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DECAL REVIEW


Warbird Decals # 72-039
B-52 Stratofortress "Barksdale" Markings -- 1:72 Scale

 

The B-52 Stratofortress is perhaps the most iconic of all the Cold War bombers. The H-model still flies on today in the nuclear and conventional roles as they remain one of the most potent and adaptable members of the bomber triad.  The B-52 has also long been a favorite among scale modelers.  There is a range of kits and scales to choose from to build a B-52, from some of the smaller 1:200 scale kits to the monstrous and very rare 1:48 ID Models vacuform B-52 (if you can find it!).  In 1:72 scale, the two injection molded mainstays for decades have been the Revell/Monogram and the AMT/Ertl kits – big and impressive BUFFs to be sure.  

The decals in many of those 1:72 scale kits leave a lot to be desired and represent an earlier generation of decal printing and production technologies.  If you’ve got a B-52G on your workbench, Warbird Decals provides a number of B-52 sheets any of which will be a far superior set of markings.

This set covers five late 1980s to early 1990s B-52Gs that were based at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana – one of the master B-52 bases supporting everything from the historic strategic deterrence role to today’s global strike mission in the war on terror.

The decal sheet provides markings for five B-52Gs that featured the revival of famous examples of WWII nose art applied to the Stratofortress:

The decals are quite comprehensive, covering everything from the multicolor nose art to SAC badges, squadron badges, the Louisiana fleur-de-lis tail art, a veritable ton of airframe maintenance stencils, and all the walkway decals.  To me, a BUFF missing those walkway markings just doesn’t look right from the top.  The sheet also provides extra walkway markings as well (and we all know that we just might need those extras…)  And while the five schemes covered here are all late overall dark grey schemes (FS 36081), the instructions indicate the stencils and walkways can also be used on any B-52 wearing the late Euro 1 scheme as well. 

The quality of the decal design is excellent, and the printing by Scale-Master is right up there with Cartograf and other leaders in the decal business.  Colors are vibrant, in perfect register, and carrier film is very thin and exceptionally restrained.  The decals also come packed in a ziplock bag with a cardstock stiffener in there to prevent unintended bending. It’s a nice touch. 

The only critique I can think of is that there are no dates associated with the five schemes.  However, they look to be late in the life of the G-models at Barksdale, around the time in 1992 when they traded in their B-52Gs for B-52Hs.  Examples of the B-52G’s nose art were cut out of several airplanes to preserve them as they were being scrapped, and if I’m not mistaken, some of those nose panels were placed on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.  

Many thanks to Warbird Decals for the review sample. You can find them on the web at http://www.warbirddecals-com.myshopify.com. You can reach them by email at warbirddecals@aol.com and find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Warbird-Decals

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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