Valom 1/72 RB-45C Tornado

  • 53 posts
  • Last reply 6 months, 2 weeks ago
  • 1/72, RB-45C, Tornado, Valom
Viewing 1 - 15 of 53 posts
  • George R Blair Jr said 7 months, 1 week ago:

    Hello, everyone. I decided I wanted to jump into this group with something a little unusual. I just finished a 1/48 Special Hobby Martin Maryland, so while I still had my hammer, nails, and heavy duty sandpaper on my workbench I thought I would tackle the 1/72 Tornado.

    The B-45 Tornado was conceived in 1944 to meet a USAAF requirement for a medium bomber that would be a rival to German aircraft such as the AR234. North American Aviation won the competition for the plane and began building in 1944. The project slowed due to end-of-war cutbacks, but was revived when the Cold War ramped up at the end of WW2. The first prototype flew in 1947, but the delay meant that the B-45 was competing directly with the B-47, which was deemed a much more capable aircraft. By 1950, the original order was cut down to about 100 airframes. A reconnaissance version was also built, the RB-45C Tornado, which was also acquired by Great Britain. The British used the Tornado to fly surveillance mission over the USSR.

    Although overshadowed by later aircraft, such as the B-47 and the B-58 Hustler, the Tornado had several “firsts”:
    -First USAF four-engine jet bomber
    -First jet bomber capable of aerial refueling
    -First jet bomber to be shot down by a jet fighter (an RB-45C by a Mig-15 in Korea)

    The B-45 Tornado would have probably been lost in obscurity if it had not been for the Korean Conflict. The USAF sent the B-45 to Korea when the B-29s began to be relatively easy pickings for the Mig-15. The B-45s flew a number of bombing missions during the war. Perhaps the greatest contribution of the Tornado was as the RB-45C reconnaissance aircraft, flying top secret missions over North Korea for most of the conflict. The model that I plan to build is an RB-45C Tornado that was used on these surveillance flights. It was painted all-black, had red markings, and did not carry national insignia. How cool is that?

    I have only built one Valom kit before, and I didn’t have a lot of luck with it. At the time, I didn’t really have a strategy to deal with the limited run nature of the kit, such as wings and tail surfaces that attach with a butt joint. My strategy back then was a lot of glue and prayer, so we can see if I can do better this time.

    In 1/72, this is still a big kit. It has three large trees of parts, which include all of the parts needed to build either a B-45 or an RB-45. All of the glass needed to build both planes is included, as well. There is a good selection of photoetch in the box, which included the instrument panels, seat belts, and other fiddly parts. There is some detailed resin included, which includes the front and rear engine faces. The decals for a couple of different planes are included, but I purchased a set of Caracal Decals that are supposed to improve on some of the deficiencies of the kit decals. At the time I bought this kit years ago, I had the foresight to also acquire a set of canopy masks for the Tornado, which will be helpful with the multi-paned canopy.

    Well, time to dive into the build. I started by washing all of the parts to remove any remaining mold release. The plastic in this kit seems very hard, which is completely opposite of the soft plastic in the Special Hobby kit. The parts are drying from their bath, so time to take a break. I will have more for you when I get going on the cockpit. Cheers

  • Allan J Withers said 7 months, 1 week ago:

    Good choice George, it is a cool subject until you put that black in the sun and it warms up !!

  • George R Blair Jr said 7 months, 1 week ago:

    Thanks, Allan (@kalamazoo). You are right about the color, hopefully they only flew it in the wintertime. After they had one shot down by a Mig 15, they started flying at night, which probably helped the temp. When I first started flying C-141s they were white over gray, which helped with the temp. When they put the dark camo on the 141, they really got hot on the ground.

  • Louis Gardner said 7 months, 1 week ago:

    Hello George, @gblair
    My goodness you picked a good one for our ever growing Korean War group. I read your introduction, and right away I have learned a bunch of things…………….. Thank you !!!! Didn’t they keep using these in Vietnam ???

    I remember seeing one that was operated by NASA many years ago, back in the early 1980’s. It was painted overall white, with the “NASA blue” trim and logo on the fin. It was sitting next to the El Paso Airport, not far from Biggs Field.

    This is going to be a big plane once you finish it. If this one turns out half as nice as your Maryland did, you will have a winner !!!

    Thanks for starting the build journal, and count me in as watching it for updates. Take care and stay safe.

  • Chuck A. Villanueva said 7 months, 1 week ago:

    What a project George, not only a rare aircraft in the B-45, but a variant even more so. And from a kit from Valom to boot. You are in the trifecta with this one George. Your approach to this is with great enthusiasm. I know of Valom, but don’t recall anyone building any of them recently. So this will be an interesting WIP too follow. I’m in.

  • Erik Gjørup said 7 months, 1 week ago:

    George (@gblair), you sure know how to pick them!

    I’m strapped in so you just go ahead!

  • Stellan Schroeder Englund said 7 months, 1 week ago:

    Hmm, you sure you don´t think of a Martin RB-57 Canberra??? Used as bomber, recce, NASA etc.

  • Louis Gardner said 7 months, 1 week ago:

    You are correct !!! My bad…………….. It was the RB-57 I was thinking about.

  • George R Blair Jr said 7 months ago:

    Thanks, Louis (@lgardner). According to the history I read they were used by SAC until about 1959, when they were withdrawn from active service. The plane that replaced them was the B-58 Hustler, if that tells you anything. I would be willing to bet that a few hung on as test beds for projects. I grew up in El Paso, and I know exactly the part of the airport you are talking about. There was an area for military transient aircraft on one edge of El Paso International, and I remember a lot of NASA planes passing through.

  • George R Blair Jr said 7 months ago:

    Thanks, Chuck (@uscusn), Erik (@airbum), and Stellan (@stellan). I have several Valom kits, mainly planes that other manufacturers haven’t done, but this is the first Valom kit I have started. It seems very similar to other limited run kits like Special Hobby, but the plastic is much harder than I found in the Maryland. I had planned to do something easier after the Maryland, but I think these kits are fine as long as you go into the build with the right frame of mind. They aren’t like Hasegawa, Eduard, or Tamiya, but I haven’t found anything in these kits that the average modeller can’t overcome (so far).

  • Robert Royes said 7 months ago:

    A nice choice to build. I’ve often wondered how the Valom kits where. I did the Sword F9F-8T and the plastic was soft, it went together okay, a lot of filler though. I made two flights on C-141’s, once to catch a ship in the Med. another as a med a vac from another ship in the Med. As I remember the crews were great. @gblair.

  • Tom Cleaver said 7 months ago:

    Allow me to tell you from experience that “you have your work cut out for you” George. I have the other kit, and it sits semi-assembled in its box on the Shelf of Doom, a veritable putty monster. Perhaps you’ll inspire me, but overall this is a pretty disappointing kit.

    Couple corrections on the history: The B-45 in any version never flew a live bombing mission anywhere. However, some nuke-capable B-45s were positioned in Japan in March/April 1953 to make good on Eisenhower’s private threat to the Chinese of a nuking if they didn’t get back to the peace negotiations in Panmunjom. The fact that four nuke-capable bombers then appeared in Japan, reported by Chinese intelligence, appeared to have the desired effect. Only the RB-45C ever saw active combat operations, flying recon in MiG Alley, where, as you pointed out, one was shot down (by Soviet flown MiG-15s) in late November 1950 – when they returned to MiG Alley in the spring of 1951, it was with F-86 escorts. As to the RAF, those were actually USAF RB-45Cs, that were “sheep-dipped” as RAF airplanes with all markings, serial numbers, etc., removed and RAF national insignia (though no serials) applied. They flew some ten missions with RAF crews, penetrating the USSR as far as Kyiv, in 1953-54. The missions stopped after two RB-45Cs barely made it back across the line, pursued by some of the first MiG-17s on operational service. The mission was later fulfilled by the U-2.

    Hopefully you’ll have more persistence than I had, since this is likely the only B-45 kit that’s ever going to show up. If you’ve done a Valom kit before, you know what to expect. Test fit four times before gluing once.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 7 months ago:

    Hi George @gblair!
    What a choice! This is a wonderful subject, very rarely seen built!
    After the Maryland, this will be a nice following along. I can expect it to be a difficult kit, but your skills will definitely handle it.
    I can just imagine the outcome: what a great posture it will be!
    Please sign me in for the ride.

  • George R Blair Jr said 7 months ago:

    Thanks for the update, Tom (@tcinla). Aside from paint schemes, my research has been limited to a Wikipedia article on the plane. I have had this kit for a while, but left it on the shelf because of the perceived difficulties in building this model. Having just finished the Special Hobby Martin Maryland, I thought I might be mentally ready to tackle the RB-45. No problems, so far, other than instructions that are fairly vague in some places.

  • George R Blair Jr said 7 months ago:

    Thanks, Robert (@roofrat) and Spiros (@fiveten).

    Robert: I think Sword and Valom are similar in that they are limited run kits, so you can expect things like no locating tabs, butt-joint wings, and vague instructions. The good news is that they often include photoetch and resin to make up for the soft detail on their molds. Fit is often an issue, but so far nothing a normal modeler can’t fix. I build a lot of Revell and Monogram, so this is fairly new territory for me.

    Spiros: After finishing the Maryland, I thought I might be in a good place mentally to tackle this Valom kit. We will see. Nothing to complain about so far, except some vague or misleading instructions.

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