USAAF Boeing B-29A
I’ve built several B-29s, one of them a Minicraft kit for an earlier review. That being said, I’m still waiting for the moment of inspiration to strike when I get out another B-29 kit and build the Tu-4 “Bull” which is almost identical to the B-29. Or a Washington, also a B-29 with RAF decals.
Minicraft has reissued this kit with very different markings. Little attention has been paid to the early B-29s, which were painted OD. I built this particular kit with the kit markings because it is different, and the markings are certainly visually and historically interesting. In fact, the location of the B-29 I built, Vladivostok, USSR, in November 1944, probably points to it being one of the prototypes for the Tu-4.
The model is from the original Crown mold, and as such is about 30 years old. The cockpit glass is on the thick side, and there are some minor fit problems, but this mold has either been well taken care of, or refinished, as there is minimal flash.
There is no interior detail, but Matador Models in the UK makes a cockpit set in metal for the 1/144 B-29. Unfortunately, I used my interior in the previous review.
The main landing gear doors come in the closed position, and have to be cut for gear down. Nevertheless, if you’re building it in flying mode, this is very handy. There are also bladeless prop spinners provided for the flying option.
Pretty straightforward; the horizontal stabilizer is trapped between the fuselage halves, the gunners’ blisters are installed, the nose gear is inserted, and the turrets are installed before gluing the fuselage halves. I painted the fuselage before installing the blisters, and I cheated on the turrets. Rather than making them moveable, I put the pin in, cut the end off and installed them after decals, etc. I installed the gunner blisters with Tamiya tape wrapped around them to protect them from overspray on further painting.
The wings are 4 pieces; they go together pretty well, with only a little scraping on the leading edge to give a good looking assembly. I painted the tops of the wings at the same time I painted the fuselage halves. I had to put a little putty between the wing roots and the fuselage, but this is almost always the case when I do this type of assembly. The nacelles come with engine detail inside, but after you install the engines, the prop holders prevent you from seeing any of this interior.
Once the wings were on and the fuselage seams dealt with, I was ready to finish painting.
With most of the top of the aircraft already painted OD, I painted the underside neutral gray. I masked the leading edges of the horizontal stabilizer, rudder and wing leading edges and painted them with Testors Steel. I also painted the landing gear legs and wheel hubs at this time. I then reloaded the airbrush with OD and fixed the seams and wing roots as well as the little bit of overspray from the neutral gray and steel.
I glossed the model with Future as a decal prep and to protect the metal paint, which often comes off.
These decals are Cartograf, and they’re really good. I put the decals on the tail, the wings, and the fuselage, then took a break. Then I noticed that the instructions say that all drawings of this aircraft show an OD rudder, not metal. So I stopped and painted the rudder OD. I used a post-it note for a mask, and the decals on the vertical stabilizer were unharmed. Another coat of Future on the rudder and then I finished the decals.
All of the decals went on super, except for the rudder stripes, which gave me a little trouble as the curve of the rudder made the decal want to fold. It shows the quality of these decals that even my ham-handed handing didn’t destroy them.
I put the landing gear on, added the turrets, installed the cockpit and tail gun clear parts, and put the props on. The flight deck clear parts needed a little scraping to fit into the fuselage, and there’s a little extra width on this part which I didn’t tackle.
Recommended. This kit builds easily, and has no noticeable shape faults. This is a 20th Century kit, and as such it doesn’t have all the details and fine fit we’ve come to expect from newer kits. But it’s an interesting aircraft, it assembles well, and it’s sold at a good price.
Thanks to Minicraft Models and IPMS USA for letting me add to my collection of historically interesting aircraft.