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About to embark on a big dual build project - Monogram's B-29A Superfortress x 2

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  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
About to embark on a big dual build project - Monogram's B-29A Superfortress x 2
Posted by Aggieman on Sunday, September 1, 2019 4:39 PM

I have two of these beasts in my stash, an original 1977 release acquired via eBay, and the circa 2004 re-release.  As with my recent C-47 builds, I don't really forsee any motivation to build one of these and then return to such a big build again a few years down the line.

So again my workbench is going to be crowded.  And with having started a software engineering "bootcamp" that I anticipate will consume a bunch of my time (in an effort to get my software skills back up to par so that perhaps I can find suitable employment again), I don't expect to make my usual progress on these builds.

I'm currently leaning toward building both as silverplate bombers - the Enola Gay and the Bockscar.  Anyone who has built the Monogram Superfortress knows that to do a proper silverplate bomber, some surgery is going to be required to remove the gun and window blisters.  I built this thing back in '77 but did not do an atomic bomber.  I am a bit leery of cutting these parts, to be perfectly honest.

Has anyone done this on here before?  I know there is a Loon Models resin kit to convert the Monogram to a silverplate bomber, but that still requires surgery and comes with an added cost factor that I'm trying to avoid.  The kit comes with the necessary plug parts for the gun turrets and observation blisters, so I should be able to use what is in the box.  The concern is in removing the blisters without also damaging the surrounding plastic, and doing so in such a way that the plugs fit in flush with the surrounding fuselage.

  • Member since
    March 2008
  • From: Brunswick OH
Posted by B-17 Guy on Sunday, September 1, 2019 6:05 PM
Good luck to you Sir. I hope you survive the journey.
  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 8:28 AM

B-17 Guy
Good luck to you Sir. I hope you survive the journey.
 

Thanks.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 8:32 AM

I spent yesterday morning with my grinder and the fuselage parts from the older mold B-29.  I was able to get the turret blisters off without a problem, although I have much fine sanding to do to get this ready for NMF.

But there is a big problem nevertheless, and it has to do with the molds themselves. Monogram includes plugs for the turret openings that match the curvature of the fuselage, but the problem is they are not flush with the fuselage, as was the case on the actual Silverplate bombers. I have sanded everything to the point that I will be able to insert these plugs, but am going to consider other options, perhaps scratch-building plugs flush to the surface.

Although I did take a look at the diorama booklet that came with this kit (by Shep Paine), and noticed that his build did not address these plugs correctly.  Good enough for him could easily be good enough for me ... Big Smile

  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Inverness, IL (suburb of Chicago)
Posted by JohnnyK on Thursday, September 5, 2019 7:36 PM

I built a B-29 a couple of years. It is a real impressive model when finished. In fact, it is my most impresive model. However, it has issues. Warped main wings, nasty seams at engine nacelles, cockpit greenhouse doesn't fit correctly. All these issues are fixable, they just take time.

How are you going to finish the models? Bare Metal Foil? Yes, yes,yes!!!!!

  • Member since
    April 2015
Posted by Mopar Madness on Thursday, September 5, 2019 8:32 PM

I’m in.  Been looking for one of these myself. 

Chad

God, Family, Models...

At the plate: 1/48 Tamiya Me262

On deck: 1/48 Tamiya Fw 190A4

In the hole: 1/48 Hasegawa Fw 190A4

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Thursday, September 5, 2019 8:34 PM

JohnnyK

I built a B-29 a couple of years. It is a real impressive model when finished. In fact, it is my most impresive model. However, it has issues. Warped main wings, nasty seams at engine nacelles, cockpit greenhouse doesn't fit correctly. All these issues are fixable, they just take time.

How are you going to finish the models? Bare Metal Foil? Yes, yes,yes!!!!!

 

I did foil of the regular kitchen variety several years ago on a 1/144 B-47 and then on Italeri's 1/72 B-58. For this multi-build I am using AK extreme metals (polished aluminum, aluminum, and stainless steel). This will be the first time to use these paints, whereas I typically use Alclad paint for NMF.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Saturday, September 7, 2019 10:55 AM

Well, change of plans.  I spent some time last weekend with the original release, getting rid of the turret bulges and sanding things down.  The intent was to build both of these as Silverplate bombers, one as Enola Gay and the other as Bockscar ... and then today I really started to inspect the parts in the more recent release.  Come to find out, my box does not include all of the turret covers that are in the original box.  Three of them are there, but the others are missing.

I could purchase the Loon Models Silverplate conversion set, but I'm really trying to avoid spending unnecessary funds on this hobby right now.  So I'll be doing the more recent release as a standard B-29 with the turrets and observation blisters and a conventional bomb load.  So now the decision is, which Silverplate bomber do I want to model?

  • Member since
    May 2006
  • From: Chapin, South Carolina
Posted by Shipwreck on Saturday, September 7, 2019 2:46 PM

If you want to build a silverplate bomber, the kit turret covers will not help you. Study photos of real aircraft and all you will see is seams where the turrets and blisters were. They conform to the skin around them. The only way is to cut and build!

The way I approached it was to cut away all of the protruding plastic on the fuselage, back up the opening with styrene strip, add Milliput, and sand, sand, and sand!

My  attempt is not perfect, but if this photo comes comes out, I think you will get the idea. 

 DSC03964 by Ship Wreck, on Flickr

 

The B-29 is a neat kit. I would recommend that you build a silverplate and then build a conventional bomber to show the difference between them.

On the Bench:

Revell 1/96 USS Constitution

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Hatboro, PA
Posted by Justinryan215 on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 10:51 AM

I am actually in the very early stages of planning my build of the Revell superfort as the carrier aircraft for the jet/rocket testing dont in the late 40's/early 50's.  I am thinking I want the Bell X-1 either slung (in an inflight display) or just launched...

"...failure to do anything because someone else can do better makes us rather dull and lazy..."

Mortal as I am,I know that I am born for a day.  But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the Earth...

 

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 11:50 AM

Aggieman

...Although I did take a look at the diorama booklet that came with this kit (by Shep Paine), and noticed that his build did not address these plugs correctly.  Good enough for him could easily be good enough for me ... Big Smile

 

 
Yeah, I suspect that correcting the plugs fell victim to the short deadline he faced.  I think he turned those builds and dioramas around in a week, ie, a business week of five days.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 8:22 PM

the Baron

 

 
Aggieman

...Although I did take a look at the diorama booklet that came with this kit (by Shep Paine), and noticed that his build did not address these plugs correctly.  Good enough for him could easily be good enough for me ... Big Smile

 

 

 
Yeah, I suspect that correcting the plugs fell victim to the short deadline he faced.  I think he turned those builds and dioramas around in a week, ie, a business week of five days.
 

I had no idea that was how he did all those dioramas.  Talk about some pressure and despite that, some mighty fine results!

I managed to get a few minutes at the bench, figuring I'd tape off all the areas that would need to be cut away.  I got all the tape in place, then thought, let's make another go at these bulges (fuselage) with the grinder and sanding pads.  While my earlier efforts had removed the majority of those bulges, there remained a slight bulge that was not flush with the surrounding fuselage.  I used a small stone grinding tip to get rid of most of the first blister bulge, then went after the area with successively finer grades of sanding pads.  I believe this was a successful effort.  I put the two fuselage halves as close together as I could (all the tape prevented a successful mating of the parts), and squinting at the area I had just worked on against its opposite and untouched half, I could see that there was no sign of anything rising above the surface of the surrounding fuselage surface.

The kit plugs are not going to be helpful, though, so I'll use sheet styrene and Milliput to fashion new plugs.

  • Member since
    May 2006
  • From: Chapin, South Carolina
Posted by Shipwreck on Thursday, September 12, 2019 7:39 AM

Aggiman, BEFORE you join the fuselage halves make sure that you have created a strong backing support under the plugs (build up each side before the join) so that you can build up the plug holes flush to the fuselage. That is because it will take some serious sanding to blend them in!

On the Bench:

Revell 1/96 USS Constitution

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Thursday, January 30, 2020 12:04 PM

Well here it is, just short of 6 months since I started these Superfortresses.  I am very near the end of this journey.  During the last months of 2019, I was enrolled in a software engineering bootcamp that prevented me from any significant time at the bench, but I worked it in when I could.  Right before my Thanksgiving trip to Disney, I was able to start using Milliput to fashion the covers for the Silverplate turrets. I did use the kit parts as the backing, mounted inside the fuselage and secured with CA.

I spent very nearly a month and a half sanding those turrets, and while they are flush with the surrounding fuselage, in the wrong light I can see the undulations in the Milliput.  To the naked eye, the Enola Gay looks pretty good, but if I was to do another one of these, I would definitely get the Loon Models set.

I'm having a difficult time finding photos of the Enola Gay from on or about 6 August 1945 to be able to verify if she sported all the antennas along the upper fuselage that we can clearly see in photos of her at the Smithsonian.  I think I see in the old B&W photos at least one of the vertical antennas located roughly at the leading edge of the wings, but the kit instructions also call for a second antenna located beyond the trailing edge of the wing that I cannot find on any of the old photos (but it is present on the -29 as she is today).  There is also a "flying antenna" that I don't find any evidence of being installed on the Hiroshima mission.

These antenna parts, plus installation of the tail guns and the pitot tubes along the lower forward fuselage, are pretty much all that remain - along with a delivery from ScaleHobbyist that includes a new bottle of flat clear, which I need to flatten the black on the prop blades.  So perhaps next week I'll be able to wrap these up and get some photos taken.

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