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Call Sign 'Yellow Bird' - Martin B-57B Canberra


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My entry for this group build, the Martin B-57B Canberra operated by the 8th Bomb Squadron out of Bien Hoa AB and then Da Nang AB in 1964/65. It didn't take the Canberra long to become well-known on the tactical scene and they picked up the call sign 'Yellow Bird' based upon the squadron colours (the sister13th BS were 'Red Bird'). I am building the 1/72nd Italeri B-57B Canberra OOB  and it will be finished in aluminium. I will be using the decals from the kit. I will also 'ghost' build a second B-57B which will be in the later SEA camouflage scheme coded as 'PQ'. I am looking for a straight forward build of these kits which I have had in the stash for many years now. Michael.

 

50255324321_6ce4e840b5_b.jpgCanberras2 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

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Brilliant 😀 I think that makes a full set of Cranberries for this GB. And all in different schemes. Just need to start now:pilot:

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3 hours ago, Chrisj2003 said:

Brilliant 😀 I think that makes a full set of Cranberries for this GB. And all in different schemes. Just need to start now:pilot:

Yes I have been watching the Canberras being added to this GB and I was delighted to see an Australian addition, a participant that tends to be forgotten as time passes by and memories fade. I have a week at home this week so hoping to make a firm start 👍

 

Michael

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Great to see another Canberra in the GB, seem to be saying that a lot lately!

Or should I say Canberras as you seem to be building two of them, even better. I got most of the way through one of these in the Kids GB until my Labrador accidentally wrote it off and it was a nice build.

I shall follow your builds with interest.

 

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great to see another Canberra/B-57 in the build, they see to be a very popular choice too which is a bit of a surprise.

 

I have built this model years ago (the B-57G version) and it's a nice pleasant model to build, so you should enjoy the build.

 

Good luck with her, and I'll be following with interest.

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Not got started yet but have been taking another look in the boxes to see what my options are for a pair of B-57B Canberras. In the past I have built the Italeri B-66 and B-58 bombers and I recall them as pretty straightforward kits which go together well. As stated above I would like to complete a B-57B in aluminium marked for the 8th Bomb Squadron very early in their involvement in the Vietnam War, as well as a B-57B of the same squadron later in the campaign in the SEA camouflage scheme with black undersides. The instruction sheet below shows the options available however, sadly, the cool all black version with red markings was not used in Vietnam. The SEA version was the only B-57B in Vietnam to sport nose art as 'Hell's Angel' and that is a 'must' for me.

 

50259354361_a33ff19943_b.jpgIMGP3961 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

A couple of sprue shots:-

 

50259354336_acf26bb59c_b.jpgIMGP3962 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

50259354311_8fa079d2f6_b.jpgIMGP3963 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

The second B-57B will be from the Italeri B-57G "Night Hawk" kit (which PeterB is putting together on this GB) and I have marked the sprue area that has been modified in grey. This means that I will be missing a couple of weapons pylons with rocket launchers so I am going to have to find a way round that or just ignore it.

 

50258696728_c5efdc399b_b.jpgIMGP3964 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

Looking forward to getting started! Michael

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9 minutes ago, Ghostbase said:

This means that I will be missing a couple of weapons pylons with rocket launchers so I am going to have to find a way round that or just ignore it.

I don't remember seeing any pics of B-57's in Vietnam sporting the unguided rockets provided in the kit, but if they did and you want some I have some spare from my recent B-57 build that you can have.

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24 minutes ago, modelling minion said:

I don't remember seeing any pics of B-57's in Vietnam sporting the unguided rockets provided in the kit, but if they did and you want some I have some spare from my recent B-57 build that you can have.

Thank you, the offer is much appreciated 👍 This is the 'research' phase of the build which I love, considering all the possibilities and options and I always end up learning a great deal. I do have the Robert C. Mikesh book "B-57 Canberra at War 1964-1972" in my library however it tends to be light on detail regards weapons used. I have ordered the Osprey Combat Aircraft book "B-57 Canberra Units of the Vietnam War (Combat Aircraft)" which will arrive in a couple of days and maybe that will give me some useful pointers. Michael

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I have checked my book Michael and it does indeed state that 5" rockets were carried, but there are no pictures of aircraft carrying them. lots of bombs and even 7 shot rocket pods but no 5" rockets. There is a nice colour picture of the nose of Hell's Angel in there too, and some nice pics of VNAF ones.

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Today is the 2nd of October? Good grief! I have finally made a start on my 1/72nd Italeri 'Yellow Bird' B-57B Canberra and just concentrating on the one build, the aluminium finished 8th Bomb Squadron B-57B out of Bien Hoa AB and then Da Nang AB in 1964/65. To start with, I did apply Halfords grey primer to all the sprues, then cut off all the major items. The kit looked like this:

 

 50409416447_bb19bd2159_b.jpgCanberra02 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

A good start today, unfortunately I have recently had the modelling mojo 'downs' quite badly so it was good to get this B-57B started. The wing assemblies were the easiest part so they went into the queue first, the idea is to be able to apply aluminium in one coat using either Halfords Aluminium spray paint or maybe Humbrol Metalcote 27001-6 Matt Aluminium using my newly acquired Badger 200-9 gravity feed airbrush (a long story). I also minimally prepared the cockpit then cemented that plus the nose wheel well, then joined the two fuselage halves. It all fit together very well, no problems at all. I also applied a first coat Tamiya XF-4 zinc chromate to the wheel wells and the inside of the undercarriage gear doors. I have also cemented the 750lb bombs to go on the wing pylons as well as the two wingtip fuel tanks. The next step is to do some sanding and hopefully no filler will be needed - fingers crossed!

 

50409262201_e7851bbb02_b.jpgCanberra01 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

One other thing, I did order the Osprey Combat Aircraft book "B-57 Canberra Units of the Vietnam War (Combat Aircraft)" by T.E. Bell and it arrived a couple of weeks ago, a really interesting read and full of helpful information as well as the usual colour plates which I just love! 💓  Michael

 

50409262146_9eecbc4cf1_b.jpgCanberra03 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

Edited by Ghostbase
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Good to see your B-57 underway Michael, and a very good start it is too.

The Italeri B-57 is a great kit and builds into a very nice replica of the real thing. The Osprey book is a good one and gives this often overlooked aircraft some of the attention it deserves.

A Halfords rattle can is always a good idea for a large area of the same colour, you can get a decent finish from them too if you put the can in some warm water for a few minutes before you use it,helps get the paint a bit thinner and get a nice smooth finish.

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great to see this one underway and the mojo recharged....I know what it's like when its lacking!

 

I know this model quite well and it is a really nice one to build...think I may have one in the stash as well.

 

That's a great book too.

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Posted (edited)

Sunday, rain all day, autumn is finally here. I always associate autumn with dark beers and scale modelling! 👍 Which is good because I have got a lot done today and the 'Yellow Bird' is well on the way now.

 

Actually started yesterday by cementing the wings and tail planes to the fuselage, waited for them to dry then sanded all the seams and joins to see how they would come out. This really is a nice straightforward kit, it does go together very well. After sanding I applied a second coat of Halfords grey primer to see if I needed to break out the Perfect Plastic Putty or not...

 

50417518148_cc880991e9_b.jpgCanberra12 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

50418382642_d1e990283a_b.jpgCanberra11 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

In my opinion, no putty needed. However it was a mistake attaching the weapons pylons to the wings, on the aluminium Canberras they should be painted black. Oh well, I can catch that mistake later. The next step was to apply the aluminium paint to the aircraft. Some sources describe these B-57B Canberras as NMF natural metal finish however I am not so sure, I wonder if they were finished in aluminium lacquer like some other jets of this era? Even if NMF the South Vietnamese hot and humid climate would have had an effect on the metallic finish. I have two choices: to airbrush with Humbrol Matt Aluminium Metalcote or apply Halfords Aluminium from a rattlecan. My wife detests my using the kitchen to spray aromatic enamels and Metalcote unfortunately fits into that category so I wimp out and opt for the Halfords rattlecan applied outside in the outhouse (Note: I need my own man cave!). I took Modelling Minion's advice and warmed the can first, the application looked like this:-

 

50417518098_5a6fef59e9_b.jpgCanberra13 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

Now, the can was almost empty and I am sure that I have had more 'silver' results than this however for this build that finish is just perfect and leaves the door open for more weathering effects in the future should I wish. Next steps were to apply a second coat of zinc chromate to the three wheel wells and the inside of the undercarriage gear doors, start painting the wheels themselves in silver and black, paint the 750lb bombs olive drab, also the wing tanks black. Plus a black anti-glare panel on the nose which Italeri omits to mention...

 

50418212456_0d72462a84_b.jpgCanberra14byGhostbae, on Flickr

 

50418382492_762027e525_b.jpgCanberra15 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

 

So what's next? Will come back to this build next weekend and do some work in the cockpit. The pilot's instrument panel, yoke, complete canopy, and ejection seats. I am a 1/48th scale modeller and I can't cope with seats this small!! 😉 The Osprey book is very helpful in pointing out details which Italeri didn't pick up like yellow painted engine intake cones and a yellow nose so those need to be painted. Then on to the kit decals, will they still work? The kit is dated 1985 so that is a 'fingers crossed' area.

 

Michael

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I think your B-57 is looking great Michael.

I agree with you about the finish of the metallic paint, you don't want it shiny as all the pictures I have seen of them in Vietnam show a dull finish, and I suspect you are right regarding a painted on lacquer finish applied to the actual airframe.

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Hi Michael,

 

That is looking good. You can always adjust the "shine" with varnish, but that colour looks right to me for a faded effect.

 

Pete

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She's come together quickly, and boy she looks nice!!!

 

We don't get to see many of this type of Canberra well B-57 and in NMF........ so nice to see and she looks great.

 

I agree it's best to go with a more flat finish, a few months in that sort of climate would have dulled any finish.

 

Not too much more to go, keep up the great work.

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As usual, I am late to the party. I wrote the Osprey title cited above. During the year I spent researching it (really, I over-researched it because I was so fascinated by this almost forgotten aspect of that awful war).

    The air and ground crew veterans opened up their photo albums and personal recollections for me. My biggest regret is that the book is so brief.

      I am a lifelong modeller, and as the book went to press we were able to talk Eli at Zotz Decals into creating a set of markings in 1/48 and 1/72 . I have one spare set in 1/48 I'd like to donate to a good home. Eli, as usual, did a spectacular job. I don't know if this set is still on the market.

      As to the finish on these birds, prior to being painted in the SEA drab scheme, they bore NMF with red or yellow trim, depending on the squadron. Some of these aircraft were polished to a mirror finish. When Chuck Yeager was wing commander, his personal Canberra was buffed almost daily just so he could get an extra knot or two of airspeed (crud on an airframe induces drag, as do matte finishes).

     Oh, I also have tons of photos and slides covering the entire 8 years the B-57 (and their Aussie comrades) flew deadly missions along the Ho Chi Minh trail and points north. These photos and declassified documents are just sitting in a box doing nothing. I'm open to suggestions as for a home for this little archive.

      The one area that stumped me was the exploits of the matte black RB-57Es. Many of their missions remain classified to this day (probably for no legitimate reason).

       Anyway, if I can help a fellow modeller out on this subject (or most Cold War aviation matters), I'll be glad to pitch in.

T.E. Bell

 

   

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Hi Thomas,

 

Welcome on board - I referred frequently to your excellent book in my earlier build of a B-57G and could no doubt have benefitted from your help, but it is finished now so don't look too closely😀! As you will see there are still several more B-57/Canberra builds in progress so no doubt you will be getting asked questions on them, although as you point out the exploits of the Patricia Lynn RB-57E's  remains a bit of a mystery.

 

Cheers

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB
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1 hour ago, Thomas Bell said:

Anyway, if I can help a fellow modeller out on this subject (or most Cold War aviation matters), I'll be glad to pitch in.

Great to have you following the GB Thomas, your excellent book has it's rightful place on many of our bookshelves.

A very interesting conundrum as to what to do with the photos of B-57's and Canberras during the war, I am sure that there are a lot on here (myself included) who would love to have a look at them if not own a couple. Your offer with the Zotz decals is a very generous one and again I'm sure plenty would like to take them off your hands, maybe they could be a prize for the best model in the GB?

Feel free to jump in and build a model as well, we are running until December so there is still time for you to join in.

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I am dangerously close to OT here, but I would love to see a WB/RB-57F kit, especially in1/48. Never going to happen of course, but one can dream. I did an article for Aviation Monthly on NASA's bizarre Camberras. At the time they had two (I believe there are three now) and both were being refitted with the robust main gear and wheels from the Strike Eagle.

     The conventional wisdom is that these birds, then under Pacific Air Force (PACAF) command, took no part in the Vietnam War. They were in fact used for high-altitude standoff recce in that theatre.

       If you get a chance to see one of these aerial Frankenstein monsters you will have to look very hard to find the Canberra parts. I believe they have passed through Lakenheath from time to time.

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15 minutes ago, modelling minion said:

Great to have you following the GB Thomas, your excellent book has it's rightful place on many of our bookshelves.

A very interesting conundrum as to what to do with the photos of B-57's and Canberras during the war, I am sure that there are a lot on here (myself included) who would love to have a look at them if not own a couple. Your offer with the Zotz decals is a very generous one and again I'm sure plenty would like to take them off your hands, maybe they could be a prize for the best model in the GB?

Feel free to jump in and build a model as well, we are running until December so there is still time for you to join in.

You've inspired me. I have a 1/48 B and a G on the shelf, both abandoned at various stages. I just puled out that Zotz sheet (the set has three sheets, including fine wing walks), and it is still pristine. It has markings for B-57B's in NMF and SEA camo, plus the G and RB-57E.

   If we aren't violating any rules at Britmodeller, I have lots of review sample decal sets from Cold War subjects for runners up. Many of these sheets ae out of print. I'm looking at a fine TwoBobs set from Operation Combat Lancer, the disastrously premature deployment of the F-111A to SEA in 1968. And I have the rare 1/32 Sea Fury sheets from Fisher Models, whose factory was destroyed in a California wildfire. It couldn't have happened to more kind and decent people as the Fishers are.

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It will be great if your B-57's can join the GB,the one stipulation that we have is that a kit isn't more than 25% complete before you start the thread, unless you don't want to put it in the gallery at the end in which case you are fine. If I am wrong our glorious GB leader ( @trickyrich ) will let us know, I am only the co-host ( or cocktail waitress as he calls me) .

The offer of the decals as prizes is a fantastic one and well within the rules, very generous of you. 

 

Craig. 

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3 minutes ago, modelling minion said:

I am only the co-host ( or cocktail waitress as he calls me) .

I cant call you a cocktail waitress Craig... how about Steward or schlepp boy ? 😉

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