a strengthened B-29 airframe with a taller tail and powered by four Pratt & Whitney R-4360 engines. The B-50 would serve on active duty through 1965.

Even as the B-50 was taking its turn as a principal arm in the new Strategic Air Command, Boeing continued development of improved versions of the B-50 to keep it relevant as a strategic bomber. The YB-50C was a super-sized variant with a 10 foot stretch in fuselage length and 20 feet greater wingspan. The longer wings made it necessary to use outrigger landing gear in the outboard nacelles. Power came from a newer variant of the R-4360 that used a variable output supercharger whose exhaust could also be used to provide additional thrust.

Development of the YB-50C was redesignated as B-54A and continued through April 1949 when the contract was cancelled.

Anigrand Craftswork has returned with a new-tool rendition of the Boeing B-54A Ultrafortress. Keeping in theme with other releases in the 1/144 series, this kit renders another member of aviation history that didn't quite make it off of the drawing boards.

Cast in tan resin, the B-54 kit is laid out in standard Anigrand fashion with hollow-cast fuselage halves, plug-in wings and tail, engine nacelles, external fuel tanks, and resin landing gear. The clear resin parts have improved significantly as these parts are crystal clear. As with other piston-powered members of this series, the propellers are cast separately so you can use them to pose the aircraft parked or delete them to depict the aircraft in flight or in motion.

Another aspect of this kit in common with others in this series is that there are other smaller subjects included in this kit to depict other aircraft that never went into service. This kit provides three other subjects that are interesting:

Douglas XF6D-1 Missileer - this is beautifully rendered complete with six guided missiles mounted under the wings. Like the B-54, the fuselage is hollow-cast and the engine nacelles are also hollow and mount to the fuselage sides. You can see in these parts the design aspects that went into its more successfully older brother, the F3D Skyknight.

Northrop YF-17 Cobra - this was the 'other' entry into the Light Weight Fighter competition with the USAF and lost to the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Despite the loss to the Air Force, the twin-engine design and other aspects led to its redesign for carrier suitability for the US Navy as the F/A-18 Hornet. McDonnell Douglas was teamed up with Northrop to help them 'navalize' the Cobra and cut a deal to let Northrop focus on land-based Cobras for the export market while it moved forward with the Hornet. Unfortunately, it was the Hornet that won the export orders and left Northrop to finish the B-2 Spirit and transition to unmanned aircraft development.

McDonnell XHJD-1 Whirlaway - the XHJD-1 was an experimental aircraft developed in the mid-1940s as the first successful twing-engine, twin-rotor aircraft that could potentially be used for search and rescue by the US Navy. Only one was built, but the lessons learned from this design led to many highly successful aircraft still in service today.

As with the B-54, all three of these aircraft are cast in tan resin with clear resin canopies and lots of small details not imaged here.

Generic markings are provided for all four aircraft..

Anigrand continues to turn out some interesting subjects to fill in the gaps of aviation history for those aircraft that didn't get past flight test. Congratulations on this nice B-54A Ultrafortress kit!

My sincere thanks to the US importer, Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!