Author Topic: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration  (Read 54051 times)

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #100 on: November 03, 2015, 05:25:28 PM »
Scott Pedersen (BatHead) has some really interesting information on his web pages. 

One of my pet what-if ideas for the B-29 Superfortress would be to try and make a maritime patrol aircraft out of it. 

Basically just put it in markings and paint scheme for a late war or early cold war VPB(H) squadron or similar Commonwealth/UK Coastal Command patrol maritime patrol aircraft.  Nothing extravagant aside from markings along with some additional antennas and blisters peculiar to an aircraft of that time frame.  A good example of such would be the blisters, bumps, and antennas found on the PB4Y Privateer that could be used with a what-if Boeing P2B-1 (B-29) Superfortress/Washington B.1.

Some aftermarket items are available from Belcher Bits.  Key among these resin bits are the Leigh Light for the Coastal Command Liberator GRV (B-24D) which should fit without issue to the outer wing.  The other item is much more attractive as it is the first generation Mk24 ASW homing torpedoes.  Belcher Bits also offers some 1500 pound mine shapes and 250 pound depth bombs that include different tail options for the mines.  There are several other bomb types available from Belcher Bits that might work with the Superfortress but that is up to your own imagination and financial resources. 


I suppose ASR/SAR mission equipment should also be considered for the Superfortress maritime patrol/ASW aircraft.  Paragon offerd a very nice SB-29 conversion that included the Higgins' Airborne Lifeboat that would look splendid on the B-29 but now long OOP and scarce in addition to quite expensive.  In 1:72nd scale you can find this same lifeboat included in the Hasegawa SB-17G/H kit and it is quite detailed in addition to being affordable. 

My own interpretatioun of an airborne lifeboat would be to create some kind of containerized liferaft that could be placed between the inboard engines and fuselage so as to keep the bomb bays open for other mission stores and fuel tanks.  I have had the benefit of being able to scavenge several ferry tanks from the 1:48th scale AMT-Ertl/Italeri A-20 Havoc kits that has a unique shape.  While there is only one ferry tank per A-20 kit you can acquire these things from other modelers thanks to their reluctance to use that part on their own A-20 model.  So I ended up with enough to make several paired up halves to create a pod that could easily become a large liferaft that could then be mounted on a bomb rack/pylon between the inboard engines and fuselage on the Superfortress.  The large bomb rack can be sourced from the 1:48th scale B-17F kit that included a pair of these things with what appear to be 1000 pound general purpose bombs.  A lot of modelers do not use these parts in their build so there is a spare parts box near you with a set of these things just waiting for you to ask for the things :)

Other ideas that have bounced around my head include mounting the four-gun turret normally mounted top-forward to be instead mounted bottom-forward to allow the Superfortress to strafe a surface target such as a small boat or surfaced submarine. 

Anyway, those ideas needed to be shared in order to give inspiration to others that are keen to do something different with a B-29.
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Offline The Big Gimper

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #101 on: November 03, 2015, 06:36:57 PM »
And if all else fails, build one in RCAF markings with upgrades.  :o



1/72 Decals are available from Canmilair.

« Last Edit: November 03, 2015, 06:42:31 PM by The Big Gimper »
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #102 on: November 03, 2015, 07:32:32 PM »
Ever since getting my copy of Stewart Wilson's "Lincoln, Canberra & F-111 in Australian service" that briefly mentioned the B-29 was reviewed as an option to build in Australia but determined to have been too advanced and difficult for our industry at the time.  From memory this was when the Lancaster rather than the Lincoln was in line to be produced while the war was still underway and possibly before large numbers of Liberators became available through lend lease. 

What if the lend lease Liberators had been signed off earlier meaning there was no urgency for local production of heavy bombers, pushing the project off until after the end of hostilities.  Perhaps a number of RAAF squadrons could even have been re-equipped with B-29, i.e. Lancaster squadrons withdrawn from Europe to provide an RAAF Wing or Group to the US giving the RAAF chance to operationally assess the main options and Australia went for the B-29 instead of the Lincoln.

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #103 on: November 04, 2015, 02:19:21 AM »
I have a plan to do a 1/48 RAAF B-50MR (have got all the parts) in the Maritime Patrol/Recon role - would basically be done instead of the Mk.31 Lincolns and would be selected since the RAAF was already using B-50 bombers.  The fuller story would be that the RAAF/Australian Govt selected the B-29 as their new bomber instead of the AVRO Lincoln which was far less advanced.  Of course, by the time the first Australian produced aircraft was rolled out, the production variant had turned to the B-50.  Meanwhile the RAAF would have leased two squadrons of B-29s...
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Offline finsrin

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #104 on: November 04, 2015, 09:42:15 AM »
B-29 looking impressive in that Canadian theme.
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Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #105 on: November 04, 2015, 12:14:03 PM »
I have a plan to do a 1/48 RAAF B-50MR (have got all the parts) in the Maritime Patrol/Recon role - would basically be done instead of the Mk.31 Lincolns and would be selected since the RAAF was already using B-50 bombers.  The fuller story would be that the RAAF/Australian Govt selected the B-29 as their new bomber instead of the AVRO Lincoln which was far less advanced.  Of course, by the time the first Australian produced aircraft was rolled out, the production variant had turned to the B-50.  Meanwhile the RAAF would have leased two squadrons of B-29s...
Or the USAAF/USAF sticks with the B-29 designation and makes the B-29D instead of designating it the B-50 to convince Congress that it was a new aircraft instead of an improvement based on the original B-29. 

BTW. the Belcher Bits Mk.24 ASW torpedo also includes several early type sonobouy shapes that can be put to good use.   
« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 12:15:37 PM by Jeffry Fontaine »
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #106 on: November 04, 2015, 12:29:33 PM »
I have a plan to do a 1/48 RAAF B-50MR (have got all the parts) in the Maritime Patrol/Recon role - would basically be done instead of the Mk.31 Lincolns and would be selected since the RAAF was already using B-50 bombers.  The fuller story would be that the RAAF/Australian Govt selected the B-29 as their new bomber instead of the AVRO Lincoln which was far less advanced.  Of course, by the time the first Australian produced aircraft was rolled out, the production variant had turned to the B-50.  Meanwhile the RAAF would have leased two squadrons of B-29s...

If I recall correctly there was a quote in the book I mentioned where a political or senior RAAF type actually stated that the Lincoln was as, if not more, advanced and capable than the B-29.  Then again the powers that be in Australia had a pretty consistent track record of pretending that our existing gear, or worse the new gear they had selected for political reasons, was better than everyone else's, even when public domain facts were to the contrary.

If there was an Australian B-29/B-50 line, would that mean the UK may have chosen to buy GAF built examples to become the Boeing Washington instead of ex US examples, i.e. like the interim acquisition of Canadair Sabres?

Perhaps this would also see an early RAAF adoption of IFR, ELINT and maybe AEW?

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #107 on: November 05, 2015, 04:17:15 AM »
Centaurus VII:
Seems potentially like a good match.  Maybe do a Licence production version for either the UK or the Commonwealth?  Maybe a good selection for a RAAF ASW B-29 instead of the Lincoln Mk.31 - ditch the Turbo-superchargers if operating most of the time at low level.  Put a Mad boom out the back.
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Offline The Big Gimper

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #108 on: November 05, 2015, 04:25:19 AM »
Centaurus VII:
Seems potentially like a good match.  Maybe do a Licence production version for either the UK or the Commonwealth?  Maybe a good selection for a RAAF ASW B-29 instead of the Lincoln Mk.31 - ditch the Turbo-superchargers if operating most of the time at low level.  Put a Mad boom out the back.
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Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #109 on: November 05, 2015, 04:50:03 AM »
If I recall correctly there was a quote in the book I mentioned where a political or senior RAAF type actually stated that the Lincoln was as, if not more, advanced and capable than the B-29.  Then again the powers that be in Australia had a pretty consistent track record of pretending that our existing gear, or worse the new gear they had selected for political reasons, was better than everyone else's, even when public domain facts were to the contrary.

If there was an Australian B-29/B-50 line, would that mean the UK may have chosen to buy GAF built examples to become the Boeing Washington instead of ex US examples, i.e. like the interim acquisition of Canadair Sabres?


That sounds a lot like what much of the Canadian press said about the Vampire vs. the Sabre back when that decision was being made. That reporting would make today's look like responsible journalism.

As for the Washington vs. the Lincoln, from what I've read, the Lincoln was in most practical ways better than a Washington. Based on the comments of an RAF officer who was relating his experience on the two types, this was more due to the wear on the B-29s and B-29As the RAF was operating than it was an indictment on the design itself. He said that most (if not all) of the airframes the RAF received were war weary combat veterans. A number of them had patches where they'd been hit by Japanese fire and subsequently repaired. Apparently, they'd received little in the way of refurbishment before their transfer to the RAF and were always breaking down. This was all compounded by the fact that the RAF had almost no stocks of spare parts for the type since they'd never operated it before and didn't have the money to afford spares for the aircraft they had, forcing them to cannibalize aircraft to keep others flying. As the officer said, they never could have dreamed of a taking the Washingtons on a deployment to Kenya like they did with the Lincoln. The RAF needed nuclear capability immediately and on the cheap. They got what they paid for...and nothing more!



From a performance and technological advancement standpoint, though, the B-29 and its progeny were a step ahead of the Lincoln. Bad as the Washingtons were, the RAF noted that they were more difficult to intercept than the Lincoln, though it wasn't until the Canberra that the Meteors and Vampires met their match. If the Australians had chosen to manufacture it, I'd be interested to see if they'd go with a British engine like the Centaurus or Griffon or just import American ones. From a What If standpoint, the Centaurus is the more interesting option, certainly.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #110 on: November 05, 2015, 06:38:58 AM »
^ Griffon powered B-29?
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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #111 on: November 05, 2015, 07:11:12 AM »
^ Griffon powered B-29?
Well, we did have a W3420-powered one, called the XB-39, so it's not impossible.  Would it have a radiator installation similar to those on the Lincoln and Shackleton?  I wonder if you could transplant the engines from a Shackleton?

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #112 on: November 05, 2015, 07:35:29 AM »
^ Griffon powered B-29?

Centarus powered?
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Online Rickshaw

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #113 on: November 05, 2015, 08:59:40 AM »
I doubt that Australia would have substituted a British engine for the American engines on the B-29.  Doing so would have made the project horrendously difficult and complicated.  Although it might have fixed one of the major complaints about the B-29 in service (the unreliability of it's engines).

I'm interested in the reliability issue.  I've always understood that the B-29 was always troubled with reliability issues, particularly with it's engines, which often overheated and it's remote control gun turrets.  Apparently they often didn't point quite where they were meant to.

I doubt that Australia would or could have undertaken license manufacture of the B-29.  It was, for it's day, a very advanced plane in so many ways and being fully pressurised would have been quite a leap forward compared to the Lincoln.   While the Lincoln flew lower, IIRC, it carried a bigger conventional load internally than the B-29 could.   IMHO, the Lincoln was the right choice at the time for Australian industry.  It was the biggest aircraft we have ever manufactured downunder and was not without it's own share of problems.

The RAAF did operate IIRC two B-29 Washingtons at Woomera on behalf of the RAF for trials.  I wonder how they compared to the Lincolns also in use there?

My father who worked at Woomera in the late 1940s, often recounted of how they would use spare B-29 wheels on jeeps, which were the only vehicles capable of crossing the salt lakes there.  The combination of light weight and low grown pressure allowed them to cross the thin salt layer overlaying the sticky mud underneath, whereas most other vehicles sunk to their axles with great speed.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #114 on: November 06, 2015, 12:04:18 AM »
Rickshaw has a point on the engines, especially as Australia's track record if anything to that point was the opposite, preferring to licence produce and fit US engines to British types, rather than British engines to US aircraft (probably more from necessity than intent), although I do not believe there would be too big an issue with a licence to produce the B-29/50 as the US was already committed to the B-36 and looking towards jets and other advanced designs.

Maybe Boeing, seeing their evolved B-29s being overlooked by SAC (or more to the point, by Curtis Le May), could even have offered anglicised B-29/50/54 to the UK, Canada and Australia to secure sales that they were not getting from the USAF?

The other thought that comes to mind, now there are a couple of Shackleton's around he corner, is a hybrid strategic bomber variant, based on B-29 tech, built instead of the Lincoln.  Don't know exactly how you could do it but maybe Shack engines, nose, 20mm turrets with a B-29 wings and fuselage?

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #115 on: November 06, 2015, 03:17:44 AM »
I doubt that Australia would or could have undertaken license manufacture of the B-29.  It was, for it's day, a very advanced plane in so many ways and being fully pressurised would have been quite a leap forward compared to the Lincoln.   While the Lincoln flew lower, IIRC, it carried a bigger conventional load internally than the B-29 could.   IMHO, the Lincoln was the right choice at the time for Australian industry.  It was the biggest aircraft we have ever manufactured downunder and was not without it's own share of problems.

This is a what if type scenario... ???
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Offline jcf

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #116 on: November 06, 2015, 05:59:43 AM »


I'm interested in the reliability issue.  I've always understood that the B-29 was always troubled with reliability issues, particularly with it's engines, which often overheated   ...

I doubt that Australia would or could have undertaken license manufacture of the B-29.  It was, for it's day, a very advanced plane in so many ways and being fully pressurised would have been quite a leap forward compared to the Lincoln.   While the Lincoln flew lower, IIRC, it carried a bigger conventional load internally than the B-29 could. 

The early version R-3350 problems were sorted.

Lincoln max normal 14,000lbs, B-29 max normal 20,000lbs.
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Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #117 on: November 06, 2015, 06:09:30 AM »
I was thinking the same thing, jcf. I know the early B-29s had issues with the R-3350 when it was new, but the later ones were fine. They powered the Constellation, Neptune, and Skyraider, all of which conducted far longer flights over water than they had any right doing with shoddy engines. And I've never heard of them having any more trouble than anyone else on those engines.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #118 on: November 06, 2015, 07:14:48 AM »
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

Offline jcf

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #119 on: November 06, 2015, 08:06:27 AM »
AEHS articles of relevance to the license build B-29 discussion:

R-3350 History
http://www.enginehistory.org/Wright/Wright%20R-3350.pdf

Comparison of sleeve-valve and poppet-valve engines
http://www.enginehistory.org/members/articles/Sleeve.pdf

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Offline The Big Gimper

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #120 on: November 06, 2015, 08:11:11 AM »
Who makes 1/144 Sea Furies?
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #121 on: November 06, 2015, 12:35:09 PM »
New aircraft or engine designs that do not have early issues are the exception not the rule, especially when talking bleeding edge developments in time of war.  In fact, come to think of it most comparatively trouble free developments tend to be evolutions of existing designs, by well established and skilled teams, using well developed and understood principles, there are not as new as they may appear to be.

For Australian production of the B-29/50 being more difficult than the Lincoln, yes it undoubtedly would be, but would it be impossibly difficult?  Recall where the Australian came from only a few years earlier, what was achieved in that time and then what was achieved not long after, with the Canberra, Sabre etc.  It wouldn't be easy but I really can't see it couldn't be done.

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #122 on: November 06, 2015, 12:58:37 PM »
The early version R-3350 problems were sorted.

True but the question is when and how expensive was it to sort them out?   The Australian choice was made in 1944 IIRC for the Lincoln.  The B-29 was still suffering problems and doubts then.  I think on reflection that the B-29 would have been a wiser choice but not for us to manufacture them.  We lacked the experience and the industry to make it a reality.   We'd have been better off purchasing them or even better, just hanging onto our B-24s, which were fine aircraft and well suited to the role that the Lincoln fulfilled.

Quote
Lincoln max normal 14,000lbs, B-29 max normal 20,000lbs.

I will note that I used the word "internally" to qualify my point, Jon.  IIRC the B-29 was only able to carry a smaller load than the Lancaster internally, when it was first mooted as the carrier for the A-Bomb.  It required considerable modification to make it capable of fitting the Fat Man bomb into it's fuselage bomb bay (I assume it lacked the later external wing hard hard points?).

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #123 on: November 06, 2015, 01:03:06 PM »
I was thinking the same thing, jcf. I know the early B-29s had issues with the R-3350 when it was new, but the later ones were fine. They powered the Constellation, Neptune, and Skyraider, all of which conducted far longer flights over water than they had any right doing with shoddy engines. And I've never heard of them having any more trouble than anyone else on those engines.

Cheers,

Logan

Remember, we are talking about late 1944 if we are considering when the Lincoln was adopted by the RAAF for manufacture in Australia.  At that point in time, the B-29 was suffering quite a few engine failures in the North Pacific and China when used against the Japanese.  The engine's reliability improved, without a doubt after the war but in 1944-45, it was having problems.

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Re: Boeing B-29 Superfortress ideas and inspiration
« Reply #124 on: November 06, 2015, 01:04:44 PM »
I doubt that Australia would or could have undertaken license manufacture of the B-29.  It was, for it's day, a very advanced plane in so many ways and being fully pressurised would have been quite a leap forward compared to the Lincoln.   While the Lincoln flew lower, IIRC, it carried a bigger conventional load internally than the B-29 could.   IMHO, the Lincoln was the right choice at the time for Australian industry.  It was the biggest aircraft we have ever manufactured downunder and was not without it's own share of problems.

This is a what if type scenario... ???

So, no doubts are allowed to be entertained then?   ???