MAC 1/72 JB-2/Loon

KIT #

72045

PRICE:

$14.98 SRP

DECALS:

Two aircraft

REVIEWER:

Scott Van Aken

NOTES:

Short run

BACKGROUND

For a brief history and more information on this kit, please visit the preview.

 

CONSTRUCTION

When you look into the box, you'll see that not much is in there. Just one sprue of plastic and a small etched fret. The nose is separate so that other variants can be done using the same rear fuselage. The parts not used on this kit are the V-1 handling dolly as the Loon has an interesting launch mechanism that is in the kit.

You all know me for a subassembly kind of a guy so that is where I started. I glued the forward and aft sections of the fuselage. These fit well and the panel lines actually met at the right places. I also glued the small JATO bottles together. Most of these flat faced parts (like the rudder as well) have prominent ejector pin tables that must be removed before gluing or the fit will suck big time.  I also glued the main frame of the launch truck. They don't look exactly like what is in the picture, as they are much more solid with no real open areas except for the spots where the central bar and the JATO bottles fit. These bits had some sink marks on the end so they were filled. I also sanded and filled the spots where the central bar can be seen in the end plates.

Next the front and rear fuselage were glued together. There is a prominent ring that is at this spot. Not sure if it really is supposed to be there or not; or at least it may not be so prominent. I'll check some sources. Meanwhile, the wings and tail planes were glued on. These need a bit of cleanup, especially on the leading edge as there is a touch of mold mis-match. The small guide pins fit well into the fuselage slots. I used a rather rapid drying glue to make sure that all was properly aligned before it completely cured. A slow drying glue may cause some problems if a jig isn't used.

I also chose this time to glue on the engine support pylon. There are two given in the kit, but only one is the proper one for the JB-2. A small hole was drilled in the front of it and the small etched pitot tube was inserted. There are two etched access panels that were attached to the upper fuselage. I used Future as the medium of choice for attaching these items. Future (or even clear paint) works very well for small things like this that have no stress on them.

Returning to the launch assembly, the JATO bottles were cleaned up and the nozzles were slightly drilled out to give them some depth. Then these were fit into the framework. I had to enlarge the openings somewhat in order to get the bottles to fit. They are a bit fiddly as getting them properly aligned is imperative or it will just look wrong. There are little feet on the end braces which fit on the rails that were also glued in place at this time. When that was dry, the entire assembly was painted Olive Drab using Tamiya acrylics. Perhaps it needed to be a bit more faded, but really, the choice is yours on how this is done.

My attention was then turned to the engine. There are two etched pieces for this. I carefully attached the grille to the screen, again using Future to hold them in place. The instructions show this nicely etched piece to go to the back of the forward section of the nacelle. Well, if put there, it won't be seen. Instead I put it to the front and placed the plastic part (which is not so well detailed) to the rear. I had a bit of trouble getting the engine nacelle halves to completely join as I fear the etched bit may be a bit too large. Nothing that couldn't be fixed by filler, however.

PAINT & DECALS

Now that I had things pretty well done, it was time for some paint. The instructions show the JB-2 to be white with black control surfaces and engine. I painted the black parts first and when dry, they were masked off. Then the rest of the airframe was painted white. I could have used yellow as a number of these missiles were painted in that color, but I wanted to build the kit right from the box. 

When that was finished, the JB-2 was given a coat of clear gloss in preparation for the decals. The decals for the kit are well done and reasonably thin. I had no trouble putting them on and they reacted well to Solvaset. I hesitated to put any matte clear over the finished airframe as I do believe that most of them were not matte. Instead, I sprayed a semi-gloss over all but the engine as the gloss looked a bit too toy-like.

FINAL BITS

The only final bits is the installation of the engine. The fit here is not perfect as it almost seems that the forward pylon is a teeny bit short. The aft attachment was not flat against the tail as shown in the instructions. Perhaps some trimming of the forward tail will help. I didn't use the etched nose prop as shown in the instructions as I did not see this item used in any of the pictures I found.  The last things I did were to paint the JATO nozzles a gunmetal color just to give the launch platform a bit of color difference and to paint the inside of the nozzles black. The JB-2 was just placed atop the framework and the kit was done.

CONCLUSIONS

Thanks to the few parts and relatively simple construction, this is a kit that I can recommend to anyone who is to the using glue stage. You can build it just fine without the etched metal bits should you choose to do so. The JB-2/Loon was used in a variety of different colors so you could easily do an interesting selection of them. The more adventurous may want to do an MB-17G with a pair of these slung under the wings!

September 2002

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