The B-29 has always had a special place in my memory. Shortly after WWII, I was a kid growing up at the end of the Dobbins AFB runway in Marietta, Georgia. Adjacent to Dobbins was the “Bomber Plant”. Later I discovered that the “Bomber Plant” was really a government aircraft factory run by Bell Aircraft Company and specifically designed to build Boeing’s B-29 Superfortress. I can still see those giant aircraft taking off and landing over our house.
Soon, Bell stopped building the B-29s and the Air Force closed the plant. The only reminder left behind was a B-29 on static display at Larry Bell Park. That aircraft got plenty of use by the kids playing under and around its huge bulk.
Years later I met a gentleman who flew as a navigator on the B-29 and who became my father-in-law. I remember the stories he would tell of how “that thing” would struggle to get airborne as they watched for telltale signs of fire in the engines.
All those memories are brought to life in Squadron Signal’s new softcover walk around publication B-29 Superfortress Walk Around. The 8-1/4” x 11” soft back book contains 80 pages of bright and crisp color photographs, vintage black and whites, charts, tables, and pristine artwork. There are over 200 photographs in all. A block of text accompanies each photograph or drawing. The front cover is the work of artist Don Greer and the back cover is an aerial painting of the CFA’s FIFI.
The reader will discover the pages contain a number of in-flight photographs. Of particular interest are the shots taken of the B-29s parked on the ramp showing their billboard-sized nose art. The book is crammed with bright and crisp photographs of the interior taken from nose to tail, including the bomb bays and wheel wells. The pictures of the interior thoroughly document the crew’s stations in detail. The exterior details of the plane are also captured in perfect photographs. The reader will find details of the engines, turrets and guns, control surfaces, landing gear, and markings. Many of these photographs provide close-ups of equipment and systems.
Several bonuses in the form of artwork are included. There is the typical 3-view drawing with specifications. Color tail markings of the 58th Bomb Wing are provided. Contained on two pages of drawings are the typical ordinance carried by the B-29s and the parts that make up the bombs. There is a crew diagram that highlights the pressurized areas. Finally, there are four pages of beautiful color profiles of various B-29s including close-ups of the nose art. One of these profiles is the Soviet reversed-engineered TU-4 Bear.
The author concludes his book by providing a list of the B-29s in existence today. There are a number on static display, but sadly only one is in flying condition – FIFI
The importance of this book in the modeling world cannot be denied. If a modeler wants to take the construction of his B-29 kit to the next level, this book is an absolute must.
Thanks go to Squadron Signal Publications for supplying the book and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review it.