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I have had two of the old Monogram B-36 kits in the stash for a whole bunch of years, so I decided to put a couple of other projects on the back burner and build one of these

monsters. The kit is intended to be an RB-36H, but the kit decals are wrong and useless anyway because of age. I found some aftermarket decals for an RB-36E from the 5th

Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, 72nd Bomb Squadron that was at Travis AFB, California from January 9, 1951 until September 30, 1958. The first B-36's that Convair built

were the XB and YB-36 prototypes and then 21 B-36A bombers. The A models didn't really have a combat capability and were used for crew training. After a couple of years,

Convair took all 21 of the A's plus the YB-36 prototype back to the factory, disassembled and modified them, then reassembled them as RB-36E Recce Birds. The biggest mods

were turning bomb bay #1 up front into a pressurized camera compartment and filling bomb bay #4 with ECM and ELINT equipment.

..I am pretty fired up about this build as I have wanted to do a B-36 ever since I was a kid. The question now is, "Can I keep the fire going long enough to finish a large, difficult

project". I bought two of the Pavla resin kits for the gun turret bays and will use them for both upper gun bays. I will open up the very large side oblique camera windows and

smaller tri-metragon windows on each side as well as the three vertical camera windows in the belly of the camera compartment. Bomb bay #2 will get 40 of the AN-M26 photo

flash bombs, while #3 will get a scratch built 3,000 gallon auxiliary fuel tank, a new "communication tube" down the left side and hopefully some more added detail. Both levels

of the forward crew compartment will get some added detail and I am hoping to scratch build the entire photo compartment interior. Now I have to see if I can live up to my


The Kit Box


I started simple with the wheels and struts



The Pavla AM turret bay boxes and pieces. The only real difference between the forward and aft turrets is that the aft bay has a one piece cover.



The upper and lower forward crew compartments, the fwd & aft bomb bay bulkheads and the radio operator's panel at the rear of this area. This overlaps the gun

bay unit by about 1/8 inch, so I will have to modify that somehow.



The forward gun bay tub. It requires a HUGE hole to be cut out.


This shows the camera windows and crew observation windows cut out of the right side. The left side is stock, but won't be for long.


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RB-36E Update #1

The bomb bay fuel tank held 3,000 gallons and was jettisonable. I made the top and bottom out of the outer main gear doors from an Airfix 1/72 C-130 and scratch built the end

panels. I still have to build the sides and reinforcing straps that go around the circumference.




Communication Tube that runs from the forward crew compartment to the aft in the regular bomber, but skips the pressurized camera compartment in the recce birds. It is made out of 3/16 brass tubing


Add the bomb rack main frame and pressure bulkheads (not glued in yet)


Add 20 of the photo flash bombs in bomb bay #2.


Add the aux fuel tank in bay #3 and the wing spar.


I intended this to be the floor for the camera compartment, but it didn't turn out very well. Back to the drawing board.



Edited by yardbird78
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Have you seen this? http://youtu.be/ethVLMyxA7M

No, I have not seen that before. I was fascinated to see how the auxiliary fuel tank is jettisoned. Many thanks for the video address. I have a picture of one on the ramp at Carswell AFB that was blown out of a plane during Feb 52 tornado. It is the same shape, but the ribs on the side have a different spacing. Thanks again.


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RB-36E Update #2

My eyeballs are rotating to the back of my head from working with the tiny instrument decals, so I thought that I would post an update to the Beast. This is the pressure bulkhead between the back

end of the camera compartment and the front end of bomb bay #2. The hatch in lower right is the entrance to the "Communication Tube" that ran between the front crew compartment and the one

in the tail. It wasn't present in the camera compartment so that the guys in there could go to the front or back of the plane. The hatch on middle left gives access to the bomb bay. The window

towards the bottom is so they could monitor what was going on in the bomb bay without depressurizing the compartment. The items on the top shelf are electronic components and the center and

bottom row are instruments and controls for these "black boxes". I have applied a few decals and need to put on several more. The silver disc in picture #2 is how the bulkhead looked when I

started working on it. The decal sheet with the 1/72 instruments and controls is by Mike Grant Decals.




This is the jettisonable auxiliary fuel tank that goes in bomb bay #3. I finished the construction and put on a coat of primer. It still needs a finish coat of green. See the you tube video above to

see a full scale B-36 jettison one of these things.


Edited by yardbird78
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Very nice looking. How much will be seen when she is closed up?

A little of it will be visible through that huge camera window, but I am also seriously considering a cut-a-way section of the fuselage over the camera compartment.

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Very nice! A few years ago, I actually had the nerve to rescribe one of these. Turned out good. Unfortunately, it fell victim to a furry creature and was destroyed. I have another on in the stash that I might take rescribing again. Keep up the good work! This is turning it a masterpiece!

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RB-36E Update #3

I have made some progress with the camera compartment and started on the modification to the APG-32 tail radar.

This is the front side of the pressure bulkhead 6.0 that divides the aft end of the camera compartment and bomb bay #2. The hatch on the right is the entrance to the communication tube to the rear crew compartment and the one on the left is for access to the unpressurized bomb bay. I am considering it complete.


This is the backside of bulkhead 5.0 that divides the forward end of the camera compartment from the forward gun bay.

Just starting.


Adding the "I" beam at the top, the first shelf and the hatch to the gun bay.


Adding the shelf and cabinet for the Camera Operator's control panel.


Just for a little diversity, I started on the modification to the fairing for the APG-32 radar that controls/aims the two tail guns. The early B-36s had a single antenna/radome and later models had twin antennas. The kit provides the twin antenna version with a much larger and longer fairing. This has to be cut out and replaced with a smaller one.


Edited by yardbird78
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  • 2 weeks later...

Looks great; thanks for the detailed pictures & info!

I built one as a kid and had a lot of fun with it, would really like to build another one sometime. Through my job-related travels, I was fortunate enough to visit 3 of the 4 intact surviving Peacemakers in 2015.


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This is a must-watch! :popcorn:

Regarding Mark Verney (Oxonians Plastic Fantastic), I can totally recommend him -well, he's probably a little more local for me! Also, he has an eBay presence here. I've ordered loads of stuff from him, found it competitively priced and despatched very swiftly.

Excellent work so far!

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WOW! You have jumped into a really deep pool of water with this project. The detail that you are putting into that camera compartment is very impressive. I do hope that you open up a piece of the fuselage to show it off.

Grandma L

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