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.
1. B-45s. Thanks, Wikipedia.
1. RB-45C. Thanks, Wikipedia.
1. RB-45C. Thanks, Wikipedia.
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.
1. Fresh out of the bath.
1. Glass for both the B-45 and the RB-45.
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