Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Valom 1/72 North American RB-45C "Tornado"

Valom can be relied upon to produce decent kits of some of the more obscure aircraft in history, and this is no exception. One of the very first jet powered bombers it is an important aircraft in its own right. But in this incarnation it was converted to reconnaissance duties. This particular kit covers a couple of aircraft used in the Korean war and the one I have built was painted black for night duties.

The kit is classic Valom. Good surface details and essentially accurate in profile however it has a strong smell of a "limited run" kit, and as such the engineering is primitive, without locating pins or particularly clear positioning. A bit of common sense and trial and error is required to get this right. A fair bit of parts clean up is also required, less because of flash but more because of ill thought out sprue links. But some decent photo etch is also included and also the engine in and out ports are provided in nicely moulded resin.

One notable omission from the kit, given that it is marketed as a reconnaissance machine, are camera ports. These I had to cut out and scratch build myself. Reference material for the RB-45C is very thin on the ground, and even less so any information on the camera ports themselves. But I followed the efforts of previous modellers and the sparse information out there and I challenge anyone to prove I have got it wrong!

Otherwise, the kit was built straight from the box. The main challenges were getting the fuselage halves lined up, fitting the internals correctly and fixing the undercarriage. The latter is very tricky, there is a lack of positive fixing points and it is hard to get the strength required to support the model. Also, the horizontal stabilisers have no fixings at all and I had to drill some rod holes to give them strength.

Decaling for this aircraft was very simple, there are no insignia or stencilling, just the tail end markings. However, weathering and all black aircraft and making it look "real" is always a challenge. I relied on various shades of black and a lot of pastels to give the whole thing some authenticity.

Despite all the build headaches, this turned into a fine model of this relatively unusual modelling subject, and I hope you enjoy the photos.