Relaxing In The BUFF

Why on earth would I start this off with this horrible old "color" photo?

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Because there’s a story behind it. (And there are a bunch more really nice photos below).

This jet is near and dear to my heart as the 28th Bomb Wing is my old unit. Back in 1980 I was a fairly new 1st Lt and stopped in to the 28th Bomb Wing historian’s office to see if there was any interesting info on the Wing’s history available.

A 19-year-old SRA (Senior Airman) was the wing historian, who not only knew nothing about the Wing’s history–or history or historiography in general–he didn’t give a damn about it. This was his first assignment after tech school and all he wanted to do was not get in trouble. This is understandable–this was the Strategic Air Command, after all, famous for "eating its young." (And, apparently, the former historian now works for the IRS destroying email files . . .)

Anyway, I noticed he had about a dozen round files (wastebaskets) grouped in the middle of the room, all filled with 8" x 10" photos. WTF!? I asked what was going on and he told me "orders from SAC." Huh?

In short, the SAC Command Historian had ordered all SAC units to destroy the paper copies of their unit’s histories . . . because they’d been microfilmed at SAC Headquarters and there was "no need to keep duplicates at the field units." This order included the destruction of all original photos contained in nearly 30 years of histories.

Being a bright, young lieutenant (sorry, contradiction in terms), I asked to have the photos. This young SRA got extremely irritated–"NO SIR! You can’t have them." "Are they classified?" "No, but you can’t have them." "What are you going to do with them?" "Take them to the dumpster, sir." (Sound like a typical military conversation, or what?)

Whereupon I informed the kid that I would take them to the dumpster for him, grabbed a huge armful of pics, and walked out the door . . . and that was that.

Probably the most interesting photo in the stack was a 1949 pic of one of the 28th SRW RB-36s (it was a Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at the time) having the huge unit tail symbol painted on the fin and rudder–just like WW II B-29s. Lots of masking tape and a great big spray gun. Maybe I’ll post that pic at some point in the future.

B-52G 58-0235 Spirit of Mt Rushmore, 28th BMW

Anyway, that awful pic of the 28th’s B-52G Spirit of Mount Rushmore above was one of the pics I rescued. From that instant I was committed to "someday" making a decal set for that jet. Twenty-five years later I actually did it!

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This jet was painted in the standard SAC SIOP scheme, with special markings for the 1971 SAC Bomb Competition.

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Actually, thanks to my friend Bill Strandberg, Major, USAF, Ret, I was able to do it. It turns out that when Bill was an AFROTC cadet he photographed the jet on the McCoy AFB (Florida) flightline during the GIANT VOICE (annual SAC bombing competition) in 1971. Note the bad pic at the top of this page (NOT one of Bill’s shots!) was taken at the following year’s RAF bombing competition, where the crew won the BLUE STEEL award for best combined bombing score. Also note that although the paint was sprayed on, after weathering it kinda looked more like it’d been applied with a paintbrush!

B-52D 56-0591 Tommy’s Tigator, 4925 TG (A)

Reaching back much earlier in the B-52 bloodline is this extremely interesting jet assigned to the 4925th Test Group (Atomic) that flew actual nuclear bomb drop missions on Eniwetok Atoll during 1957-8. The nuclear bomb drop missions were painted on the right side of the nose in the early scheme (which did not have any orange). I assume, but have not found photos to prove, the mission markings were retained or repainted when the high-viz orange markings were applied.

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The initial scheme, which included no orange high-viz markings, was worn during most or all of the actual nuclear bomb drop missions. The high-viz orange (FS 12197) markings and large “U. S. AIR FORCE” were applied at a later date; it is unclear whether this ship participated in any nuclear testing missions after the orange was applied.

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The name “Tommy’s Tigator” (tiger+alligator) came from the pilot’s young son’s favorite "fiercest animal ever." It was originally painted in orange with a black drop shadow on the natural metal scheme. When the high-viz orange markings were applied, the name was simply stenciled in black above the tiger head marking as shown on my decal set color sheet.

This jet was destroyed in a Stateside crash during 1959.

B-52G 59-2592 Pink Panther (Purple Panther), 92 SAW

This is my personal second favorite BUFF of all time.

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Assigned to the 92nd Strategic Aerospace Wing (SAW, one of SAC’s deviations from the typical "bomb wing" nomenclature), this jet was painted in the standard SAC Vietnam scheme, with special "Pink Panther" markings for the 1971 SAC Bomb Comp added in honor of the recently released and extremely popular Peter Sellers movie of the same name.

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Please note that although the movie "Pink Panther" was really pink, on this jet it was painted a pale violet color (although it looks kinda pink in this photo), which is why some people called this the "Purple Panther" . . . I suppose in today’s kumbaya world some would call it the "Fuchsia Panther."

 

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We must thank Bill Strandberg for this historical record as well. Shot on the McCoy AFB (Florida) flightline during the GIANT VOICE (annual SAC bombing competition) in 1971.


My 1/72 & 1/144 B-52 decals sets still available are:

1/72 Sets:

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NB-52B “Balls Eight”. MULTIPLE SHEET SET! NASA mother ship for the X-15 and many other X-planes. Full decal markings for ALL schemes and markings worn on this jet over its ENTIRE history. This decal was produced from a HUGE amount of data and photos provided by NASA! This is a HUGE multiple-sheet set!

$34.97

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FOUR BUFFs: B-52G-120-BW, 59-2592, “The Pink Panther,” 92 SAW, Fairchild AFB, WA. This jet was painted in the standard SIOP scheme, with special Pink Panther markings for the 1971 SAC Bomb Comp added in honor of the recently released and extremely popular Peter Sellers movie of the same name. Please note that although the movie Pink Panther was really pink, on this jet it was painted a pale violet color; B-52H-125-BW, 60-0001, “Memphis Belle IV,” 2nd Wing flagship, Barksdale AFB, LA, 1996; B-52G-100-BW, 58-0189, “Special Kay,” 379 BW, 1980 RAF Bomb Comp. Note the bomb striking the RAF roundel on the right side of the nose. The artwork on this jet was exceptionally unusual for a USAF aircraft in 1980!; B-52G-80-BW, 57-6485, “The Big Stick,” 97 BW. This jet wears the standard SAC SIOP scheme, but with the FS 36118 dark gray overpaint of the nose and front fuselage. This set was inspired by my good friend Dan Rees, who passed away earlier this year. Shoot for the stars, buddy!

$34.97

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B-52s. FIVE BUFFS INCLUDING A SPECIAL BONUS! B-52G-75-BW, 57-6471, "Tantalizing Takeoff," 97 BW, Eaker AFB, 1991; B-52D-75-BO, "Tommy’s Tigator," 4925th Test Group (Atomic); ALSO INCLUDING BONUS DECALS! The eight atomic bomb actual drop missions on Eniwetok Atoll, including Operation Hardtack, from June 1958 are included. The later markings with orange high-viz markings are also included; B-52D-55-BO, 55-0086, Snoopy/"That’s Tapioca?," 99 BW, Andersen AFB, Guam, 1968; B-52F-65-BW, "Casper The Friendly Ghost," dropped 50,000th bomb in ARC LIGHT, 320 BW, Andersen AFB, Guam, 1965; SPECIAL BONUS DECALS: specific markings for the NASA B-52H-BW, 61-0025! This scheme was carried from at least 2002 to the present. We include all the special markings except the blue/gold stripes, which you can easily paint yourself.

$34.97

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NB-52A “Balls Three,” the “High And Mighty” (later “High and Mighty One”). NASA’s original mother ship for the X-15 and many other X-planes. Full decal markings for ALL the gorgeous schemes and markings worn on this jet over its ENTIRE history. This decal was produced from a HUGE amount of data and photos provided, especially by NASA, Tony Landis, and David Newman. MULTIPLE SHEET SET!

$34.97

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B-52s. THREE BUFFs: B-52H-130-BW, 60-0008, "Dear Rocky, Not To Win Is A Very Bad Thing," 19 BW, Homestead AFB, FL, 1967-8; B-52D-30-BW, 56-0658, "Cong Crusher," 99 BW, U-Tapao RTAFB, Thailand, February 1968. This jet was one of the last SEA BUFFs to carry nose art; at the time our photos were taken, it was the only B-52 at U-Tapao that still had nose art; B-52F-65-BW, 57-0144, "Mekong Express," 320 BW/454 BS, Andersen AFB, Guam, 1966.

$34.97
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B-52H “Someplace Special” & B-52G “SAC Time”. This set covers TWO famous BUFFS. First is B-52H-165-BW, 60-0057, "Someplace Special" with D-Day stripes, WW II codes C*5D & 410 BG black/white rudder stripes. Special paint job for the RAF Bombing Competition, RAF Marham, July 1981. B-52G-95-BW, 58-0164, "SAC Time," 1708th BW (P), Jedda, Saudi Arabia, Operation Desert Storm. Aircraft from the 416th BMW, Griffiss AFB. On a personal note, this decal set is very special to me because the “Someplace Special” jet from the 410th BMW was inspired by and actually flown by my modeling friend Dan Rees, who passed away from cancer last year. Dan, I know you’re up there modeling away, and this BUFF’s for you, buddy! Only a handful left.

$34.97

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CED72212

B-52s. FIVE BUFFs! B-52G-85-BW, 57-6492, "Old Crow Express," 379 BW. Total of 51 missions from Jeddah during Operation Desert Storm; B-52H-BW, 61-0022, "Yosemite Sam," 319 BW. This was one of at least two B-52Hs from the 319th with this tail marking to participate in the 1981 GREAT STRIKE (RAF Bombing Competition) at RAF Marham; B-52G-120-BW, 59-2594, "Memphis Belle III," 97 BW. This was undoubtedly the fanciest Memphis Belle artwork ever carried on a real Air Force aircraft, and should not be confused with B-52G 59-2584, which also carried the name “Memphis Belle III.” Although transferred to the 2nd Wing shortly before the plane was retired, it was with the 97th she flew her Desert Storm combat missions; B-52G-100-BW, 58-0210, "Conceived For Liberty," 93 BW, August 1984. Although the exact circumstances and date of the artwork on this jet are unknown, this is without doubt the most amazing artwork ever applied to a SAC bomber! It was carried on the right side of the nose only. B-52G-110-BW, 58-0235, "Spirit of Mt Rushmore," 28 BMW, Ellsworth AFB, 1972. This jet carried these markings during the 1972 RAF Bomb Comp, where the crew won the BLUE STEEL award for best combined bombing score.

$34.97

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CED72208

B-52s. This extremely rare set features FIVE BUFFs: B-52G-95-BW, 58-0183, “Valkyrie” of the 93 BW, one of the SECRET SQUIRREL aircraft that flew the very first bombing mission on the first night of the first Gulf War, now on display at the Pima Air Museum. Next is B-52D-35-BW, 56-0672, with Snoopy cartoon artwork “Night Missions Blogh!!” of the 99 BW, Andersen AFB, Guam, 1968. Another Vietnam combat jet is B-52D-35-BW, 56-0677, with a large sharkmouth, from the 43 SW, Andersen AFB, Guam (this is a different jet – and different artwork – from the Monogram/Revell kit), 1968. Next comes B-52H-160-BW, “Mud BUFF” of the 2 BW/96 BS, Barksdale AFB, May 1995. And sporting the red “Barksdale” fin stripe. The final subject is yet another Vietnam vet, B-52D-60-BO, 55-0103, with another nearly unknown Snoopy cartoon character, “Happiness Is Home,” again from the 99 BW, Andersen AFB, Guam, 1968. Since nose art was extremely rare on Vietnam War BUFFs, these three B-52Ds will make remarkable additions to your collection!

$34.97
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1/144 Decal Sets:

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1/144 NB-52B Balls Eight. This was the NASA mother ship for the X-15 and many other X-planes. Full decal markings for ALL schemes and markings worn on this jet over its ENTIRE history. This decal was produced from a HUGE amount of data and photos provided by NASA! 1/144 SCALE.

$18.97

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NB-52A Balls Three. NASA mother ship for the X-15 and many other X-planes. Full decal markings for ALL schemes and markings worn on this jet over its ENTIRE history. This decal was produced from a HUGE amount of data and photos provided by NASA! 1/144 SCALE.

$14.97

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