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1/72 Rockwell B-1B Lancer ("BONE") bomber

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Here's a kit I built last fall. I saved up a bunch of photos and finally had some time to edit them and post them up.

 

Well, it looks like a B-1, but the devil is in the details. The kit is 20 years old. The parts fit is poor. Some of the panel lines are engraved (wings) but some are raised (fuselage). Many of the shapes (nose cone, tail cone, engine exhausts, external bombs) correspond to the B-1A prototype rather than the production B-1B. Nevertheless it's a good starting point and a good set of correction parts is available from the aftermarket.

 

The box art:

box.jpg

 

Quick dry fit out of the box, without the engines:

out_of_the_box_sans_engines.jpg

 

I'll be using this drawing for panel line references:

panel_lines.jpg

 

And this drawing for dimensional references:

plans.jpg

 

 

 

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Drawings

 

Checking the drawing against the actual aircraft (side view):

plans_vs_aircraft_side_view.jpg

 

Checking the drawing against the model (side view):

plans_vs_model_side_view.jpg

 

Checking the drawing against the actual aircraft (top view):

plans_vs_aircraft_top_view.jpg

 

Checking the drawing against the model (top view):

plans_vs_model_top_view.jpg

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Wings

 

The first job is to correct the wings. They need to be longer to match the drawings:

wing_root_extensions.jpg

 

And the wing pivot knuckles need to be larger in diameter:

wing_pivot_corrections.jpg

 

I made the wings removable so they can be installed after the fuselage is closed up, blended, filled, and scribed. I cut slots into the wings and filed matching flats on the pivots, after inserting wire rods for extra strength:

wing_mounts.jpg

 

 

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Cockpit

 

The kit pilot figures have old-style helmet visors, so I modified them to look more like the helmets that are currently worn:

pilots.jpg

 

The windows on the real aircraft seem to have an iridescent yellow tint, so I tried to duplicate that:

canopy_tinted.jpg

 

The canopy fit was very poor and required extensive filling and blending:

canopy_blended.jpg

 

But the Barracuda paint masks fit very nicely:

canopy_masked.jpg

 

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Fuselage

 

Fuselage surgery begins by marking out cut lines for the wing fillets:

wing_fillet_cutting_lines.jpg

 

Replacement fillets are then glued in with CA:

wing_fillets_installed.jpg

 

The upper fuselage needs some reshaping. The refueling area below the windshield is completely wrong and must be sanded off. The area behind the crew cabin needs more of a taper. The overwing areas are too thick and need to be thinned:

top_reprofiled_corrected_annotated.jpg

 

The lower fuselage also needs lots of work. I'll be posing the model in flight with the wings fully swept, so the landing gear, stairwell, and bomb bay doors all need to be closed up with plastic card. Also, there are lots of mounting holes for external cruise missles (present on B-1A but not on B-1B) that need to be filled. The camera pod and various antennas also need to be removed. Finally, the rear bomb bay door is too long and needs to be shortened. The fuel/air cooler intakes (circled in red) are part of the Barracuda resin set:

bottom_filled_corrected_annotated.jpg

 

Most of the (raised) fuselage panel lines get sanded off during blending and filling, so I sanded off the remaining ones and rescribed (some of) them. I used strips of "Dymo" plastic label making tape as scribing guides. It's thick and semi-rigid, providing a good edge for the scribing tool. The trickiest area was the pair of rear ejection hatches. For these I used rectangles of Dymo tape with the corners rounded off as guides. One is shown here, removed after use and placed to the side, circled in red:

scribed_annotated.jpg

 

 

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Nacelles

 

The engines use a whole pile of resin parts. Almost none of the original plastic remains:

engine_components.jpg

 

Barracuda includes a set of radar deflection baffles which must be painted and installed in the inlets:

engines_completed.jpg

 

Installing the engine nacelles requires a fair amount of fitting and fiddling:

engines_installed.jpg

 

 

 

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Front end

 

Rather than using decals, I painted all lines and markings. Window seal outlines were applied using the Barracuda canopy masks. To make a mask for the refueling markers, I scanned the original decal sheet, did some photo editing to generate a black-on-white image, and printed out the image. Then I overlaid some frisket film on the image, traced out the pattern with a fresh X-Acto blade, transferred the film mask onto the model, and sprayed several thin coats of off-white:

outlines_and_markings.jpg

 

The resin pitot tubes are tiny. They are installed into holes that must be drilled. I used the tip of an X-Acto blade to start each hole and then opened them to size with a finger-turned .081" drill bit.

pitot_tube_components.jpg

 

A needle file was used to ream out each hole for a custom friction fit. A couple of holes came out slightly too large and required a tiny smear of epoxy:

pitot_tubes_installed.jpg

 

 

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Back end

 

The Barracuda resin exhaust nozzle castings are quite detailed. Installing the tiny actuator rods is a challenge. They are sliced one at a time from the casting block and then CA'd in place. Many spares are provided. I only lost two:

exhaust_components_annotated.jpg

 

After painting and applying a wash of clear smoke:

exhausts_completed.jpg

 

 

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Painting

 

I was looking for a worn, somewhat aged appearance. After priming with Tamiya gray liquid surface primer, I sprayed multiple thin coats of Tamiya XF-54 "Dark Sea Gray", stopping before obtaining complete coverage. For walkway markings I used XF-24 "Dark Gray". For the nose cone and dielectric panels I used a 50:50 mix of XF-54 and XF-24. The wing pivot areas are X-31 "Titanium Gold". Lastly, I dirtied things up a bit with some XF-1 "Flat Black". The flat paints look good but are delicate. For final assembly and handling I wear thin cotton gloves (thanks wife!).

 

painted_top.jpg

 

painted_bottom.jpg

 

 

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