IPMS/USA extends extreme gratitude to Paul and Susy Fisher for sending us this excellent item to upgrade the Hasegawa 1/72 legacy kit B-47 into a combat-ready aircraft with RATO. And thanks to Phil and John, our leaders in the IPMS reviewer corps, for graciously allowing me to review this set…
It’s not every day I look at a resin upgrade and go “I wonder what else I can do with this?” Fisher’s 1/72 B-47 RATO Horse Collar and bottles are one of these items. First, it’s a really simple upgrade. One world-famous Fisher single-piece resin casting that fits on the model without major cursing and sanding, and add-ons that make the final product look really great, in the form of 27 RATO Bottles.
If you want to see how a B-47 operates on RATO (Rocket Assisted Take Off, or “JATO”, Jet assisted Take off, as it used to be called), watch the Move “STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND” with Jimmy Stewart. A B-47 uses RATO to take off out of Tyndall AFB in Florida… really well done. Classic great Tallichet aerial photography, a bit “campy” but a real glimpse into the secret world SAC bombers in the old Nuclear Enterprise with the USAF.
This is a really simple setup. Clean up the resin parts with Wesley’s Blech-Wite ®, or similar degreasing cleaner like Formula 409 ®. This is VITAL to the final result. Paul recommends you remove the RATO bottles from their pour stub, clean up any mold seams, then stick them via the nozzle to a piece of double-sided tape. I use duct tape or paper packing tape to hold resin parts in this manner, as it provides a footprint for the part to grab to. Next, set up all parts for a strong, automotive-grade primer spray session.
I like Duplicolor brand Black automotive primer (preferred) or Gray primer myself. I prefer black because it prevents “see-light through the resin” effect, and helps remove the toyish-look to some plastic models. Then I spray everything with Tamiya’s spray primer, which is fine grained and does a great job of hardening the automotive primer, which in practice feels “soft” to me. In this case, I used Gray. Tamiya’s gray approximates the neutral or mid-gray the RATO bottles were frequently painted.
Take your time cleaning up the RATO bottles… they come away clean, and only require a little bit of light knife work on the pour stub area.
The Horse Collar itself was painted with Krylon Olive green ‘dead flat’ camouflage over the black, which provides a bit of “pre-shading” effect if you are careful, exposing detail. One note: this Horse Collar is a fantastic bit of resin work, as the fine mounting ears are delicate and accurately cast. And the holes for the forward bottle mounts are all clear and deep enough to not require drilling out. This is another example of Paul’s attention to detail and expertise with resin.
The RATO bottles have three ears; two on one side, and one nozzle on the other, with the main nozzle in the rear. I referred to them as my “Piglet” farm after a while, because that’s what they reminded me of.
After I had painted all the lil’ bitty RATO bottles, I then carefully mounted each bottle in its respective location on the Horse Collar. You can’t get it backwards, because they only fit one way… but they can have serious, noticeable misalignment if you are in a hurry. TAKE YOUR TIME.
When ready, measure and install/glue on your finished B-47 just behind the aft main gear assembly on the centerline. You are then ready to place in a US or European Nuc alert setting.
The porcupine effect is stunning… (and if you buy two sets, you can install JATO bottles on your B-45, F-84F/G, SA-16 Albatross, C-47, or even C-130. With 27 bottles, you have a lot of available power to launch your squadron.)
Thanks again to Paul and Susy Fisher for providing this fantastic set for IPMS USA to review, and thanks to John and Phil for sending it my way!