Monogram’s 1/48 B-58 Hustler
I won't go into detail on the genesis of the B-58; however, it was an aircraft that was ahead of it's time. As a kid growing up in the 50's and coming of age in the late '60's, it was not uncommon during those halcyon days to be suddenly startled by a sonic boom. Come to find out it was the B-58 making speed runs or just making runs. It was fast and could fly under the radar doing low level bomb runs at mach speeds.
Revell, Lindberg, Monogram and if I am not mistaken Aurora all had kits of the B-58, always in a fit the box scale of 1/1XX something. In 1985, in true Monogram fashion, Monogram released the model in 1/48 scale as part of their big bomber program. I had one when they first came out but it sat for awhile on the shelf of doom. It wasn't until I told a modeling friend that I had one and was about to undertake the build when he told me it was a dog of a kit. Based on that I got rid of it. That was about 28 and half years ago. Lately the urge hit me to have a go. I managed to pick up an original issue (sans decals) off Scale Model Graveyard, an on line auction site, for a decent price.
I started into the build almost immediately and it didn't take long to realize I was in for a real treat. Fit problems in the cockpit, the windshield is incorrect in that it has one too many windows on the starboard side that needs taking care of, not mention the horrible fit. The small windows for the Radar Operator and Bombardier station don't fit properly. The pilots cockpit is the only one that has the option of posing the canopy open or closed. I opted for closed and that was a bad fit. The fuselage is molded top and bottom and that's a bad fit as is the fuselage to wing assembly and the tail plane assembly In other words, bad fit overall. I like Monogram kits and enjoy the challenges that they offer, but this was sheer skullduggery. On the plus side! Yes there is one, the landing gear are nicely detailed, albeit a bit fiddly but fit well, the gear doors and wheel wells are nicely appointed and detailed as well.
I spent an inordinate amount of time on the fuselage, windshield and canopy filling and sanding. The wing to fuselage and tail plane to fuselage gaps again required much sanding and filling. Once I was satisfied with the way it was shaping up, I gave it a coat of gloss black and began the painting of the Natural Metal Finish. I used Alclad, Magnesium, Dark Aluminum, Duraluminum, Testor Anodonic Grey buff, (Got a nice shiny finish) and Tamiya Nato black for the wheels. It ate a lot of tape, but overall I am happy with the way it turned out. The engines actually fit quite well with very little sanding and filling. The decals are carcal and I chose the one for "Champion of Champions" featured in a documentary starring Jimmy Stewart. I somehow managed to get the title "Champion of Champions" a little slanted. It's not noticeable when viewing it, but it is still irritating. I left the engines off for ease of handling for decaling. I am not sure if I like the center fuel/bomb arrangement. I may change it depending on my motivation when I get the engines on. More pics to follow.
Okay, I am calling it finished. I got the engines on today, Star Wars Day. Again, the fit was atrocious. I didn't want to ruin what I had so I was careful with the putty and sanding. Not the greatest but it's better than a big gap. I don't think there will be another 1/48 B-58 in my collection. I am fairly happy with the way it turned out as opposed to it flying into a wall. Enjoy, and those who have commented: Thank you for your kind comments and observations.
Nice work Mark ! I have this same kit in the stash and eventually I would like to build it with a combination of various metal paints and foil finish. Speaking of childhood memories from that era, I remember when I was a kid, we had a F-101 Voodoo sitting off the side of one of the taxiways at the Daytona Beach International Airport. It was painted in the SEA camouflage scheme, and it just sat there for years... Then one day it was gone.
This sure is a slick looking jet. It looks like it is a fairly large model when completed. Well done my friend. I hit the "liked" button too.
Thanks Louis for looking in and your kind comments. It is a large model but not much bigger than a 1/48 B-24. With the delta wing it takes up much less space than a conventional winged aircraft. I like experimenting with NMF's and this is just another experiment to see how it all turns out. I have pretty much figured out what paints I need and what not to do. I need to stay away from Mr. Surfacer as it leaves a gritty finish. Next one will just be gloss black primer, no Mr. Surfacer. See how that goes. The Voodoo probably went to a museum somewhere or the scrap heap. Too bad.
If you take out your B-58, be prepared for a lot of sanding and filling especially the fuselage halves and the windshield/canopy. Lousy fit, but persevere. I could have spent more time but after so much sanding it's time to move on and call it good.
Thanks again for leaving a comment. Duly appreciated.
Just a thought if you're stuck on a decision on what to hang on it, the Hustler looks real nice (if long legged) with nothing hung on it! I may use magnets so I can swap my pods out (or remove it completely) when I build my second. I like your paint work on the elevons. (Jimmy Stewart's "Champion of Champions" is on YouTube as well.)
Thanks Josh for looking in and your comments. I am going with the kit bomb/fuel tank. It looks pretty neat slung underneath and once I get the engines mounted it will look less "Spidery". It was designed to go fast. I am glad I decided to finish it. Lots of effort but it's coming along.
I think we all have one in our stash...including me. You are moving along nicely, the landing gear are pretty impressive just by themselves. Nice paint work on the engine pods. Keep up the good work, it is going to be an impressive piece when you are done.
Great job of a lovely aircraft, Mark! I like your NMF. I' ve got one built - not as nice as yours - and I have the fuel/bomb installed. I think this ordnance is a very distinctive feature of the Hustler and adds to its looks, giving some extra muscle to this slender bird.
All the best!
Very impressive build.
Well done Mark and the NMF looks quite realistic especially on those engine pods. I say all the difficulties you experienced was worth the effort.
Hi Tom and thanks for checking out my model and your nice comment. It actually was taking off for the wall, but I managed to stop it before it hit! I had to put it away two times I got so frustrated with it. I can see why there so few in shows. Those that are in shows are amazing works knowing that this kit is definately not the shake and bake variety.
Ahhh Monogram, my favorite of all time. Usually ok fit if you take your time, sometimes even great in original issues anyway. Then there are some of their kits that just make you scratch your head how they screwed up so bad. The B-26, and P-61 are two I remember just fighting me all the way. Looks like you beat this one into submission though! Looking good!
Beautiful results! Looks great.
I have rarely seen one of these kits done straight OOB, usually there are some aftermarket (engines, etc). Of the OOB builds I have seen, I don't remember any of them looking this good. You have really achieved something here. A triumph of perseverance over ill-fitting plastic!
Thanks Tom for looking in and your comment, much appreciated. I looked at the aftermarket goodies for this kit and found that for my purposes, the kit provided landing gear and engines were more than adequate. If was building this for a contest, which I never do anyway, I might be tempted. Your comments are high praise indeed.
Real beauty. My Grandfather worked at Convair in the late 50s-1964. He loved this plane.
Hi Matt: Thanks for looking in and leaving a comment. Much appreciated. I bet your grandfather had some interesting stories and recollections to share. Considering the time, the technology, it was quite an achievement. I am sure our later super sonic and hyper sonic research was based on the technology and operation of the B-58. I would like to see the kit released in 1/48 scale using todays molding techniques. The model companies, i.e., Hobby Boss, HKM seem to be stuck in the 1/32nd WWII heavies, save for the HKM B-17 in 1/48. But I digress. Thanks again.