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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Monogram Consol B-36 Peacemaker

At last, I can finally say that I have rescued a model from the Shelf of Doom. And it was taking up a lot of space on that shelf.

I imagine most of us 1:72nd types have owned the Monogram 1:72 B-36 at some point in our lives, though many may have succumbed to the impossible size of it and sold it down the river. I actually have a couple of copies in the stash, and decided (long around 1998 or so) to get one built. Well, you can see how well that went, given that it is just crossing the finish line 18 years later. It has spent most of that time in an assembled but unpainted state. Maybe it was the thought of all that NMF and the troubles I had been having with Alclad paints.

But then about 4 years ago I decided on something a little unusual. Why not finish the B-36 by turning it into the world's largest whif? The thought of building something that most wouldn't build because of its size into something that most wouldn't do because it is a non-real-world fantasy was perversely appealing.

I gave what markings to use some long thought and rejecting the idea of both a Russian version and a Fed Ex version (I'm going to use that idea elsewhere, someday), I finally settled on what had been an early concept, a WW2 RAF Bomber Command type. Without the jet pods, it almost is one in any case. Conceived during the war, it became the largest piston-engined aircraft ever, and for the longest time the largest plastic model kit ever. Something else has probably eclipsed it by now in some larger scale but it might still be the plastic 1:72 king (the A Model Spruce Goose and Modelsvit An-124 are mostly fibreglass and the Anigrand 747 and C-5 are resin).

Painting came in stages, but I had all the upper surfaces done when I ran into the Great Mojo Drought of 2014-2015. It languished for what seemed like ages, but when I was trying to restart the modelling mojo after this winter's surgeries, I thought that might be just the ticket.

I did search around on the net, and while there are other whif B-36s out there, most use the 1:144 scale kit, not 1:72. But I'm not the only loon; I found a fellow on Britmodeller who had done a B-36 cropduster for a fantasy group build. Now that is thinking outside the box. I don't know what the point of spraying pesticide would be - just the sound of that thing flying low over the field would scare the bejeezus out of any bug within a five mile radius.

Nothing out of the ordinary done to the kit other than deleting the jet engines, though I did use decals from the sheet that was produced for our 1992 IPMS-Nationals here in Seattle. Now that is some deep stash diving. "Cream of the Crop" was actually a B-29 from the 19th BG in Korea.

I do have one horror story, and it came at the very end of the process (not uncommon, alas). I used Cutting Edge masks on the canopies. They stick very well and don't lift like the old grey vinyl Eduard masks have a tendency to do. Well, I've learned just how well they do stick. I couldn't get them off the model. I admit that they have been on there for far longer than recommended (like maybe 8 or 9 years) but they were terribly difficult to raise. I first tried a toothpick, my usual tool for removing canopy masking, but they just broke. Then I used an Xacto knife point to try and raise a corner so each pane could be peeled off. And it broke the Xacto point! Almost every pane has a scratch on it and there was still a lot of adhesive left behind. That was why I had to make a special store run for WD-40, which, though a silicon degreaser, does an outstanding job of cleaning up residue and making canopies shiny. There still are numerous scratches, but I am not up for polishing individual panels on something like a B-36! That was a hellacious, interminable job with no good outcome. So I finally shrugged, then went out and took some photos on the famous wood panelled airstrip here in the capitol city of 72 Land.

This is completed aircraft #446 (#10 for the year), finished in February of 2016.


  1. Just park a RAF Mustang VII (P-82 Twin Mustang) next to it...

  2. Tim: Well, I do have a USAF Corsair whif done a couple years back that can act as a long range bomber escort.