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B-47E Stratojet 'ARDC'

Hasegawa 1/72 B-47E Stratojet 'ARDC' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2014 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject B-47E Stratojet 'ARDC' Scale 1/72
Kit Number 02120 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Still the best B-47 kit in any scale Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $59.95

First Look

B-47E Stratojet 'ARDC' Kit
B-47E Stratojet 'ARDC' Kit
B-47E Stratojet 'ARDC' Kit
B-47E Stratojet 'ARDC' Kit

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'. You'll be looking for this B-47 as well as the Monogram 1/72 B-36 kit to scratch the resulting modelers' itch!

Here is one of Hasegawa's earlier kits, the 1/72 B-47E Stratojet. First released as kit JS-23 back in the 1960s, this kit remains the best kit of the B-47 in any scale to date. Hasegawa has reissued this kit on a regular basis and this release represents two flight test aircraft but retains all of the original bomber parts. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus a single clear canopy.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Basic cockpit
  • Canopy is not positionable without some careful surgery
  • Positionable crew entry door
  • Optional boarding ladder
  • Positionable weapons bay doors
  • Simple conventional bomb load included

While previous reissues of this kit provided operational combat aircraft marking options, this release represents two aircraft out of the Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) which later became Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) in 1961. Markings are provided for two examples:

  • B-47E, 53-2280, ARDC, ASD, Wright-Patterson AFB
  • B-47E, 52-0221, ARDC, AFFTC, Edwards AFB

Since this kit has been reissued on a fairly regular basis, there are some aftermarket options for this kit including a nicely detailed cockpit from Pavla Models. I recall seeing a weapons bay detail set some years ago but I don't know who produced that set nor if it is still available. Decal options are also periodically released as well, check your favorite online hobby retailer.

It is time to pull out my copy of Strategic Air Command and watch Jimmy Stewart at work. As many of you know, Stewart was not only a fine actor, but he remained in the U.S. Air Force Reserve after serving in World War II as a B-24 pilot, squadron commander, and almost group commander. He flew the latest aircraft of the day. If you search YouTube, there is one video of him with a big grin after flying the B-58 Hustler.

It is nice to see this kit back out again and it is long overdue for a trip back on my bench!

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!