Hobbycraft 1/144 RB-47H Stratojet






Two aircraft; see review


Scott Van Aken




Boeing's B-47 was the USAF's first bomber to fully utilize swept wing technology. It was designed as a fast, medium range bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons. It was much loved by its crews and was very much like a huge fighter with its bubble canopy and sleek lines. Thanks to inflight refueling capabilities, range was really only limited by the amount of oil the engines carried, though the idea of sitting on a parachute pack for 18-24 hours gives me hemorrhoids just thinking about it!

The B-47 utilized a bicycle landing gear with outriggers to overcome the problem of where to put the main landing gear on a high winged aircraft with a thin wing. Like the larger B-52, the plane didn't rotate, but just lifted off the runway when enough speed had been reached. At one time, there were B-47 wings nearly circling the Soviet Union and China. Many were converted to weather reconnaissance and electronic intelligence (ELINT) aircraft. The B-47's withdrawal from service was quite rapid once metal fatigue was discovered in the aircraft's rather flexible wings and cracks became a real problem.


I think that many modelers rejoiced when Hobbycraft brought out its B-47 kit. There has been a Revell kit of some age and odd scale from the 50s as well as the 1/72 Hasegawa kit from the late '60s. The first is quite rare and the second is a bit too big for many of us. 1/144 is a good scale for these types of aircraft. The kit is by no means teeny, being about the same size as a 1/48 P-51 if not a bit bigger. 

It has the usual nicely engraved panel lines and flash-free parts that one expects from Hobbycraft nowadays. There are no ejector pin marks on any parts that will be visible from what I can see, and that is nice as the bits are quite scale so removal would be a problem. 

The kit has not only the additional bits for the RB-47H, but is seems that one should be able to build a standard B-47E from this kit as well. All the regular bomber bits are still with the sprues. The RB-47 specific parts are on the sprue just to the right of the left wing sprue as shown above. It mainly consists of a bunch of additional antenna as well as extended plates over the top of the outer engine exhaust area to make that section a little less vulnerable to heat seeking missiles fired from above.

Hobbycraft instruction sheets have been pretty poor in the area of giving colors but this one has a small table that shows interior colors in the third of 16 construction steps. There is no other color information given until the decal guide. The instructions give no historical background, but are quite good when it comes to showing a logical construction sequence.

The decal options are for two identical aircraft with only a serial number change between them. There is a blue SAC band provided, but the color is way too light. I believe it is supposed to be a nice dark insignia blue. Placement of this band is not shown on the box art or the decal guide. 

Overall, this looks like a very nice kit. One that I have seen built in a very nice flying diorama with a Minicraft KC-97G. I'd recommend this for all but the very new modeler.


Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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