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MOC: B-52H Stratofortress


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#1 Ralph_S

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 09:32 PM

I've not been very active on EB for a while and haven't posted any MOCs for a while either, in part because I haven't built all that many new ones.

However, the last one I built is pretty big. With a wingspan of 196 studs and a legnth of 170 it's the biggest single model that I ever built. It was about three years in the planning. Buying parts took a long time, but it also took me a long time to find the time to build it and the confidence that I could do. I didn't want to start this and fail.

So, here goes: my B-52. It's built to a scale of 1/36, like most of my other aircraft and helicopter models. The B-52H I decided to model is 61-0062, nicknamed 'Cajun Fear', in the markings it wore around 2001, when it was assigned to the 20th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. (The aircraft currently still serves with the 2nd BW, but with the 96th BS.)
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B-52H Stratofortress (1) by Mad physicist, on Flickr

The shape wasn't particularly easy, but the main challenge in this project was the sheer size, in particular of the wings. The wing carry-through structure is a very complicated piece of kit. I took great care to make it as strong as possible and also took great care when mounting it in the fuselage. Because the wings are swept back so much, most of the weight (including that of the engines) is located behind the carry through structure, which could easily cause the whole thing to be ripped from the fuselage. So far it is holding up really well. The outrigger wheels don't even touch the ground.
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B-52H Stratofortress (8) by Mad physicist, on Flickr

In the 'seventies, the B-52 was slated for replacement with a new supersonic bomber, the B-1A. The latter was cancelled, but resurrected as the B-1B in the 'eighties. B-1Bs never did replace all the B-52s though, and they currently both serve with the USAF. Until I completed the B-52 model, the B-1B was the largest model in my collection. They're both built at the same scale and the B-52 isn't much longer than the B-1B. The difference is only 16 studs. It does have a much taller fuselage, however, and much larger wings.
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USAF heavy bombers (1) by Mad physicist, on Flickr

It's hard to convey the size of the model in photographs, but perhaps putting a few objects next it will help: a minifig, a standard 2x4 brick and a CD.
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B-52H Stratofortress (26) by Mad physicist, on Flickr

Then again, perhaps swooshing it (or, more accurately, heaving it into the air) gives you a better impression. The picture also shows the undercarriage (which is retractable), the internal weapons bay and the 12 JDAM bombs it carries under the wings.
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Swoosh! by Mad physicist, on Flickr


Cheers,
Ralph
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#2 LEGOMAN132

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 09:58 PM

Thats one nice plane. Great work.

#3 fred67

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 10:07 PM

Impressive!  Nice work!

#4 Rufus

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 10:29 PM

Oh wow.  That's absolutely superb!  I'm amazed the wings don't require external support.

The way you manage to recreate the swept wing angles - apparently without compromise - is unbelievable.  I follow your stuff on flickr, but I'm delighted you've posted it here. Thanks!  :thumbup:   It's on the frontpage.  :wink:

#5 lightningtiger

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 10:36 PM

One word.....AWESOME !
A wonderful creation to scale and detail......excellent engineering from you again 'Ralph_S' and congrats on being Front Paged as well ! :excited:
Brick On Fly On 'Ralph_S' ! :excited:

#6 LEGO Train 12 Volts

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 10:59 PM

I can't handle this giant bomber!  :wink:
Superb work and congratulations for the first page!  :thumbup:
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#7 Alasdair Ryan

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:23 PM

That is one big plane RalphS.
Great work.:sweet:
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#8 toycardriver

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:39 PM

Very nice "BUFF"! And huge!!!

#9 MacK

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:52 PM

Excellent work as usual, and please Ralph... don't drop it :cry_sad:

#10 Aeturnus

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 01:40 AM

Absolutely brilliant. An awesome model!

#11 ISDAvenger

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 01:42 AM

Outstanding job!!!!! As a aviation fan, you did a marvelous job. I like the swoosh picture.
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#12 MikeyB

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 01:50 AM

As a retired Air Force Combat and Aerial Photographer, your builds bring a big smile to my face.  I've logged  hundreds of hours flying on 32 different US and NATO aircraft and your builds are truly spectacular!

I love how you manage to keep the scale and details while using Lego.  

Thanks for sharing!

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#13 SquareBricks

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 02:43 AM

I love it! I'm an Air Force pilot (flew C-17s, currently a T-1 instructor) and I love this build. The massive size is quite appropriate! I'm glad you spend so much time doing it right, and I love that you modeled a specific aircraft and not a "generic" B-52.

If you ever decide to do a C-17 model let me know, I'd be glad to help you with some of the details,
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#14 jonwil

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 02:50 AM

WOW that is amazing.
The B-52 is one of my favorite aircraft.

#15 purpleparadox

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 03:25 AM

What can I say? Outstanding, jaw-dropping, creation. There's no doubt that you're the master of airplane-building!

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#16 LEGO Guy Bri

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 05:08 AM

Wow, THAT was a very awesome thing to see on the home page! What a beautiful bird, one of your best yet, Ralph_S. Great job on the build  Posted Image
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#17 Ferrik

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 07:18 AM

This looks spectacular. :wink: The wings, engines and the cockpit look just the right shape and this MOC is just amazing. :wink: Can't wait to see much more from you.
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#18 OneSnowTrooper

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 09:07 AM

Brilliant! I love it.

How many pieces ?
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#19 Wedge09

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 09:29 AM

Abosolutely fantastic airplane :thumbup:  :thumbup: :thumbup:  

One of the beat MOC I ever seen :classic: :classic:   :classic:

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#20 Ralph_S

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 10:06 AM

Thanks for all the flattering comments. It's cool to see it made the front page. The wings were the main challenge. The length caused some worries. There are Technic beams running down the length of much of them and the stacked plates (11 layers thick at the wing root) mean the wings themselves don't actually bend all that much. the real difficulty was getting them to sweep back at the proper angle. LEGO don't make wedge plates with the right angle, so I couldn't build the wings perpendicular to the fuselage. To get the angle I needed, I mounted the whole wings at a non-normal angle to the fuselage and chose to do so using a Pythagorean Triple. It is something I've done before (on my F-105, for instance), but never on something this big. Also, as soon as you start mounting heavy structures on hinges, you run the risk that the construction becomes to weak or that there is too much play. The key to getting the whole thing sturdy was building the wing-carry-through structure, which is the bit that connects the wings to each other and to the fuselage, as strong as possible.
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B-52 Work In Progress -wing carry-through structure by Mad physicist, on Flickr


View PostSquareBricks, on 11 September 2012 - 02:43 AM, said:

I love it! I'm an Air Force pilot (flew C-17s, currently a T-1 instructor) and I love this build. The massive size is quite appropriate! I'm glad you spend so much time doing it right, and I love that you modeled a specific aircraft and not a "generic" B-52.

If you ever decide to do a C-17 model let me know, I'd be glad to help you with some of the details,
Thank you. I always try to model a particular jet. I enjoy reading about them and looking at pictures, in order to choose a particular one. It also makes my life easier. I'm a stickler for details and since there almost always are subtle differences between individual planes, choosing a particular one at a particular time means I can get everything right. B-52s in particular have undergone so many upgrades and modifications that this becomes important. Jets that can carry cruise missiles are slightly different from the ones that can't, for instance, with extra antennae on the aft fuselage and vortex generators on the upper wing surfaces. Also, back in 2001 not all B-52Hs had been modified for the Heavy Stores Adaptor Beam used to carry the JDAMs.

View PostOneSnowTrooper, on 11 September 2012 - 09:07 AM, said:

Brilliant! I love it.

How many pieces ?
Thank you. I haven't kept track of how many parts I used, so I can only give you a rough guess of a bout 15000, based on the size and past experience.

Cheers,
Ralph
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#21 VFracingteam

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 10:06 AM

Excellent and superb job Ralph-S :thumbup:

#22 green dewback

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 10:08 AM

Your model is whopping awesome !
From the photo it looks almost minifig scale.

#23 Ralph_S

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 10:19 AM

View PostVFracingteam, on 11 September 2012 - 10:06 AM, said:

Excellent and superb job Ralph-S :thumbup:

Thank you.

View Postgreen dewback, on 11 September 2012 - 10:08 AM, said:

Your model is whopping awesome !
From the photo it looks almost minifig scale.

It's scaled 1/36, which is actually bigger than what I would consider minifig scale.

Cheers,
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#24 AmiPolizeiFunk

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 11:46 AM

Awesome!!  :thumbup:

#25 Kai NRG

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 11:48 AM

That amazing!  I love how big it is, it must have taken a LOT of time!  All that grey works very nicely as well!  :thumbup:

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