USAAF B-29A "Old Battler"

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Company: Academy Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: MRC - Website: Visit Site
Box art

The B-29 is probably best known as the aircraft that dropped the atom bomb, putting an end to WWII in the Pacific. The reissue of the Academy kit comes in a nice sturdy box, and is molded in a light grey plastic, with light recessed panel lines and good surface detail. The interior detail is very good for the scale, but unfortunately, you can’t see much of it. Crew bunks are even included for the aft section but there’s no way to see them. I decided to leave out some of these pieces in the rear section so less weight would need to be added to the nose to ensure my model sat on its nose wheel.

Fit is good, but the lead I added in the nose kept me from getting a tight fit on the forward fuselage. This caused me to shim the canopy then sand and blend the nose glass - I feel this was my error. The wings have a double spar which goes through the fuselage and makes for a nice wing-to-fuselage joint.

The engine nacelles are separate pieces, so care must be taken to get them aligned. There is a ghost shadow etched into the wing to show the builder where to locate each, and one shadow still showed after I finished the build. The kit has a great setup for the props - the engines and nacelles may be built and finished, but leave a rotating (although tight) prop shaft sticking out - you can carefully glue the props on last and still have them turn.

Another small fit problem was the horizontal stabilizers. As built, they were further to the rear than they should be to line up with the fairing stubs. I just notched the stabs to move them forward for a good fit. The only bad ejector pin marks were on the nose wheel tires - two deep holes 180 degrees apart on both nose wheels - I just filled them.

The build was per the instructions, but the nose wheel doors are shown reversed. I did not use the radome (part E-86) since I couldn't find evidence of one on the belly between the bomb bays in any pictures of olive drab Superforts. The bomb bay doors can be positioned open or closed - I closed mine to speed up the build, but the fit was loose and filling was needed. The kit comes with a bunch of bombs and nice decals for them as well.

The kit supplies a choice of five olive drab over gray paint schemes with nose art. The decals are beautifully done by Cartogarf and are right on register. Three of the kit options have turrets and two are tankers:

  • "Old Battler" - 678th BS, 444th BG, 58th BW, ser.# 42-6251.
  • "Monsoon Goon" – 794th BS, 468th BG, 58th BW, ser.# 42-93828.
  • "Esso Express" - 794th BS, 468th BG, 58th BW as a tanker, ser.# 42-6242.
  • "Lady Boomerang" (my choice) – 770th BS, 462nd BG, 58th BW, ser. #42-6223.
  • "Hump Happy Pappy" – 45th BS, 40th BG, 58th BW, ser. # 42-6254, also a tanker.

This is a nice model and certainly the best currently in this scale.

I want to thank IPMS, and MRC Academy for the opportunity to review this kit.


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