With special projects, you sometimes just need a bit of luck. At the 2009 IPMS Nationals I found an old DB Productions RB-47H resin conversion set as well as the Wolfpack decal sheet with markings for one such aircraft with sharks teeth. A couple of visits to used model shops, however failed to locate the required Hasegawa B-47E Stratojet kit right away. Even EBay couldn't deliver throughout the year.

Fortunately, a fellow German modeler kindly offered one of his 20 year old models which had suffered a category A mishap but was still too good to throw away. Duly, the box full of well packed parts arrived and the Stratojet was stored in my personal bone yard awaiting a slot in the Hunger rework plant.

The RB-47H, distinguished by a more bulbous nose and a bulged bomb bay for the "Raven" black box operators, was one of the many variants of the basic B-47 and served to ferret out electronic emissions, including radars, along the Iron Curtain. They were some of the last Statojets to be retired as they served until the late 60's when they were replaced by roomier and better performing RC-135s. The period between 2010 Nationals and Christmas proved to be just the time to get to work on this fascinating aircraft.

To begin with the damaged hull was cleaned up. Further excess parts, such as tail gun, the last remaining landing gear and the drop tanks were removed to simplify restoration. Joints were then resanded and the remaining half of the bomb bay as well as the wing tips and nose were sawn off. I then recarved all the panel lines. In parallel, this was also done on the main engines pods that had fallen off previously.

With the panel lines gone, I could then sand off all the paint in order to provide a smooth surface for the new paint job. That out of the way, I super glued, the new nose, wing tips and extra rear metal radomes and also cut a slot into the outer lower wing for 2 suspended antenna pods. The bulged resin bomb bay required some rebending in boiling water to fit properly as it had contorted while in storage. Even then, it required a couple of strips of plasticard and quite some filler to fit smoothly into the orifice. The guns could then also be reattached. I also nearly forgot to close up the holes for the drop tanks, as the RB-47H has not been photographed with them attached as far as I can tell.

In the end, the resulting airframe looked good in Halfords grey primer and could be spray painted right away in Halfords Nissan silver. I then masked off the nose and rudder tip to be painted in gloss light grey as well as the airbrake and wing center sections to be accented in darker Allclad aluminum for just a little more contrast. I left most of the Tamiya tape on the wings in order to hand paint the wing walkway lines, though more had to be applied to the top of the fuselage for those lines and the anti glare panel. The gear bays were done in Zinc chromate. The whole lot was sprayed in Halfords gloss cote for better decal adhesion.

I now had to clean up and paint the landing gear and gear doors. One of the small doors from the engine pod had to be scratch built as it had gone missing during the accident and/or transport.

The outrigger wheels needed to be attached a little higher on the struts in order to have a perfect 4 point posture together with the main gear.
Now the decals could be applied. Most went on smoothly without confusion. I did use slightly smaller USAF decals from a Superscale sheet for the top wing as the sheet ones seemed too large to fit properly between the walkways. The sharks mouth also required a bit of Microsol for a perfect fit.

This conversion was about as stress free as one could imagine, considering I used pre-owned parts. The resin conversion set is now also available from Flightpath these days. With just a little effort an average modeler can fill in a interesting niche in US Air Force cold war aircraft that looks just a little more exotic than the standard version of Boeings first jet bomber.

See the finished model here

Model, article and photographs by Alex Hunger