B-52B with X-15 Experimental Aircraft

Published on
Published on
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Review Author(s)
Scale
1/72
MSRP
$78.99
Product / Stock #
5716
Company: Monogram - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Revell, Inc. - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

One sure way to mess up the kit speculators is to re-release a rare kit. In this case, re-releasing the classic Monogram B-52 with X-15 combination was eagerly awaited, as some on the open market paid over $400 for this particular kit, which was released in the “Young Astronaut” series back in 1992 or so. Thanks to Revell/Monogram for providing us this excellent kit!

For those of you who remember when this kit came out, the venerable 1967/68 Monogram B-52D mold was modified to include the cutout on the starboard inboard flap to accommodate the X-15 fin assembly, and the clear parts tree was modified to include the viewing bubble prominently protruding from that side of the aircraft. The tail quad.50 caliber machine gun stinger turret was omitted like on the real aircraft, and additional camera fairings were included on a separate tree, along with the X-15 wing mounting pylon. The external tanks were deleted, as were all bombs and external carriage pylons. The inboard wing slipper fairings are erroneously included to fill the underwing bomb pylon mounts; the port side should be filled in flush with the wing, and the starboard side correctly provides mounting for the X-15 pylon. The X-15A-2 model had been released as a separate kit back in 1987, and included a stand, ground moving dolly, and a standing figure. The cockpit was more than acceptable at the time, just paint and dry brush the raised details! The decal sheet had unreadable stenciling at the time; the new kit decal sheet fixes that. Also included are wing walkway stripes.

This is a simple but difficult kit; simple in parts breakdown, difficult in making them fit and filling the gaps. If you opt for a flying version, as I did, there are numerous ways to handle the closed bomb bays and gear doors. I did not feel adventurous enough to use clear packaging tape on the fuselage to fill the bay and gear wells with resin; I instead opted for the not-so-pretty but tried-and-true method, which is to install the bomb bays, in the fuselage halves in the “closed” position, and use superglue to reinforce the inside. I assembled the basic cockpit and included the figures to fill the otherwise empty ejection seat locations. The whole cockpit was painted flat black per prototype at the time, which made it easy. The instrument panel decal is for a G or H model; the upper coaming is pure A through F B-52, so I repainted the decal and overlaid it with standard instruments (that means, I painted it gray and used a black Sharpie ® to make instruments) verses having Cathode Ray tubes for the FLIR and IRST turret feed as seem on B-52G/H from the late 1970’s to today.

Assembly of the fuselage is simple, but takes a while due to length. At this point it is prudent to install the main gear doors, and begin the slathering of putty on the whole mess. Assembly of the wings followed the same format, except I use tape and glue to provide an “in-flight” appearance on the wing. Putty continues to be our friend here; I prefer Squadron ® white putty as it is finer in grade. Same for the canopy; paint the sill area flat black to avoid the unfinished look. OH, for gear down, follow the instructions and use less putty.

Installation of the canopy occurred after all the seams had been worked; nothing like coating the windscreen from the inside in putty dust that you can’t do anything about. I opted not to include the upper deck windows on the aft part of the forward fuselage, as I intended to use white glue to fill them. The original lower Navigator windows are not included, so you can either drill them out, paint them, or use a decal square. Your model, your choice. Same for the crew access door on the lower fuselage; open or closed.

The engine pods are simple; exhaust cones go in the lower cowl, upper cowl attached, then install the intake assembly. Let dry, putty away (Getting a visual here?) and set aside. Pylons are important; make sure you get the right one with the left one, and then there’s the installation in the wing. Take your time; the fit is ok. Inboard flaps are shut on this version, never dropped, as it would have royally messed with the X-15 aft section!

I had no landing gear or wheels to deal with, but the kit items are adequate and up to the job. (I’ve built over 15 of these things in the past 30 years for many others…) There is virtually no actual detail in the wheel wells, and the original bomb bay was a plate with bombs covering the centerline weapon bay.

Stab and fin assemblies are simple two-piece affairs each; again, take your time, and learn which side is up and which is down. Try not to let the fin lean while it dries; on a model this size, it really sticks out

Finish: White Rustoleum for the trim areas, radome tan and flat black. I tried to use Krylon Sterling silver spray to finish; it works but was a bit grainy due to airborne paint mist flashing off in the heat (106 degrees F when I painted).. Decals, sharpie walkways (This is an office model) and it was off to the races. As stated before, there are walkway stripes included in the decal sheet, but the sharpie works as long as you aren’t planning to dullcoat over them. Gloss black for the X-15, and decals, then dullcoat the whole thing. Really get mad at yourself if you have the sharpie walkways run. (HEY STUPID!). All in all a fun build. Glad to see this one back; and everyone wants to know, when is the model going to be released as a G/H? Tired of using resin to modify the “D”…!

Thanks to Revell-Monogram for providing this kit for review!

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