1/72 Academy KB-50

Gallery Article by Patrick Hawkey


This is a 72nd scale KB-50J using an Academy B-50 and the appropriate resin from the old DB KB-50J conversion kit.  When the DB conversion was around, it provided most of the stuff you'd need to turn an Airfix B-29 into whatever B-50 varient you wanted.  THAT would've been a job. 

Fortunately I held off till Academy did the basic B-50 and all I had to do was leave off turrets, remove the tail gunner's position, modify the tail end and hang the jet and drogue pods on the wings.  Not much of a conversion, but building an Academy B-50 was no walk in the park.


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This job was commissioned by a gentleman who flew F-100s in the early 60s and got to know KB-50s fairly well.  He supplied photos of this one of the 420th Air Refueling Squadron out of RAF Sculthorpe.  He and his squadron mates took on fuel from these guys while on deployment to Aviano, Italy.

Perhaps the most difficult part of this job was finding good photo references of KB-50s to work from.  In fact the best pictures I found were in F-100 and F-101 references, showing the tankers at work.

The finish is Testors Model Master Chrome Silver, tinted with blue or black, under a coat of Testor's Glosscoat.  The red band around the drogue pods was masked and painted and the rest of the squadron markings were drawn 1:1 and cut from red decal stock.  Note that the USAF decal as it comes on the Academy sheet (both B and RB-50s) is too large.  Of course I only found this out after mine was on the airplane.

Miraculously I was able to coax it off again without damaging the silver finish, but personally, I don't need that sort of excitement.

Patrick Hawkey

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Photos and text by Patrick Hawkey