Anigrand 1/72 Consolidated B-32 Dominator

KIT #: AA-2083
PRICE: $136.00 MSRP from www.nostalgicplastic.com Free US shipping
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Andy Abshier
NOTES: Resin short run kit.

HISTORY & THE KIT

Refer to my preview.

CONSTRUCTION

I received this kit to finish on a strict deadline just as I had to go on the road for two weeks of work; fortunately I was driving to my jobs, so I could take the kit with me.  The first thing to do was to prepare all of the parts, first by removing pour stubs, then by sanding.  Although the surfaces of the B-32 kit as given were generally good, a few parts, notably the right fuselage half, the nacelle halves, and the stabilizers had a pebbled appearance that needed to be sanded out.  I did a lot of sanding on this model using 400 grit paper and sanding sticks over several nights in front of the TV and was able to remove nearly all of the surface imperfections.

 Once I was home, construction began in earnest.   The partially drilled-out mounting holes for the stabilizers and wings were drilled out in full.  I replaced the resin wing stubs with new ones made from 5/32" brass tubing; since the model was going to be part of a traveling display, I thought it important to make the wings removeable.  The metal spars were first cemented in to the lower wing halves using epoxy.  Using A+B epoxy putty, I trapped the spars between the lower wing half and the upper wing half; the epoxy putty also steadied the two halves, so that gluing the seams was much easier. 

 The heavy tail surfaces presented a problem for weight and balance.  I used some high school physics to calculate the minimum nose weight needed to keep the model on its nose.  Because of the short moment arm of the nose weight chamber Anigrand provided, I made a new nose weight chamber by installing bulkheads just behind the pilots' seats on the flight deck.  Nose weight was installed on both sides and once dry, the flying surfaces were fitted to the taped-together fuselage to confirm adequate nose weight. 

The flight deck area was painted Interior green with the instrument panel and control yokes done in black.  Seats were Interior Green with a medium brown used to simulate the leather cushions.  The nose area was painted black.  Since this was a commission build to show what could be done using only the parts in the box, I added no other details; modelers building this kit for themselves might add throttle quadrants, seat belts, and at least an instrument panel decal for best appearance.

 As mentioned in my preview, the left fuselage half was 2mm shorter than the right half.  The misalignment appeared to start behind the wing root.  Using Dymo tape, I carefully taped off the intended cut line, then heavily scribed the cut line into the resin.  I finished the cut using an X-acto razor saw.  Holding the cut surface to a circle template, I determined that the diameter of the fuselage was 1 1/2 inches; this would be helpful later on.  The left rear fuselage half was glued to the right rear fuselage first; panel line alignment was excellent on the top, but way off on the bottom; I didn't fill and rescribe due to time constraints.  The left front fuselage half was then glued in place.  The resin has enough "springiness" to allow for exact apposition of the edges, except near the nose gear bay; I glued that part last on my model, and ended up with a huge contour fault to fix!  Learn from this reviewer's mistake: start gluing your halves behind the nose gear bay, then you can line up the edges easily after that.  The gap between the forward and aft fuselage halves on the left was filled easily using sheet plastic, cut in a half-circle of 1 1/2 inches. 

 Attention then turned to the engines and nacelles.  The Anigrand engine fronts are inaccurate for the B-32 (or any other aircraft, for that matter) but, following terms of the commission build, I used them.  Two of the engine fronts disintegrated when I tried to drill out the holes for the propeller shafts, and a modeler friend rescued me by sending me two Academy C-97 engine fronts for replacements, which looked very much like Anigrand's items.  After painting the engine fronts (Floquil Old Silver cylinders with a heavy black wash, Navy Agressor Gray crancase covers, and Grimy Black between the cylinders) these were installed in the nacelle halves.  The nacelle halves were then cemented together; it took some heavy-duty clamping to get the inboard nacelle halves into full apposition.

The inboard nacelles had some large gaps between the nacelles and the wings.  To improve the fit, I first applied Micro Mask to the lower wings, covering the area where the nacelles fit with good margins.  After the Micro Mask dried, I used a large amount of toolmaker's epoxy on the nacelles, and fitted the nacelles to the wings.  After allowing the nacelles to dry overnight, the nacelles were popped off the wings; the Micro mask enabled this to take place.  I then sanded the epoxy fill flush with the outer surfaces of the nacelles.  This enabled me to fit the nacelles definitively without needing to fill a huge gap.

 The outboard nacelles didn't have as huge of a gap, but the raised bases for them on the lower wings were too wide.  Using the nacelles themselves as guides, I scribed a line on the bases and carefully carved away the excess.  A bit of filling was required to  clean this up, but it worked well.  I then used the "smash" method detailed above to tighten up the fit. 

 With the nacelles in place, I tack-glued the main landing gear struts to the nacelles and fitted the wings to the fuselage to check dihedral; the struts were there to be a visual aid to ensure that they would be perpendicular to the ground when the dihedral was right.   I had to make some adjustments to the tubing using pliers to get the dihedral right, and that left me with gaps on the wing to fuselage joint.  Using the "smash" method, I added putty to the base of the wings to tighten up the fit. 

 The horizontal stabilizers fit well, but note that the mounting holes on the left are different from the right; when test fitting, if the stabilizer doesn't fit well, it's probably on the wrong side!  For the vertical tail, I used the "smash" method to tighten up the fit, but I left the vertical tail removeable for ease of transport.

 Clear parts received attention next.  Holes for the guns had to be drilled out on the two dorsal turrets, and the provided holes needed to be opened up on all other turrets.  None of the provided machine guns, as cast, matched the width of the holes for the turrets, so all needed adjusting.  The provided guns were used, but, again, a modeler building this kit for themselves will want to replace them as the kit items look rather clunky and oversimplified.   As for the clear parts, they responded well to sanding and polishing on the outside, and I had some success using Tamiya polishing compounds to smooth out the interiors of the clear parts. 

 Note also that the resin clear parts are VERY sensitive to CA glue fumes.  I found this out the hard way on the windshield, which fogged up on me badly even though I had coated the inside with Future.  At least the sparse interior wasn't so obvious then! 

 The landing gear was painted Floquil Old Silver for the struts and wheel hubs, and Floquil Grimy Black for the tires.  The gear assembled easily, but the tires really looked too wide once they were installed.  True Details makes a set of resin B-29 wheels that are a more scale width, and I would reccommend using those for your own model. 

 Although Anigrand cast the propeller hubs separately from the propeller blades, the parts came together easily; the propellers were the easiest thing about this build!

 With all major structures together, it was time to paint. 

COLORS & MARKINGS

 PAINTING

 After masking off all clear parts, the entire model was painted with Mr. Surfacer 1000 from the spray can.  The first coat of primer revealed many, many, areas to fix--nothing like Mr. Surfacer to teach a modeler humility!  I had another road trip, so I took the model with me and did all the fixes on the road.  Once home again, I repainted with Mr. Surfacer 1000 using an airbrush, and noted that the airbrushed version of Mr. Surfacer dried more glossy than the spray can version!  So I ended up doing a lot of the outer surfaces with the airbrush.

 I then masked off the detail areas for painting: de-icer boots, cabin windows, antiglare panel, and dorsal turret orbits.  The de-icers and dorsal orbits were painted with Floquil Grimy Black, cabin windows with Floquil Engine Black, and the antiglare panel was painted with Testers Olive Drab (Faded).  Once these areas were dry, I masked them off to start on the metallic finish.

 I used Alclad Aluminum as the general shade for the entire model, with Alclad Duralumin, Alclad Dark Aluminum, and Testers Non-Buffing Aluminum used for dissimilar paneling.  The Alclad generally adhered very well to the Mr. Surface, though I did get a few chips when pulling frisket paper for the dissimilar panels.  Once the metalizing was done to my satisfaction, it was time for decals.

 DECALS

 Not much to tell here!  Only six decals were provided: four insignia and two serial numbers.  The Anigrand-provided decals tended to irretrievably wrinkle when MicroSol was applied, so I avoided using Micro Sol for the fuselage insignia and serials.  The decals performed fairly well with Micro Set, used according to instructions; still, I'd consider replacing the insignia with items from the spares box for your own model.

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

The landing gear was epoxied in place, and the gear doors were added; note that the forward door on the nose gear bay slides forward, much like the nose gear door on a C-130.  I then set the model down on the gear, and to my horror discovered that I hadn't put in enough nose weight!  There wasn't anything I could do about it at this late stage.  Fortunately, Anigrand has the builder cement the ventral turret in the deployed position, rather than in the retracted position as it would be for ground operations--so the ventral turret on my model is also doubling as a tail stand!   All of the turrets were cemented in place, using white glue. 

CONCLUSIONS

 This was a big, challenging kit to build, and it took almost all of the spare time I had for the better part of 6 weeks to get it done.  I would definitely not recommend this kit to anyone who isn't experienced with all-resin kits, but with care and patience, it does build up into an impressive model.   Just be sure you overdo it on the nose weight! 

Andy Abshier

August 2009

 Review sample courtesy of www.nostlagicplastic.com.  You can see this model on their display table at the IPMS-USA Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, August 19-22.

 If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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