Testors 1/72 B-2 Spirit
KIT #: `
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Martin Pohl
NOTES: Eduard photo etch, Begemot decals


The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit (also known as the Stealth Bomber) is an American heavy bomber with low observable stealth technology designed to penetrate dense anti-aircraft defenses and deploy both conventional and nuclear weapons. The bomber has a crew of two and can drop up to eighty 500 lb (230 kg)-class JDAM GPS-guided bombs, or sixteen 2,400 lb (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs. The B-2 is the only aircraft that can carry large air to surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.

Development originally started under the "Advanced Technology Bomber" (ATB) project during the Carter administration, and its performance was one of the reasons for his cancellation of the B-1 Lancer. ATB continued during the Reagan administration, but worries about delays in its introduction led to the reinstatement of the B-1 program as well. Program costs rose throughout development. Designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman with assistance from Boeing, the cost of each aircraft averaged US$737 million (in 1997 dollars). Total procurement costs averaged $929 million per aircraft, which includes spare parts, equipment, retrofitting, and software support. The total program cost, which includes development, engineering and testing, averaged $2.1 billion per aircraft in 1997.

Because of its considerable capital and operational costs, the project was controversial in the U.S. Congress and among the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The winding-down of the Cold War in the later portion of the 1980s dramatically reduced the need for the aircraft, which was designed with the intention of penetrating Soviet airspace and attacking high-value targets. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Congress slashed initial plans to purchase 132 bombers to 21. In 2008 one bomber crashed just after takeoff and was destroyed as the crew ejected safely. A total of 20 B-2s remain in service with the United States Air Force.

Though originally designed primarily as a nuclear bomber, the B-2 was first used in combat to drop conventional bombs on Serbia during the Kosovo War in 1999, and saw continued use during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. B-2s were also used during the 2011 Libyan civil war.

This is what Wikipedia is telling about and other sources too. For me a Spirit is much more, it proves the possibilities of flying wings at which Mr. Northrop, the Hortens and others were aiming at.


This kit comes in a pretty big box and when you open it you don't see that much. There are less than 50 parts inside. 3 big pieces for the upper side and the 3 for the under side and the rest are for the landing gear, the bomb bay and some for the cockpit. So from the amount of parts it's an easy kit. But it will be a big one when finished, the width over all is almost 29 inch or 73cm.

The parts are mold in gray of which the internet tells it is the correct gray to paint this bird. Well then just glue it together and give it a flat over spray – only this wont work, see next section.

The plastic is a bit soft, but this is very good in the end, because you can bend it better as the big parts are deformed, at least mine were and from what I read on the web this is common to almost every example.

There are some raised panel lines molded to the parts, but those don't matter at all if you ask me cause a Spirit dose not have any panel lines.

I also was lucky to get the Eduard photo etched set for the Spirit, which offers some nice additions for the auxiliary intake doors, the bomb bay and the gear and its bays.


To say it up front I did get carried away during this build which lasted for over a year.

When looking at the parts I decided to start this by gluing the parts for the upper and the under half to have a chance to get them straight. I ended by gluing sprue parts and a lot other strengthening pieces to both half. I even heated them to have them somehow straight. It worked OK in the end.

When you look at this two half of the hull you have then you'll realize that you have to go and buy more filler. On the complete bird I used more than 500 gram of different fillers, mostly car filler and I did sand hours to have it all smooth in the end.

Next step on the construction were the engines and the engine bays. Well the kit does not offer engines and the engine bays are much to narrow two house two General Electric F118-GE-110 engines on each side. So I did cut away almost all the molded plastic and rebuild that from plastic cards. For the engines you could buy some after market F-15 engines as those are quite the same but this I realized at the end soon after I had scratched four engines myself.

For the engine bay covers I opened the auxiliary intakes and used the PE doors here.

And on to the exhaust areas and the exhausts. Again the kit does not offer anything here so I scratched some exhausts to have something in there instead of having only some black holes there.

After that the cockpit followed. The pit given by the kit is way to short in depth it ends right were the wind screen is ending. So I used the front of the kit part here and scratched something behind it to have some depth here. During this operation I decided to open the gangway to have an entrance and an entrance ladder. This is all made form plastic karts and some soldering wire.

Some words on the windscreen; this piece is a bit too short but the real strange thing with it are its side struts. Those struts are molded the wrong way. They should run from below front to up rear and are molded the other direction. Well one could most probably live with that but as I already did such much destruction to the kit parts I decided to sand those struts off and re-polish the part. Gluing the windscreen into its place is a bit fiddly cause it is a little too short and not high enough. A lot of filler went here to close all gaps and to get it all lined up.

As I glued the windscreen and the pit in place when the hull half’s were separated, well there is no other option, I had to remove the windscreen twice because of sanding dust crawling inside.

Inside the pit I used the parts coming with the Eduard set and two after market ACESII seats. The pit I painted mid gray and white and the some highlights for the instruments. The seats were painted black and olive.

Then the gear work began. The kit offers some nice representations of the gear itself but the gear bays are just some gear graves so to speak without any details given or molded. The Eduard PE set offers some parts especially for the front gear and all the rest are just bit's and pieces laying around or cut from plastic card. The only thing to mention perhaps, I did find some electronic pieces very useful for detailing the gear bays. The legs themselves were detailed with some soldering wire in 0.2, 0.3 and 0.5 diameters.

The last thing on the construction side was the bomb bay. The kit offers something which should represent the bomb rotary and the two doors to have one bomb bay open. The bay is molded in a rectangular shape where it should have a rounded sidewall on the outside this I did again with some plastic card. For detailing the bomb bay I used some of the kit parts here and again lead wire and different other stuff and for the doors I used the PE parts given in the PE set.

To have the end result looking a little more dynamic I decided to cut all flaps and the tail and repositioned them. I did not do something special here I just cut the flaps and the tail of before I glued upper and lower half together. Before gluing the flaps on I just sanded them a bit to have some different angels.

To end the story about the construction section, I did build up some inlets for the main gear bays and the bomb bay. This made it easy to paint the complete plane and the bays and then just stick them inside. Only the front bay was painted directly.


I also did buy the Begemot decals sheet for the Spirit as the kit decals are only for an early B-2 and I wanted to do the Edwards B-2 in a block 30 layout.

As stated above after some massive filling and sanding and filling and sanding and …. The plane did get 3 coats of Vallejo gray base. Then I first painted the underside completely and then the top. For planes of this shape and size this is an easy approach cause you don't have to mask between top and lower half.

So on with the lower half; on top of the base paint I sprayed a lighter self mixed gray. I mixed the paints according to some inflight refuel shots. Then some areas were masked and a darker gray went on, this gray again I mixed myself. After that has dried out some areas were masked and sprayed with some darker and lighter shades of gray. Then this all did get a mid gray filter, which was just tinted Future. On went the decals and a sealing Future coat. To end the lower half some washing with wood color  (dark gray) and some light mists of tinted thinner were sprayed – just “wash” a brush of oil colors in thinner. Those mists were some blue, some black and some almost white tinted thinner to get an idea of more deepness and a used look. At the end two coats of Vallejo flat clear followed and the exhausts areas were masked off and sprayed with Model Master exhaust and aluminum and some light coats of again tinted thinner in red and blue.

The procedure for the upper half was quite the same: a complete coat of my self mixed lighter gray; masking; a complete coat of my self mixed darker gray. Then I changed the process a bit because I needed the decals first. After the decals are layed out you have a better orientation where to mask the darker areas. So a Future coat followed and then the decals. The main walkway decals are pretty big and they need to be exact on both sides. The inner walkways which are 3 decals on each side I put on at once. I had enough water layed out on the plane and then moved all decals on both side around until I thought it looks OK. After all decals were placed another coat of Future followed. Then I masked the areas which have to be painted in a darker gray and sprayed that. Then the same procedure followed like on the underside, a tinted Future filter, some washings, some tinted thinner mists and two coats of Vallejo flat.

The exhaust area was masked off and sprayed in this order: Vallejo glossy black full coverage; ALCLAD white aluminum full coverage; Model Master exhaust not in full coverage just misted; then for the lighter parts ALCLAD stainless steel; ALCLAD burned metal; ALCLAD chrome; red tinted thinner; blue tinted thinner and last some shadows with very thinned black oil pain

The last thing to paint was the refuel intake which did get a ALCLAD white aluminum full coverage and then some semi opaque coats of yellow and orange airbrush colors. A light wash ended this then.

Ah, one last word on the finish; those “Remove before Flight” flags are from the P.P.Aeroparts model accessories “RBF” set. Those are printed on paper and with some thin wire are easy to use.


When I started this I searched the WEB for information and found two examples of this model built to a standard which just blows my mind. These two examples, one is made by John Voijtech and the other is made by John Morrey, encouraged me to do a bit more. Well judged by myself I did not come close to those two but it was fun to do. What I want to say here is that, even a model which is told not to be worth a try, it always is and if I can get out of that pieces of plastic something to look like a B-2 Spirit, then everybody can.

It took me more than a year to complete this but I did some other beside it and this way it was real fun and I have learned a lot. The only thing you better should think up front – which I haven't – is where to put this. I still have no clue.


Mainly the internet and those books:

B-2 Spirit in Action (Squadron)

Northrop B-2 Stealth Bomber (Aerofax Extra 4)

Martin Pohl

April 2012

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