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Monogram B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay" 1/48 Complete

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  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Monogram B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay" 1/48 Complete
Posted by Aggieman on Saturday, February 1, 2020 8:42 PM

Well, let no one ever say that I am not a glutton for punishment.  I have finally completed a dual project of two Monogram B-29 bombers that I began on 2 September 2019.

Way back in 1977, I found this box under my Christmas tree.

I was 10 that year.  Back then, I don't believe that I had yet discovered paint for model airplanes, and I immediately set to putting that beast together.  I only have vague memories of what happened to that build, but what I do remember is that sometime in 1979, my dad remarried, and they lived in a condo in SW Houston, where I remember that B-29 model at one point leaning against a wall atop a high shelf in a bedroom, and then later having been relocated to above the open-air rafters in the garage.  My dad divorced that lady in 1980, and I never saw that model again.

Once I resumed modeling back in 1995, I always knew I'd want to tackle this monster of a kit again someday.  Some time along about 2005, I picked up a re-release of this kit (I'll have a separate thread for that build), but then for reasons that I cannot explain, I picked up an original 1977 release of this kit via eBay.  So there I was, for those many years, with not one, but two of these beasts in my stash.  Midway through last year I decided that I was going to build one of them - and then I got to thinking that once I finished what I knew was going to be a daunting build, was I really going to want to tackle that second one down the line?  So both ended up on my bench at the same time last September.

Initially I was going to do both atomic bombers, but once I really got a look at all that was going to be involved in producing a "Silverplate" Superfortress out of the vast amounts of plastic that Monogram crammed into that huge box, I opted for a different approach - I'd build one Silverplate as the Enola Gay, and the other as a conventional B-29 Superfortress.

The Silverplate program existed solely for the atomic bombers.  There are notable differences between a Silverplate B-29 and a conventional B-29, most obviously the 4 turrets removed from the Silverplate bomber.  There also are covers over most of the windows of the aircraft (not the cockpit, obviously), and these covers are flush with the surrounding fuselage.  The removed turrets are replaced with a cover that is also flush with the fuselage.  Monogram did not mold their kit in such a way that a Silverplate bomber is an easy task.  The turret fairings are part of the two-part fuselage halves and must be carved away if one is going to produce an accurate reproduction of the Silverplate B-29.  The parts that Monogram included to make such a bomber are in no way, shape, or form accurate, as they result in obvious bulges outsie the fuselage.

Here is a shot of what Monogram produced on the left, and what must be done to do a Silverplate B-29 on the right:

With all that plastic carved away, you are left with a gaping hole in 4 spots along the assembled fuselage.  I thought long and hard on how I was going to fill those holes.  I ended up using the parts that Monogram provides as the covers, but I used CA to affix them to inside the fuselage.  Of course, there remained a big problem, in that while there were no longer any holes, there was also areas not flush with the surrounding fuselage surfaces.  In stepped a box of Milliput epoxy putty, a product that I'd never before used.  I was faced with a bit of a learning curve, and actually messed everything up right before my Disney vacation over Thanksgiving week.

Once I returned, I scraped my initial effort away and did it again, with results that appeared more satisfactory to my eyes.

But no, I was no where near done, as I was faced with a month of vigorous sanding to smooth everything out.  I lost some of the raised panel lines in that effort despite my best efforts to protect them through covering most of them in the sanding areas with painter's tape.  I was able to make the seams disappear for the most part, but once I started painting, I could see that I really should have continued sanding for another month.  In the right light, one can see undulations across the Milliput covers for the gun turrets, but at a glance, everything looks smooth.  I opted to call it a day (I now need a whole new set of sanding sticks and pads as a result of this build).

I painted the Enola Gay in varying shades of AK Extreme Metallics - duraluminum, white aluminum, dark aluminum, and stainless steel.  That paint was applied over a coat of black Stynylrez primer.  I never experienced any lifting with all the masking I was doing to paint those differing shades of metal.

I used the kit decals, which were 42 years old.  For the most part, they performed as one would expect, albeit a bit thick, and I did trim away as much carrier film as I could. But the manufacturer logo and text on the props looked awful.  There appeared to be a white film around them.  I opted to forgo any decals on the props.

Weathering is at a minium, with a bit of flory wash in the flap and aileron panel lines, and heavily thinned black paint applied at low PSI for the exhaust stains.  I used a bit of Tamiya weathering compounds on the exhaust pipes.  Speaking of, I had to be creative in the use of my work space given these kits' size, and whilst moving the Enola Gay so I could work on the other, I heard something hit the floor.  I've not been able to find the exhaust pipe that I inadvertently knocked off that day - it's as if it just disappeared.

Well that's it for me for big bombers for a while.  I don't feel like I did quite as good a job on Enola Gay as I did on Humpin' Honey, but I think I'll cut myself a little bit of a break, as there is an insane amount of work to do to even be able to get into the right ballpark for a Silverplate bomber.  Maybe some day, I may be persuaded to tackle this one again, do perhaps the Great Artiste ... but right now, it's on to a smaller subject next, a Midway-era SBD-3 Dauntless in 1/32 scale.

  • Member since
    April 2015
Posted by Mopar Madness on Saturday, February 1, 2020 8:50 PM

Both of these B-29's came out beautiful! 

Chad

God, Family, Models...

At the plate: 1/48 Airfix Bf109 & 1/35 Tamiya Famo

On deck: Who knows!

  • Member since
    June 2014
Posted by BrandonK on Sunday, February 2, 2020 11:38 AM

I can't find one of these for a reasonable price and you have two. I totally jelly. Super nice work on both.

BK

On the bench:

A lot !! And I mean A LOT!!

2024 Kits on deck / in process / completed   

                         14 / 5 / 2  

                              Tongue Tied

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Sunday, February 2, 2020 11:50 AM

NICE!!! I was wondering how you would solve the display space challenge of two of these big birds. 

Great job!

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

GAF
  • Member since
    June 2012
  • From: Anniston, AL
Posted by GAF on Sunday, February 2, 2020 12:04 PM

BrandonK

I can't find one of these for a reasonable price and you have two. I totally jelly. Super nice work on both.

BK

I would settle for a 1/72nd scale version!

Gary

  • Member since
    February 2012
  • From: Olmsted Township, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Sunday, February 2, 2020 12:28 PM
Looks great to me. I look forward to your Dauntless.

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Northern California
Posted by jeaton01 on Sunday, February 2, 2020 6:02 PM

Very nice, Stephen.  Good work fitting that canopy.

John

To see build logs for my models:  http://goldeneramodel.com/mymodels/mymodels.html

 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Sunday, February 2, 2020 7:15 PM

Chad, thank you for your kind words!

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Sunday, February 2, 2020 7:16 PM

Brandon, thanks for your kind words!  Both have been in my stash for a decade or longer, so I think the most I paid for either one was roughly $50.  I've seen them going for 5 times that now on eBay.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Sunday, February 2, 2020 7:17 PM

Gary, I actually have an Academy 1/72 Enola Gay in my stash (and I've built that exact kit as well many years ago).  This one my wife picked up for me at a garage sale, it is in a partially started condition but I think all the parts are there ... but I'm not up for tackling that any time soon.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Sunday, February 2, 2020 7:18 PM

Thank you lawdog for your kind words.  I'm also looking forward to getting back to my wheelhouse - non-NMF.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Sunday, February 2, 2020 7:23 PM

John, thanks for your kind words.  The canopy fit is a known issue with this kit, but in actuality, I didn't have any issues with it on the Enola Gay, which was an original issue of the kit.  For the Humpin' Honey, early test fitting revealed massive alignment issues, and I'd actually purchased the Squadron vacuform part for that build.  But once I got my feet under me in using Milliput, I put my patience hat on and took my time installing the canopy.  Probably took two days just to install, glueing half to the fuselage one day, then the next day putting the glue in place and holding the part where it needed to be for as long as I could stand.  Even so, I still had a bit of mis-alignment right at the forward corner of the canopy, but I evened out the surface with some Milliput blended through many sanding sessions to merge right into the fuselage.  I was able to largely, but not 100%, make it appear as if the part fit correctly.

I ended up not using the Squadron canopy set, so if there is anyone planning to build this monster, I can let you have it.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Sunday, February 2, 2020 7:29 PM

stik, funny you should mention display space.  I came back into the house after dealing with that issue and asked my wife if she recalled what the tower told Maverick when he requested permission to buzz the tower.

Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.

For the majority of my mid-to-large size builds, I hang them from the ceiling in my work room (a non-parkable third bay in my garage).  So from the following photos, you'll see 1/48 builds of a PBY Catalina, B-25 Mitchell, B-26 Marauder, A-26 Invader, A-20 Havoc, C-47 Dakota, B-17 Flying Fortress, 2 B-24 Liberators (one a Wonder Bread assembly ship), the 2 B-29s, a B-58 Hustler, and the nose of a B-1B Bone.  Also a 1/32 Grumman F3F Flying Barrell, and a B-36 Peacemaker and B-52 Stratofortress in 1/72.  I have no more room in that area of the garage for any more builds, so the pattern is full.

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: Naples, FL
Posted by tempestjohnny on Sunday, February 2, 2020 8:18 PM
Great looking build. Arms must have been sore from all the dancing. Like that garage space too

 

GAF
  • Member since
    June 2012
  • From: Anniston, AL
Posted by GAF on Sunday, February 2, 2020 11:32 PM

Aggieman

Gary, I actually have an Academy 1/72 Enola Gay in my stash (and I've built that exact kit as well many years ago).  This one my wife picked up for me at a garage sale, it is in a partially started condition but I think all the parts are there ... but I'm not up for tackling that any time soon.

Well, if you ever want to get rid of it, maybe we could work out a trade.  I've been culling my collection of things I will probably never get around to building in order to raise money for an airbrush, which would be of much more use.  Smile

Meanwhile, I forgot to say what sterling work you've done on both the B-29s you've posted, and that's quite a collection you have of ceiling hangars!  Color me jealous!

Gary

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Cleveland, OH
Posted by RadMax8 on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 9:21 PM

Aside from the canopy, what difference did you notice between the two realeases? It's interesting to see how the molds age.

Nice bit of nostalgia coming full circle on your building career. Hope you were able to associate your build now with the fun times as a kid.

  • Member since
    May 2006
  • From: Chapin, South Carolina
Posted by Shipwreck on Thursday, February 6, 2020 7:01 AM
Aggieman, two B-29s are an ambitious task. I especially like your choice of modeling a plain vanilla B-29 vs. a Silverplate conversion. Nice work and thanks for sharing!

On the Bench:

Revell 1/96 USS Constitution - rigging

Kinetic 1/48 YF-104A 5-2957

Trumpeter 1/350 USS Hornet CV-8

Revell 1/48 B-1B Lancer Prep & Reasearch

 

 

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Thursday, February 6, 2020 10:01 AM

 Very nice!  That collection hanging from the ceiling looks impressive!

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Thursday, February 6, 2020 3:11 PM

Thanks for your kind words, John.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Thursday, February 6, 2020 3:13 PM

Thank you for your kind words, shipwreck.

My original plan was to build both atomic bombers, but the Bocks Car did not carry its now famous nose art on the mission to Nagasaki.  And when I got a good feel for just how much work it was going to take to convert just one of these massive models to a Silverplate Superfortress, I opted to do the conventional B-29.  I believe I made a good decision on that.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Thursday, February 6, 2020 3:19 PM

The curious thing about these builds is that the more recent release was more clean.  The original boxing had a lot of flash that I did not find in the 2004 boxing.  The fit was roughly equivalent, although the canopy did fit better on the original.  Both had the same complement of parts, with the exception that the original came with only a set of cuffed props and the newer one had two sets, one cuffed and one uncuffed.  And the more recent came in typical gray plastic whereas the original was molded in silver and black.

The nostalgia is present with every Monogram kit I build.  I built every one of their WWII subjects when I was a kid, and most of the jets as well, so every time I put one of those together these days, it is all about nostalgia.  Honestly, nostalgia is the reason I even bothered to buy all these old kits from sellers on eBay, plus the chance at doing them again with my more finely honed modeling skills.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, February 6, 2020 4:01 PM

The "formation ship" is a real nice touch!

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Thursday, February 6, 2020 7:21 PM

Someone's gotta lead them out.Big Smile

  • Member since
    December 2018
Posted by Ted4321 on Friday, February 7, 2020 11:23 AM

Aggieman

Someone's gotta lead them out.Big Smile

 

Nice work on your 29s.  And yes, the assembly ship is awesome.  I was thinking about hanging some planes from my garage ceiling but decided against it thinking a breeze or wind might create havoc or destroy something.  Have you experienced any of that?  

T e d

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Friday, February 7, 2020 1:03 PM

Ted4321

 

 
Aggieman

Someone's gotta lead them out.Big Smile

 

 

 

Nice work on your 29s.  And yes, the assembly ship is awesome.  I was thinking about hanging some planes from my garage ceiling but decided against it thinking a breeze or wind might create havoc or destroy something.  Have you experienced any of that?  

T e d

 

  Thank you, Ted, for your kind words.

I suppose I've had some wind blow in from outside, and I've certainly contributed whenever I've had to use my gas blower to clean leaves and dirt out of there, but I've never had any issues with wind causing some havoc.  Most of the airplanes are hanging via tiny gauge wire, some with fishing line and a couple with basic string, and all are hanging off cup hooks that I screwed into the ceiling.  The only one that has ever fallen was because the fishing line unknotted itself (but I was able to repair that one, the B-25, completely).

Zam
  • Member since
    March 2024
Posted by Zam on Friday, March 15, 2024 8:11 AM

Hey, i'm trying to find a model enola gay plane that is 1/48 but i am unable to find any. Do you know the name of the store or website you got the plane?

Zam
  • Member since
    March 2024
Posted by Zam on Friday, March 15, 2024 8:16 AM

Hey, i'm trying to find a model enola gay plane that is 1/48 but i am unable to find any. Do you know the name of the store or website you got the plane from?

  • Member since
    March 2008
  • From: West Palm Beach, Florida
Posted by mic53mlb on Saturday, April 13, 2024 10:41 PM

Aggieman, I think you did a phenomenal job on your 29s !! Consider that they are raised panel lines and the molds are 50 yrs old. I got this kit for Xmas back in '82 from my Grandparents, model shop hopping was me and my Grandfather's thing back in those days. Did either of your kits come with a color booklet with a diorama made by Shep Paine of the Enola Gay ??

  • Member since
    March 2008
  • From: West Palm Beach, Florida
Posted by mic53mlb on Saturday, April 13, 2024 10:50 PM

Now I gotta put my fedora on and be Indiana Jones and find that kit I got over 40 yrs ago ... and with that booklet !!! Big Smile

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy, TX
Posted by Aggieman on Friday, April 19, 2024 10:57 AM

Zam

Hey, i'm trying to find a model enola gay plane that is 1/48 but i am unable to find any. Do you know the name of the store or website you got the plane from?

 

I'm sorry, I just saw your post on my old post.  I believe I acquired this kit via eBay.  This particular boxing is no longer in production.  There is a recent re-release (Revell now) that is very expensive, reflecting more current pricing levels.  I'd suggest looking on eBay as that is probably your best option.

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