1/72 Revell B-2 Advanced Technology Bomber

Gallery Article by Steve Eggers on Oct 5 2009


Alternate History of the B-2 Advanced Technology Bomber  

The Northrop Aircraft Company’s XB-35 Flying Wing bomber made its first appearance in 1946. Plagued with engine and gearbox problems, the design was adapted for jet power and the eight-jet YB-49 took to the air in 1947. In the months that followed, it was noticed that as the big plane flew about the country: it was often hard to see in the air, and under some conditions it nearly disappeared from the radar screens of the day. For a number of reasons, the YB-49 never went into production. Too advanced for their day, the giant wings went a long way toward validating Jack Northrop’s faith in the basic design. The flying wing concept was relegated to the future.  

By the 1970s, yet another factor was coming into play: stealth technology. This promised to make an airplane hard for an enemy to detect, and even harder to attack. The new airplane, known as the Advanced Technology Bomber (ATB) would have to survive in future combat scenarios. Along with its radar-deflecting shape, it would have to have a low infrared signature in order to evade heat-seeking missiles, and to carry a sophisticated electronic suite. It should resist detection by visual and acoustical means as well as by enemy radar. With massed bomber attacks a thing of the past, the ATB would have to be capable of carrying out its mission alone and without fighter escort: one airplane, carrying out precision attacks, in the absence of many.  

The B-2 program began in 1981, and the Air Force was granted approval in 1987 to begin procurement of 132 operational B-2 aircraft. With the military buildup of the Soviet Union, the emphasis of B-2 development was increased to a conventional role and the number was increased to 200 operational aircraft.. 

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Although the B-2’s flying wing outline seems unusual. Several designs were drawn before deciding on the low-observable, low-profile design. Recently declassified concept art of the other possible B-2 design (LEFT) shows a more angular aircraft with blended body design with the air intakes for the engines on top of the body versus a smooth curved design with the air intakes on the bottom (RIGHT).  

The first B-2 was publicly displayed on 1 December 1988, when it was rolled out of its hangar at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, CA. The aircraft was designed from the beginning to be hard for an enemy to detect. Its smooth and rounded surfaces complimented Northrop’s F-19A Specter. These two aircraft’s design demonstrated an advanced approach to low-observable technology.  

Its first flight was June 17, 1989. The B-2 Combined Test Force, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., was responsible for flight testing the engineering, manufacturing and development aircraft as they were produced. Three of the six developmental aircraft delivered at Edwards continued flight testing.  

Whiteman AFB, Missouri, is the B-2's only operational base. The first aircraft was delivered in 1993. Depot maintenance responsibility for the B-2 is performed by Air Force contractor support and is managed at the Ogden City Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, UT.

The Kit  

Like Monogram, Revell responded to the breakthrough success of Testors' F-19 Stealth Fighter with a "Could Be..." Stealth model of its own.  Only in this case, the plane was the long-rumored B-2 Stealth Bomber.  

Working from known flying wing technology and the accepted requirements of Stealth designs, the engineers at Revell developed this smooth, low-profile, tailless bat-wing design.  Their predictions were fairly on the mark; the actual B-2 turned out to be roughly the same shape and scale as Revell's kit -- but far more angular.  

Released just one year before the actual B-2 "Spirit" was unveiled to the public, Revell's ATB experienced poor sales.  Since the actual B-2 was revealed just a year after this kit hit store shelves, the design was proved hypothetical almost as soon as it arrived.  The Revell B-2 Advanced Technology Bomber remains a Reagan-Era concept classic along with Testors’ an Monogram’s F-19s.  

Only three model companies have released a 1/72nd scale B-2 bomber kit. The first two kits were purely conceptual. Model Technologies released a vacu-form kit of the ATB. Molded in black plastic, this kit features an upper and lower one piece triangle halves and included metal landing gear and a few injection parts. Revell was the first to release an injection molded kit of the ATB, neither kit was remotely close to the actual B-2A. Finally, in 1991, Testors released the actual B-2A Spirit kit.

The kit contains 69 parts molded in a charcoal gray plastic and a clear windscreen. Dimensions of the kit when completed are a length of 14 7/8 inches with a wingspan of 26 ½ inches.


I have attempted this kit three times prior to this one. The first time was when the kit was initially released.  I was 17 years old and wanted to be the first person in the model club with a stealth bomber! How cool would that be parked next to a Monogram B-1! Needless to say, that never happened. Through a combination of being impatient and a lack of skill, this one ultimately ended up in the trash heap.  

The second attempt was when I was in the Air Force. A next door neighbor had one partially built and gave it to me because he was tired of fighting with it. I had it just about complete, but a move to Texas sealed its fate.  

In 2006, I picked one up on eBay and this was it! I knew all the ins and outs of building this kit. This was going to be the perfect what-if.  The kit was complete, painted and decaled.  The landing gear is fragile on this kit and one of the main landing gear struts broke. It was done.  

Now it’s 2009, 21 years since I bought my first attempt. This one also was an eBay find, I paid entirely too much for it, but gosh darn it, I will conquer this kit and have one in my collection! Perseverance!  

At first glance, you can see that Revell borrowed from other aircraft.  The landing gear in this kit looks like an exact copy of the Monogram B-1 kit, as well as the ALCMs.  

The overall construction of this kit is straight forward. Although, after a few build attempts, I did learn that you have to glue the wings on the center section, top and bottom. Then once that is done, glue the top and bottom halves together. This eliminates the step you would get if you had followed the instructions.  

The main landing gear, in my opinion, is very fragile. If I were to do this kit again, I would scratch build different wheel wells and put a different main landing gear arrangement on it, something a little more robust and stable.  

The kit comes with six ALCMs, although I only put one in each weapons bay. You can’t see them anyway, so I figured one was enough.


I had decided that I didn’t want to do the overall flat black paint scheme that was depicted on the box.  On the most recent attempt of this model I had painted it like an early B-2 with the overall FS36118 gunship gray with the flat black leading edge.  I had contemplated doing that again, but I had a “been there, done that” attitude when it came to painting it again. Besides, it looked too much like the actual B-2A.

I found a picture on the internet of a conceptual drawing of the Advanced Technology Bomber in an two-tone gray paint scheme. That picture fit the idea of what I was going for with this model with its multiple shades of gray.

The paint scheme is as follows:

Top is a mix of FS36320 Dark Ghost Gray and FS35237 Medium Gray

Bottom: FS36270 Neutral Gray

Leading Edge/Trailing Edge is FS36375 Light Ghost Gray

The ALCMs are painted overall Ford Wimbledon White, it’s more of an off-white than a bright white, like the landing gear struts, bays, doors, etc…  


All of the decals came from the spares box and place in what would be called “their accepted positions.”. The majority of the markings came from a spare 1/48 Italeri F-22 sheet.  The tail numbers and some stencils came from the Italeri B-2A sheet. The Marvin the Martian art on the nose gear door is from a TwoBobs 1/32 F-16 Fighting Fulcrums sheet.  


I wanted to do a aircraft prep diorama with this model.  When it comes to modern USAF ground crew the Hasegawa kit is the best out there.

The Modern USAF Ground Crew Set comes with a Chevrolet crew vehicle, two fire bottles, a maintenance stand, and two tool boxes. The kit comes with six pilots, three seated and three upright, two security police, and eight maintainers. The detail in this kit is really good.  

I decided to use the crew vehicle, two walking pilots and one Security Police officer in the diorama.  The crew vehicle construction is very easy and does not require any filler. I painted the interior Model Master gloss gull gray and the exterior Tamiya TS-15 blue out of the rattle can.  I decaled the vehicle with decals out of the spares box.  I recalled my time in the Air Force and put a truck number on the side and a SAC shield.  

The crew was painted in the usual green flight suit and black boots. The security police was painted in green fatigues, blue beret, black boots etc…  


This was another one of those just for fun projects. I have always liked the look of this kit and wanted one in my collection. I kind of wish that Revell would release this kit with updated hypothetical marking, maybe marketing it as the “2018: Next Generation Bomber” I know some will shy away from this as not being anything accurate and why waste my time, but I had fun with it. It is nice to get away from the norm and do your own thing.

Steve Eggers

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Photos and text © by Steve Eggers