Model Airplane News
January, 1969

Model Airplane News Cover for January, 1969

Model Airplane News Cover for January, 1969
Boeing B-52 "Superfortress" in plastic
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Here is what the blurb about the cover has to say:

"... Monogram's Wade Newman displays their latest plastic model B-52 aircraft kit to a young admirer. This magnificent kit is as complete and detailed as yet offered to the modeling world. ..."

About the Model

This cover is little more than a commercial for Monogram. On the positive side, the dies used for the model were in use from 1969 until 2003, and have a record of service almost equal to the full size airplane. No doubt that the kit has been popular. Accuracy is another matter -- details such a rivets and seams are raised rather than indented, While a good "Kitbasher" can do wonders with the Monogram B-52, the average kid turns out a fairly ordinary clunker. The cover was accompanied by a full page ad from Monogram inside. This is fairly naked product placement.

Monogram B-52 Plastic Model Airplane Kit     Ad for the Monogram B-52 Plastic Model Airplane Kit

Monogram B-52 Plastic Model Airplane Kit
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About the Full Size Airplane

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress Bomber

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered, strategic bomber operated by the United States Air Force since 1955.

In November of 1945, Air Materiel Command (AMC) issued desired performance characteristics for a new strategic bomber "capable of carrying out the strategic mission without dependence upon advanced and intermediate bases controlled by other countries". The aircraft was to have a crew of five plus turret gunners, and a six-man relief crew. It had to cruise at 300 mph at 34,000 feet with a combat radius of 5,000 statute miles. The armament was to consist of an unspecified number of 20 mm cannon and 10,000 pounds of bombs. On 13 February 1946, the Air Force issued bid invitations for these specifications, with Boeing, Consolidated Aircraft, and Glenn L. Martin Company submitting proposals. Boieing was eventually selected. Beginning with the successful contract bid on 5 June 1946, the B-52 went through several design steps; from a straight wing aircraft powered by six turboprop engines to the final prototype YB-52, with eight turbojet engines. The aircraft made its first flight on 15 April 1952 with "Tex" Johnston as pilot.

YB52 Prototype    B-52 Squadron at the Ready

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
left: YB52 Prototype right: Cold War Squadron of B-52s at the ready
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Built to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era deterrence missions, the B-52 Stratofortress replaced the Convair B-36. Although a veteran of a number of wars, the Stratofortress has dropped only conventional munitions in actual combat. The B-52 carries up to 70,000 pounds of weapons. The USAF has had B-52s in active service since 1955, initially with the Strategic Air Command (SAC), with all aircraft later absorbed into the Air Combat Command (ACC) following SAC's disestablishment in 1992. Here is a video about the early history of the B-52.

Superior performance at high subsonic speeds and relatively low operating costs have kept the B-52 in service despite proposals to replace it with the Mach 3 XB-70 Valkyrie, supersonic B-1B Lancer and stealthy B-2 Spirit. In January 2005, the B-52 became the second aircraft, after the English Electric Canberra, to mark 50 years of continuous service with its original primary operator. There are six aircraft altogether that have made this list as of 2009; the other four being the Tupolev Tu-95, the C-130 Hercules, the KC-135 Stratotanker, and the Lockheed U-2.

Plans for the Cleveland B-52 Stratofortress    Plans for the Cleveland B-52 Stratofortress

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Famous aviation artist Jo Kotula provided a dramatic painting of this airplane on the "Box Art" for the competing Aurora kit for the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. I believe that the Monogram kit has outlasted the Aurora version, but in terms of antique kit value, the Aurora is more desirable.

Aurora plastic model kit for the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress  box art by Jo Kotula

Aurora Plastic Model of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
Artwork by Jo Kotula
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Below is Simplex Cleveland balsa model of the B-52. I have never heard of a flying model of this airplane, although it is within the realm of possibilities. I invite my readers with special knowledge on this subect to Write to Me.

Cleveland Site Location of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress   

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress Bomber at the Cleveland Site

You can buy the plans and patterns that will enable you to make this model right now. Click Here to go to the exact location on the Cleveland Website to get them.

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