B-26 Update: Detailing stuff that will never be seen

This week, I had a great time working on some details that no one will really ever see (or as my friend Lynn Ritger says, “modeling for God”). I’d ordered the CMK set for the pilot and copilot’s seats, and while I waited for its arrival, I tackled the radio/navigator’s compartment. These are areas where I’d replaced the windows – and in one case enlarged a window. These tiny windows are the only way to see this stuff, and the only way light will ever get inside.

B-26 Radio Compartment

As it stands, the detail is all against the forward bulkhead. First, I added detail to the folding door using styrene strip.  On the left is the radioman’s area, with a Western Electric BC-456-E modulator unit (scratch built) and two SCR-274 comment transmitters (stolen from a Condor P-51A). below that is a BC-348 liaison receiver (scratch built). Below that is the radioman’s folding desk. I learned that, when doing a rack of gear, the first thing to do is to affix the largest piece of gear on the top shelf to the bulkhead first, then add the shelf below it. Then, add the rest of the gear on that shelf. Next, add the gear below it to the bulkhead, and add the shelf below it. Finally (and I have yet to do this), add the vertical supports at the corners of the rack.

On the right is the navigator’s station, with the liaison transmitter tuning unit (scratch built). At the lower right is a mount for a small three-instrument panel that provides the navigator with airspeed, altitude and rate of climb. That will be added after painting. The navigator’s table is there but the facing for the drawer below it will be added after painting.

Here’s an image of the compartment, showing the navigator’s window, the larger of the two, and the relationship of the radio/navigator’s compartment to the cockpit.

B-26 Cockpit and Radio Comp.

There’s a lot of work to do still. First off, I’ve already added soundproofing quilting to the fuselage sides, made from this amazing self-adhesive tread plate intended for HO railroader. I bought it for a cushion back for a master back in the 1990s, and I have no idea who made it, but it’s great.  The detail on the sides of the cockpit come next – compass, drift meter, headphones, intercom box, radio compass, flexible lights, junction boxes. Then come the seats and seat belts on their stands. The rear bulkhead shape is cut out and will be detailed and added last, after the cockpit is finished and right before the fuselage and wings are assembled.

Then, after painting and a little dry brushing, all of this will be entrapped in the fuselage, never to be seen again – at least, not easily nor by people who don’t know it’s in there!

After the compartment’s finished, I’ll go back to work on the cockpit, then circle back to the tail gunner’s position. This may seem like a lot of extra work, but I’m sincerely enjoying it. This is my favorite part of modeling – interior detailing – and I think it shows.

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2 Comments

  1. Mr. Bucholtz, this is such a great site and project. I stumbled on it through checking up on what people were doing with the Snaptite B-26. I have a couple of questions and comments about your project. For the tail gun position and glass, you mentioned that you were going to use the Valom tail and form your own canopy. Squadron does make a vacuform canopy just for this model as a B-26-1 and a B-26A. All you have to do is open up the tail point. One thing though is if that the fuselage length scales out correctly for a -1. You mentioned that you received the Lone Star Models props and spinners kit, but didn’t like them. I found a cheap alternative for my Snaptite. There is a certain model of Zebra brand pens that have a clicker cap that looks just like a B-26 spinner. I compared it with the spinner of the Valom and it is quite close in size and shape. I got my set of pens from Office Max. The last question is that you are doing Lt. Muri’s plane, 40-1391. Do you know if Muri followed the 22nd BG’s practice of removing the tail canopy to give the tail gun more range of movement. There is precedence of this with the photo of a 33rd BS plane in the US before it shipped out to Australia. This photo is located in Dana Bell’s Air Force Colors, volume 1. I will keep following this as I have three Snap’s I want to do, Capt. Thornbrough’s torpedo attempt on the carrier Ryujo in the Aleutians, one of the 22nd BG at Seven-Mile Drome, New Guinea, and another one of the 73rd or 77th BS in the Aleutians. Good luck

    • Rick – thank you for your INVALUABLE comments! I will immediately expend more money on the Squadron vacuformed canopy set; if it saves me five minutes on this project it will be worth it. I’ll post your question on the Battle of Midway discussion group – if I get an answer from the cognoscenti there I’ll make sure it ends up back in this blog!


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