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                   Updated 12/17/03                                                    Click Here to Return to Index  

Monogram’s B-29, Command Decision, in 1/48 scale
by Christoph Erkens
For Pictures of the completed Model, CLICK HERE 

It took some time for me to decide to build such a huge model.  The construction and especially the painting was difficult due to its immense size. Then there was also the question of where to put it when it was finished.

The first problem was to get my hands on a model kit that has been out of production for some years. I was lucky to find  an old and nearly complete kit that was released around 1977.  Although two items were missing, I knew I would be able to make them from scratch.

My first thought was to build a World War II B-29, but most of them flew in their natural metal skin and I wanted to have some contrast on my model. There are a lot of options for B-29 models, WWII, Korean War, a Search & Rescue “Super Dumbo” or even the mothership for Yeager’s “Machbuster”. The last require a lot of modifications, especially in the bomb bay. Then I remembered having seen a Korean War B-29 model with a black underside and this look appealed to me.

Next step was to look for some reference material and the appropriate decals (markings) for such a black bellied aircraft.  Aeromaster makes three wonderful Korean War B-29 decal sheets, but all options represent a natural metal finish. Then problems started. The Aeromaster instructions indicate that not all B-29s had black bellies during the Korean War.  Unable to find out which B-29’s from Aeromaster’s sheets had black bottoms, I decided to make the markings myself.

My choice fell to the famous “Command Decision” from the 19th BG, 28th BS. It had a lovely nose art and the ship was known as the only unofficial bomber ace of the Korean War. Indeed I can paint some cartoon figures more easilly than a lovely, half-naked girls lolling on a B-29’s nose.  Nevertheless I purchased a Aeromaster sheet for the 28th BS’s insignia, the Indian head, and the coat of arms. The kit provided decals for only one version, a B-29 from the WWII era.  So I had to buy Aeromaster’s Post WWII national markings (USAF legends for the wings and the post-war stars and bars).

Until then I had only seen a few reference photos of Command Decision, but all in natural metal from early in the war. I started my research through the internet. Often, the aerial war over Korea is reduced to dogfights between F-86’s and MiG-15’s, completely negclecting the role of USAF’s F-80’s, F-51’s, B-26’s and of course the B-29’s. I was lucky to find Earl McGill’s website, he was so kind to help me with some questions I had. Thanks you very much Mac! [You're most welcome, and thank you!]

Some words on the construction

The Monogram kit is a very good kit for its age. It has raised panel lines and the overall fit of the parts is good; however, to build a correct Korean War B-29, the modeler has to make some modifications. The tail gunner’s 20mm cannon must be removed; the horse shoe antenna must be positioned on the cockpit’s greenhouse; and the upper front turret is too low when put onto the fuselage. Because Monogram offers only Curtiss Electric propellers, I used CMK’s Hamilton Standard Propellers instead. Finally I used True Details resin wheels which look a lot better. The model was a real bad tailsitter, so175-200g of nose weight was necessary. The antennas are selfmade, and EZ masks were used for painting the canopy framing. The entire painting of the aircraft was done with my airbrush.

Building the model and the research was a great and very interesting time for me, and I learned a lot about the Korean Air War, its crews and planes.

For Pictures of the completed Model, CLICK HERE