Revell AG 1/144 B-2 Stealth Bomber

KIT #: 04070
PRICE: $18.95 MSRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: John Anthony
NOTES: Good B-2 kit, and a good kit for a beginner.

HISTORY

A decade of research by the US Air Force culminated with the development of the prototype B-2 ďstealth bomber,Ē an aircraft whose design incorporates significant advances in the understanding of radar wave reflection and flying wing aerodynamics.

Some of the stealth technology of this aircraft includes: heat-absorbing materials that reduce the infrared signature of the exhaust; radar-absorbent materials covering the entire airframe; engine placement that buries the highly radar-reflective fan and turbine blades within the bomberís interior; and an airframe design that scatters radar waves away from their point of origin.

The B-2 was originally designed as a nuclear strike platform but is also equipped to carry a substantial amount of conventional weaponry. It has been used extensively in its conventional strike role during recent conflicts in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. There are twenty active-duty aircraft at present and none have been lost in combat, although one B-2 (the Spirit of Kansas) was destroyed during a takeoff accident on Guam in 2008. Thankfully, both pilots ejected safely.

THE KIT

Anyone whoís built the 1/144 Monogram SnapTite version of the B-2 will immediately recognize that this is the same kit with a few upgrades. The old SnapTite kit is an in-flight version with stickers for markings, whereas the Revell of Germany release includes an extra sprue of parts for the landing gear in addition to water-slide decals.

            All the parts are very crisply molded in sturdy, dark metallic-gray plastic with sharp details and no flash. The gaps between the flaps and airframe are recessed, along with the detail around the hatches, but the panel lines are raised. The cockpit detail is minimal - with lounge-chairs for seats and a decal for the instrument panel - but I doubt any of that will be seen through the tinted windscreen. One serious defect to the kit is a carry-over from the SnapTite version - part of the bomb bay is open but the detail is perfunctory to say the least. An experienced modeler would probably want to remove the exposed part of the bay altogether and scratch-build a new one.

            A close inspection of the decals shows that they are well-printed overall but there is some misalignment in the color overlays. Thatís only apparent on the smallest markings however Ė most of the other decals like lines, roundels, and identifiers are monochromatic and clearly-printed. The sheet only includes markings for one scheme, that of the prototype aircraft.

            The directions are printed in a short booklet and consist of fifteen simple steps along with a painting/decaling guide.

            There really isnít much to this kit Ė it looks like a quick, easy build. All the photographs Iíve seen of the B-2 however suggest that the surface of the aircraft is very smooth. That indicates to me that the gaps between the intakes and fuselage would need to be filled and that the raised panel lines would need to be sanded out.

            I printed out a schematic of the bomber and found that the modelís airframe is a faithful representation of the original, but I didnít measure anything else. However, it certainly looks like a Stealth Bomber in every respect and the model definitely wonít be mistaken for anything else.

I bought a couple of these kits because my 11-year-old son wanted to build one and I thought it would be a fun learning project to do a side-by-side build. It appears to be a great model for a young beginner, not only because itís a ďcoolĒ plane, but because it really doesnít demand any great modeling skill or large time investment. (Thatís relative of course. Iím looking at my kit and considering combining it with a Stratotanker for an in-flight refueling display, especially since Minicraft is soon releasing a new-tool KC-135E in 1/144, replete with refueling boom.)

            My kit was ordered through an LHS for about $19 but you can get them cheaper online. (I just like having a hobby store in the neighborhood and I try to support it as often as I can.) Happy modeling!

REFERENCES

Wikipedia

Aerospaceweb.org (aircraft schematics)

Various online B-2 images

John Anthony

November 2010

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