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B-52 Kit

Minicraft 1/144 B-52H Stratofortress Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2010 Manufacturer Minicraft
Subject B-52H Stratofortress Scale 1/144
Kit Number 14615 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $29.95

First Look

B-52 Kit
B-52 Kit
B-52 Kit
B-52 Kit
B-52 Kit
B-52 Kit

The B-52 Stratofortress is an eight-engined strategic bomber that was designed to replace the B-36 Peacemaker. Where the B-36 was powered by six huge piston engines (and later with an additional four jet engines), the B-52 was a pure jet aircraft. Where the B-36 was not air refuelable, the B-52 can air refuel. Where the B-36 was designed as a long-range conventional bomber that was adapted to the nuclear deterrence mission, the B-52 was designed for the nuclear deterrence mission and was adapted to the conventional bombing mission.

The B-52D could carry up to 105 500lb and 750lb bombs and deliver them anywhere in the world. If you look in the dictionary under 'carpet bombing', you'll see a picture of the B-52. Nicknamed the BUFF (for Big Ugly Fat 'Fellow'), the XB-52 was first flown in 1952, and the last B-52H came off the production line in 1962. The XB-70 that was to become the high-speed replacement for the B-52 was cancelled. The Mach 2 B-1A Lancer was also cancelled. The Mach 1+ B-1B Lancer did eventually enter production, but not in sufficient quantities to replace the B-52. The stealth B-2 Spiirit also entered production, but again in small quantities, leaving the B-52 to soldier on into the 21st century.

Minicraft has released the B-52H Stratofortress in 1/144 scale with this release being a reissue of the Crown tooling. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus one clear sprue with the clear parts.

The tooling is laid out similarly to the huge Monogram 1/72 kit with separately molded flaps that can be posed in the extended position as well as your choice of landing gear up or down.

The kit is designed for the B-52H in its early career as a nuclear deterrant. The kit retains the tail gun that was removed later in its career, as well as a nice array of external stores, also from its early career. The TF-33 engine pods are properly done, you'll need to replace these with the J57 engine pods in order to backdate the aircraft to the early B-52G.

The kit does have some nice display options as it provides display stands for the weapons you choose not to mount on the aircraft. These options include the GAM-97 Skybolt, the AGM-69 SRAM, the ADM-20 Quail, and the AGM-28 Hound Dog. You'll note that the Quail decoy was carried in the bomb bay so this won't be one of your external store options but will make a nice addition to the display.

My favorite configuration is with the Hound Dog missiles under the wings as crews could fuel and defuel the missile in flight as well as operate the engine in each missile while still attached to the pylon. Stories are told how BUFF crews used to fire up the Hound Dogs for extra take-off thrust, and at some point later on, missile maintenance is left wondering how a missile that has never flown comes back to the shop with a worn-out engine.

With a little patience and skill, you can add the various bumps and fairings as well as remove the tail gun to render a contemporary B-52H.

Markings are provided two examples:

  • B-52H, 60-0021, 449 BW, Kincheloe AFB, early 1960s
  • B-52H, 60-0049, 19 BW, Wurtsmith AFB, 1962

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!