Minicraft 1/144 B-29A Superfortress Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||December 2009||Manufacturer||Minicraft|
|Kit Number||14609||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Beautiful kit||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$12.95|
Boeing approached the Army Air Corp to propose an improved version of their capable B-17 Flying Fortress. At the time, the AAC was still getting acquainted with the B-17 and didn't have a requirement for an aircraft with the capabilities outlined by Boeing. The year was 1938. By 1940 however, the storm clouds of war were gathering on the horizon and Boeing was contracted for three prototype aircraft (Consolidated also received a contract for three prototypes of their B-32 Dominator).
Designed to fly above and faster than the threats of the day, the first B-29 flew in September, 1942. By the time the B-29 did get into full production, the decision had been made to focus the aircraft's capabilities in the Pacific where bomb load and range were critical. B-29s operated out of China as well as operating from island runways as the allied forces pushed their way toward Japan.
Most people associate the B-29 with the atomic bombs, and indeed the B-29 was the only US bomber with the capacity to loft the early bombs (the British Lancaster had also been considered), though this capability was limited to the aircraft of the 509th Bomb Group. The B-29 also served in Korea as the fledgling USAF's principal heavy bomber.
Minicraft has re-released the Crown 1/144 B-29 kit originally produced by AHM. The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The kit is a simple build and quite nicely done for its petite size. The tooling is over 30 years old, but you won't find a relatively easy build of the B-29 at this price.
This release provides two sets spinners, one to overlay the propeller and the other without holes to simulate the engine running. The kit also provides the gear doors set up closed for in-flight display, or you simply cut at the molded-in cut line to split the doors to pose the aircraft gear down.
The instructions don't mention ballast, but if you do want to pose your model on its landing gear, wait until the very end to install the flight deck plate and cockpit transparencies to allow you to add ballast in the nose until the model sits properly on its nose gear.
Markings are provided for three examples:
- B-29, 44-27289, 30 BS/19 BG, Kadena AB, 1950, 'Atomic Tom'
- Washington Mk.I, WF446,15 Sqn, RAF Germany, 1951
- Washington Mk.I, A76-2/WW353, RAAF R&D Unit, 1950s
This is a nice kit that will go together quickly and provide a colorful addition to your scale flightline. This is another nice installment in Minicraft's growing line of 1/144 scale aircraft.
My sincere thanks to Minicraft Models for this review sample!