GBU-43/B MOAB

Published: April 29th, 2018     
Product Image
Reviewed by: 
Scott Hollingshead, IPMS# 34876
Scale: 1/48
Company: Eduard
Price: $74.95
Product / Stock #: 648348

The GBU (Guided Bomb Unit)-43/B, MOAB was released by Eduard in 1/72 scale (kit 672160) late last year, and was followed up by this release in 1/48 scale. In U.S. Air Force terminology, MOAB is a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, which is often referred to as the Mother of All Bombs, and for those who build this kit, you will likely refer to it as I do as the Mother of All Brass. The kit looks great built up, but you will want some experience with photoetched brass if you decide to construct one for your collection. I will mention here that it is a good idea to spend some money on your tools from time to time, as I do not know how I would have completed such a project without the Mission Models Etch Mate that I purchased several years ago.

The GBU-43/B was conceptualized in the early 2000's and the first one was tested in March 2003. The bombs are manufactured by the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Oklahoma and consist of an aluminum shell containing H-6 compound, and weigh 21,000 pounds. The MOAB is 30 feet long, has a diameter of 40 inches, and due to its size, it is dropped from C-130 cargo planes. The bomb was used operationally for the first time on 13 April 2017 in Afghanistan.

Upon opening this kit, which is part of the Eduard Brassin line, you will find 18 gray resin parts for the bomb itself, pallet side rails, and one item used on the back of the delivery pallet. Included in the kit are four sheets of photoetched brass measuring 3-3/4 inches by 7-1/4 inches along with one sheet that measures 2-3/8 inches by 7-1/4 inches. There is a small decal sheet with two "MOAB" markings in white and 12 pages of color instructions. The instructions show painting and markings for a display MOAB finished in green and yellow, and a second that refers to different shades of silver.

I found a nice photo online of the all-aluminum finish on a prototype bomb that looks to be at the factory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GBU-43/B_MOAB#/media/File:MOABprototype.jpg), and that is what I chose to represent, as this would likely be the appearance of an operational MOAB. I used Vallejo Gloss Black Surface Primer on everything as a base coat followed by Vallejo Semi-Matte Aluminum and White Aluminum along with Alclad Airframe Aluminum and Dull Aluminum. Some SNJ Aluminum Polishing Powder and Uschi Chrome Polishing Powder were also utilized.

My hits for this kit would include the fantastic resin casting of those parts, and the production of this kit that represents something used in combat for the first time a year ago as I write this. The brass is well made, as one would expect with Eduard, and the relatively few small parts have extra pieces included, just in case.

My only misses do not concern the kit itself, but the directions as step 2 shows the resin edges for the pallet ending flush at both ends, but in my sample, I had to trim about 1/8 inch from one end on each side to make it flush. Later, steps 6 and 7 both fail to show that the five A-frames need to be placed so that the small tabs on the bottom rail will line up with the outer rails (parts PE 33 and 34) once these frames are attached to the center rails.

My building tips would include that in step 2, when installing the resin outer rails for the pallet, start with one rail aligned with an end of the pallet, then add the other three for that side, and then trim any excess resin. In step 6 you need to set up the five A-frames so that the tab on the bottom rail is aft (on the right side looking at the directions) for all of these pieces as this will align the tabs with the slot openings in parts PE33 and 34. Take your time and be patient with step 6 when attaching the center rails (parts PE 14 and 15), as I found this to be the most tedious step of the build. I utilized a metal ruler to establish my 90deg between the A-frames and center rails as I completed one attachment point at a time and allowed it to cure before proceeding. I used fast setting CA glue for the brass parts, and a slow setting CA for the resin. On my sample, I had small gaps on one portion of the nose cone and one portion of the tailpiece when attaching them to the body of the bomb, which I was able to fill with CA glue. Be patient, think ahead on how you will perform multiple bends on some of the parts, use a good bending tool along with a Glue Looper or similar tool to place your CA glue, and you will end up with a quality product.

In conclusion, this turned out to be a fun build that was not as daunting as I thought it was going to be, and I would highly recommend this Eduard kit to anyone wanting to add a replica of the MOAB to his or her collection. Modelers with experience with photoetch brass bending and working with resin should not have any issues with building this kit.

Thanks to the folks at Eduard for providing this sample kit to the IPMS USA for review! I would also like to thank John Noack, who runs the Review Corps for allowing me to appraise this kit, as well as the folks behind the scenes with the Review Corps who keep things running smoothly, and as always, to you for taking the time to read my comments.

  • Resin Parts
    Resin Parts
  • Brass Parts and Decals
    Brass Parts and Decals
  • Pallet Assembled
    Pallet Assembled
  • Pallet Detail
    Pallet Detail
  • Assembled Cradle
    Assembled Cradle
  • Assembled Cradle 2
    Assembled Cradle 2
  • Pallet and Cradle Assemblies
    Pallet and Cradle Assemblies
  • Finished Pallet and Cradle
    Finished Pallet and Cradle
  • Assembled Bomb Before Painting
    Assembled Bomb Before Painting
  • Assembled Bomb, Cradle, Pallet
    Assembled Bomb, Cradle, Pallet
  • Finished Front View
    Finished Front View
  • Finished Rear View
    Finished Rear View
  • Finished Right Side
    Finished Right Side
  • Finished Left Side
    Finished Left Side

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