Author Topic: The Rockwell XYB-1.5 "Bone and a Half" - An Ab-Duck-ted Tale in 1/144 Scale  (Read 429 times)

Offline Brian da Basher

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The B-1 Lancer is one of the most notable and recognizable U.S. Air Force bombers.



Less well-known is an aircraft it inspired, the XYB-1.5 "Lightning Lancer".



It all started when NASA made recommendations to improve the B-1's high-speed performance and range.



Doing away with the complex "swing wing" of the original B-1 not only eased production, but the new, "Semi-Delta" wing allowed the aircraft to carry more fuel for increased range.



Powered by General Electric F-2001 Speed Odyssey engines of undisclosed thrust, the new aircraft was capable of reaching Mach 2.33 1/3, at least on paper. Impressed, the Air Force ordered a service-test batch right off the drawing board and thus the XYB-1.5 "Lightning Lancer" was born.



U.S. Air Force personnel are known for their wry wit and as the aircraft were delivered to the 40733rd Provisional Bomb Wing (Test), crews eschewed the official XYB-1.5 designation and called it the "Bone and a Half".



The timing of this test program couldn't have been better as war would soon break out again on the Korean peninsula.



In 1982 the founder of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, died suddenly.



He was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-Il.



Not only was Kim Jong-Il a talented and ruthless despot, but he was also a cinephile with the desire to become a world-famous director. He stopped at nothing to achieve this twisted goal, even going so low as to kidnap Japanese film talent. However, Kim Jong-Il crossed a red line when he abducted one of Hollywood's top stars.



Ronald Reagan, leader of the Free World and former president of the Screen Actor's Guild was not about to let this stand.



After presenting a list of grievances against North Korea...



the U.S. President asked for and was granted a declaration of war against the Hermit Kingdom. The men and aircraft of the 40733rd Provisional Bomb Wing were soon alerted for a vital mission.



They were to make a surgical strike on North Korean command-and-control centers to coordinate with a Special Forces op to rescue the kidnapped cartoon character. As dawn broke on June 31st, ten "Bone a Halfs" took off, headed towards the enemy capitol at high speed.



The antiquated North Korean air defenses were helpless against those sleek, American bombers and soon chaos reigned in Pyongyang as all major command-and-control facilities were cratered.



U.S. Special Forces Extraction Team Donald was also successful and before anyone could quack about it, the famous duck was soon back on free soil. Fearing an invasion was imminent, the North Korean leader went deep into hiding.



However, no invasion ever came as diplomats from Scandinavia were able to calm things down using economic incentives.



While the war had ended quickly, there was no telling what diabolical plot the North Korean dictator would hatch next.



The "Bone and a Half" would never reach full service status as the prototype F-2001 Speed Odyssey engines consumed their own vitals after only a few months' flight time since cooling engine-pod bay doors would not open, leading to catastrophic failures.



The lack of "Bone and a Halfs" in the sky and the fact that their one and only combat mission was kept classified led to the type's eventual ignominy.



To this day, many so-called "experts" refuse to even acknowledge the existence of the XYB-1.5 "Bone and a Half" and think any such aircraft must be the ravings of someone that's all quacked up.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 03:25:30 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Brian da Basher

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This all began with a 1/144 Panda Rockwell B-1 "Test Program" kit. Isn't that box art stunning?



What's inside the box is pretty state-of-the-art and probably builds up effortlessly for those who aren't all thumbs.

Speaking of build up, here's how it all looked before paint.





The B-1 kit was built stock except for one exception, swapping out the kit's swing-wing for those from a 1/48 Douglas Skyray.





Due to the placement of the engines, I only had to box in any gaps on three sides with card.



I made new canards with rounded tips from the kit's cabin bulkhead.



At the last moment, I also decided to round off the back of the rudder to match those nice curves. This impulsive mod was done in the middle of painting.





Speaking of paint, the old hairy stick was loaded up with a lot of Model Masters Medium Gray acrylic for the uppers. I don't know if they changed the formula or I just got a bad batch, but it was too light and I had to do a bit of customizing to get it where it used to be.



Polly-Scale Light blue was used down below and like all Polly-Scale paints, the coverage and opacity are excellent.



The burner cans were finished in Model Masters Jet Exhaust and the cockpit windows were painted Insignia Blue and given a shiny top coat of acrylic gloss medium.



Decals were a mix from spares except for the large USAFs on the wings and the SAC ribbon on the nose. I wasn't very happy with the larger kit decals and if I had it to do all over again, I'd swap them out for others.



This project took me about 10 days from start to finish since I haven't had the bench time I wanted lately. Before I forget, here's a couple of "money shots" (U.S. penny for scale).






I'd like to thank Mr Wombat for bravely moderating this GB, Bill for sending me the venerable 1/48 Skyray that made this all possible, and the rest of you playing along or just stopping by to look.



I hope you enjoyed the Bone and a Half and reading about some forgotten Second Korean War history even if it seems a bit quacked-up.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 03:26:31 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Old Wombat

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Offline pigflyer

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Another great (duck) tale from the master. One question, these aircraft are not cheap, so, who footed the BILL?
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If it's great, I did it. If it's naff, I found it.

Offline elmayerle

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Beautifique!!  A truly gorgeous work and backstory.

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All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Brian da Basher

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Oof. I just realized I had the scale wrong in the title. This'll teach me to post before I've topped up on coffee.

I'm glad you guys liked the Bone and a Half. It was a lot of fun to put together.

Brian da Basher

Offline ysi_maniac

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It is nice! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Offline Camthalion

  • The man has done a pink tank...need we say more?!
very cool.  Nice work