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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Monogram Rockwell B-1 Lancer

I’m finally finishing the first model of 2012. This demonstrates the lack of mojo in the year so far, since I was completing the 11th one last year at this time.

It is another entry in the long term series of heavy bombers, the Rockwell B-1 Lancer. The kit is an elderly Monogram example which was released early in the aircraft’s development. This means fairly good detail on items like landing gear, but awful raised lines on the surface. I have no interest in rescribing, so my general approach with this sort of kit is to simply sand off the raised lines. Given my profoundly average skill level, I’m much better off with no panel lines (which arguably are more a modelling convention than a reproduction of reality) than badly scribed panel lines, which will be visible from across the room. I can’t honestly say that the fit was great, especially around the cockpit piece, but it is not a terribly complicated kit until you come to the landing gear. Lots of pieces in a very unusual arrangement, multiple tires to coax into contact with the ground, and relatively few glue locations to anchor them down.

Modern aircraft are not really my thing, though there were a lot of them in the 2011 programme for some reason. I still intend to take a stab at the somewhat ratty Testors B-2 in the foreseeable future, if only to make some more progress through the current USAF inventory. Then when the mood strikes, I’ll have to tackle the AMT B-52, with those uplifted wings. Someone makes a revised wingbox for the kit to at least point the wings somewhat downward, though I’m not sure that is really the answer. The truth is that the wings should bow downward toward the wingtips due to the weight of onboard fuel and engines. Perhaps a brass spar bent to the correct angle, and the plastic glued around it and solidly taped until dry?

In any case, the model was completed with kit decals. I found to my surprise that I actually do not have any B-1 decals, though I know that there have been several sets produced over the years. At least the Monogram kit provides a couple of options with nose art. The one I chose was “Sweet Sixteen” of the 7th Bomber Wing, 28th Bomber Squadron, based at Dyess AFB near Abilene, Texas. Colors were Gunship Grey with a black nose, Xtracolour as usual.

When it came time for its photos, it became obvious that my photo backdrop is too small! I was obviously building mostly fighters in the recent past. I'll have to get some better background or start shooting outdoors.

This is completed model #376, finished in February of 2012.

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