1/72 Testors/Italeri B-66B

by Jeff Brundt

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The Douglas B-66 Destroyer was originally envisaged as a replacement for the World War 2-era piston-engined Douglas B-26 Invader. The design of the B-66 was assigned to a Douglas-Long Beach team under the direction of John C. Buckwalter. The Destroyer was initially manufactured in two separate versions - a reconnaissance version designated RB-66B (Douglas Model 1329) and a bomber version designated B-66B (Douglas Model 1327A). They were basically similar in overall configuration, differing primarily in the equipment carried. The RB-66B carried flash bombs in its bomb bay for night photography missions and was equipped with a battery of reconnaissance cameras. The RB-66B could be fitted with a removable in-flight refueling probe attached to the right side of the forward fuselage. The first RB-66B flew in March of 1955, and deliveries began in February 1956. 145 RB-66Bs were built, which made this version numerically the most important of the Destroyer variants. 
The first official B-66B flight took place on 1/4/55. The B-66Bs began entering the Tactical Air Command in March of 1956. The first recipient was the 17th Light Bombardment Wing, based at Hurlburt Field in Florida.  In September 1956, TAC began to transfer its B-66Bs to the United States Air Forces in Europe .

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My kit was the Testors offering from the mid 1980ís.  Itís the same kit as the original Italeri issue.  I picked it up at a local hobby shop for about $19.  I had one years ago but it must have gotten lost or tossed in any number of moves.  The kit is nice and has fully engraved panel lines.  The plastic is a quasi silver/grey and come in a single poly bag.

The cockpit is done first.  The instrument panel has some detail molded on it as well as the B/N and WSO stations.  Unfortunately they sit too far back to be really visible in the completed model.  The ejection seats are composed of several pieces.  I pre-painted all the cockpit parts interior grey followed by painting the IP, console tops and glareshield black with some dry brushing to pick out the details.  The seats were then detail painted with red arm and head rests.  The WSO windows were glued in place followed by the cockpit and nose wheel well.  You need to add some weight to the nose to prevent it from being a tail sitter.  I used some BBís on each fuse half held in place with thick CA.  Once this was done the fuse halves were joined. Because the only choice of finish for a B-66B is natural metal you have some seams to clean up.  I also glued the canopy in place and masked it off.  I used some putty and Mr. Surfacer and a lot of sanding and polishing to clean up the seams and to fair the canopy into the fuse.  Some of the panel lines were lost in the process so rescribing was in order.

The wings and engine pods were assembled, seams filled and sanded.  Detail that was lost from sanding on the engine nacelles was rescribed.  The horizontals were glued in place and care needs to be taken to assure dihedral and symmetry between the left and right sides. The wings were then glued in place and some filler was required to blend the wings properly with the fuse.  Once this was accomplished the engines/pylons were glued in place.  The fit of these was very nice and no filler other than the Pro-Weld was needed.

Since this is a NMF airframe plenty of surface prep is needed to make sure seams and flaws are well hidden.  Lots of time wet sanding, applying Mr. Surfacer and Future and polishing with 2000 to 8000 grit cloth were invested in order to achieve a base for the Floquil bright silver.  Once the silver had dried it was time to mask off panels for the various of metallic shades.  I used a mix of Testors metalizers and Alclad II shades to achieve the desired effect.  I had to be careful in that I applied the Alclad II colors first followed by the Testors metallizers so as to avoid applying masking tape over the Testors and thus ruining the finish.  The nose radome area was painted with Tamiya black.

B-66 color schemes were not noted for being colorful.  The kit gives you option for two aircraft; The first is an RB-66B of the 42 TRS/10 TRW based at RAF Chelvston in 1960.  The second is for the 19 TRS/66 TRW RB-66B based at Spangdalem, Germany in 1959.  I chose the first one because of the red diagonal stripe on the engine nacelles and the rainbow comet on the tail.  The decals were VERY old and the clear areas of them had a bit of a milk haze to them.  I found if I soaked them extra long in the water and used a brush this ďhazeĒ could be removed.  Needless to say this resulted in more time than usual to apply all the decals.  Microsol helped them to settle nicely.  Once decaling was finished I applied a coat of PollyScale clear to seal everything in.

Now was the time to add all of the fiddly bits; IFR probe, tail guns, landing gear, wheels, doors, etc.  After I had these in place the canopy and window masks were removed to reveal the clear parts in all their glory.  I applied a light wash in the gear bays to bring out some of the detail there.

All in all this was a nice build, despite being a NMF (which I am not a fan of).  The kit is going on 30+ years old but itís still the only game for a bargain priced B-66.  The CollectAire kit is nice for 1/48 scale but itís completed size matches itís price tag.  With this one done Iím tempted to build Italeriís EB-66 in SEAC cammo. That might go a bit easierÖ..

Jeff 

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Photos and text © by Jeff Brundt