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Boeing B-47 Stratojet
Here is my LDD model of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet. This venerable jet bomber is built to minifig scale. As always, leave a comment if you like. Check out my flickr page for larger pictures https://www.flickr.com/photos/118702264@N05/. The LDD model is available on my Etsy site: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/KurtsMOCs.
About this creation

The B-47 Stratojet was a long range, strategic medium bomber for the Strategic Air Force of the United States Air Force. Over 2,030 Stratojets were produced between 1951 and 1965 and its primary mission was to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union. The Stratojet was also adapted to other missions, including photographic reconnaissance, electronic intelligence and weather reconnaissance. The B-47 had a wingspan of 116 ft (35.37 m) and was 107 ft (32.37 m) in length with a maximum takeoff weight of 230,000 lb (100,000 kg).


The B-47 has shoulder-mounted 35 degree swept wings with twin inboard turbojet engines mounted in pods and single outboard engines near the wingtips. The Stratojet has a pressurized forward compartment for a pilot and co-pilot seated in tandem under a long fighter-style bubble canopy and a navigator/bombardier in a compartment in the nose. The co-pilot doubled as a tail gunner (using a remotely controlled, radar-directed tail gun) and the navigator as a bombardier.

The wing foil was flexible, varying as much as 5 ft (1.5 m) up or down. To maintain control, the aircraft’s maximum speed was limited to 425 knots (787 km/h). Fowler flaps extended well behind the wing to enhance lift at slow speeds. You can see on the model that the flaps extend and the landing gear is fully retractable.


The design of the B-47 began in 1943 when Boeing responded to the U.S. Army Air Force’s informal requirement for a jet-powered reconnaissance bomber. Its initial design, known as the Model 424, was a revised version of the B-29 Superfortress with jet engines. The following year, the USAAF issued a formal request for proposal to design a new bomber with a maximum speed of 550 mph (890 km/h), a cruise speed of 450 mph (720 km/h), a range of 3,500 mi (5,600 km) and a service ceiling of 45,000 ft (13,700 m).

Wind tunnel testing in 1944 revealed that the engine placement produced too much drag. Thus, a revised design, Model 432, had the engines buried in the forward fuselage. The design solution was expected to use General Electric’s new TG-180 turbojet engine. Model 448 incorporated a 35 degree sweptback wing and tail. The design retained the four TG-180 engines mounted in the forward fuselage and two in the rear fuselage. This engine configuration was not favoured by the USAAF.

The final iteration of the design was Model 450 that incorporated two TG-180s in a twin pod mounted on a pylon with another engine at each wingtip. The thin wings provided no room for the landing gear so a “bicycle landing gear” configuration was adopted. The two main gear assemblies were arranged in a tandem configuration and outrigger struts fitted to the inboard engine pods. In this image, you can easily see the outrigger struts and extended flaps.


The USAAF ordered two XB-47s in April 1946 and the first one rolled off the production line on September 12, 1947. The second XB-47 prototype was available in 1948 and equipped with the more powerful General Electric J47-GE-3 turbojets. Later, the first XB-46 was retrofitted with the newer engines. For this model, I wanted the engines to be as circular in profile as possible. Using the Lego curved pieces rather than angled bricks allowed me to achieve that.


The B-47 was so fast that in the early days the aircraft set records and described by the press as the “fastest bomber in the world.” The bomber handled well in flight but was sluggish on takeoff and too fast on landings. When I considered how to build the Stratojet, I wanted a SNOT design but due to the thin, swept wings I had to make it from plates for strength and to maintain the correct profile. Lets call it A-SNOT (Almost Studs Not On Top)?


SAC operated B-47 Stratojets from 1951 through 1965. By 1956, the U.S. Air Force had 28 wings of B-47 bombers and five wings of RB-47 reconnaissance aircraft. Here, you can see the bomb bay open with a Mk 41 thermonuclear bomb nestled within.


B-47s were the first line of the U.S. AIr Force’s strategic nuclear deterrent and operated from forward bases in the United Kingdom, Morocco, Spain, Alaska, Greenland, and Guam. Here you can see the pair of jettisonable external tanks, each with a capacity of 1,780 US gal (6,700 l).


Initial mission profiles included the loft bombing of nuclear weapons. As the training for this imposes repeated high stress on the aircraft, the airframe lifetime would have been severely limited by metal fatigue, and this maneuver was eliminated. However, bomber crews were trained in “pop-up” attacks, coming in at low level at 425 knots (787 km/h) and then climbing abruptly near the target before releasing a nuclear weapon.


The most common production version of the Stratojet was the B-47E, which flew in January 1953. Production changes and upgrades resulted in four “block” or “phases.” The Block 4 B-47E received upgraded J47-GE-25A engines that featured a significant improvement in the form of water-methanol injection. This allowed increased thrust on take off but the engines left a trail of black smoke behind them. The B-47E saw the return of ejection seats and the twin .50 in guns (12.7 mm) in the tail turret were replaced with twin 20 mm (0.79 in) cannon to provide more firepower.


Here is an exploded view that highlights the model’s conception and construction. Since there were a few variants of the Stratojet that I wanted to model, I decided on a modular approach that would allow for interchangeable parts. All of the sections connect with connector pegs. The three nose configurations include the B-47B on the left with the glass nose, the B-47E with the nose bomb sight, and the RB-47H variant with the more streamlined nose.


In this view, it is easier to see the rear sections. The far left is for the B-47E, the centre is for both the B-47E and B-47B and includes the interior-mounted JATO (Jet-Assisted Take Off) bottles and the far right is the section for the B-47B with the external, jettisonable “split V’ or “horse collar” rack fitted under the fuselage. The Mk 41 thermonuclear bomb is also clearly visible from this angle--a nasty little device!


A close up view of the fuselage underside and internal bomb bay with the Mk 41. The bomb bay doors retract fully.


Here is a section of the cockpit of the B-47E variant showing the pilot and co-pilot in tandem arrangement and the navigator/bombardier. The E variant removed the windows from the nose, so it must have been a bit claustrophobic up front! Also, there was a temperature difference between both positions in the cockpit due to the glass canopy and making the interior a bit uncomfortable.


Another view showing the control instruments. The B-47's distinctive canopy was a bit tricky to get right. You can almost imagine Jimmy Stewart climbing around in there!


Here is the B-47B variant with the glass nose and the internal mounted JATO bottles. The information I found had the internal JATO bottles mounted only on the B-47E variants but I’ve found pictures of them mounted on the B variant. One of them is inevitably correct but regardless, I put them on the B variant for this image!


Here is a B variant on the ground getting the external JATO bottles mounted on the rear fuselage while the flight crew enters the bomber. The model has a removable cockpit door near the nose.


JATO take off! What a crazy way to get a plane in the air! The JATO bottles helped overcome the J47-GE-3's lack of thrust and get the Stratojet airborne in a shorter distance. Once in the air, the JATO collar was dropped from the aircraft.


Here is the RB-47H variant used for electronic intelligence (ELINT) missions. The blunt nose and various blisters and pods are the most identifiable features. The bomb bay was replaced by a pressurized compartment that accommodated three “Crows” or Electronic Warfare Officers. I can’t imagine working in a bomb bay that had poor noise and temperature control. The downward firing ejection seats were ineffective at low altitudes. Crows sat bobsled-like on the pilot compartment access floor for takeoff and landing; having to crawl encumbered with Arctic clothing with parachute to-from their compartment along an unpressurized maintenance shelf during temporary level-off at 10,000 ft (3,000 m).


A bulging radome replaced the bomb bay doors. The RB-47H retained the rear guns but added jammers and chaff dispensers. RB-47Hs were upgraded with the Silver King electronic systems that were mounted in a large teardrop pod on the right side of the fuselage. Also, two pylon style antenna were attached under each wing beyond the outboard engine. Operations were often classified Top Secret and would last over ten hours.

Thanks to Wikipedia for the information and specifications.



Comments

 I made it 
  June 11, 2017
Quoting Doug Hughes By the way, funny story that led me back to this MOC: I had a coworker stop by my desk and he was describing his old days in his childhood in India and an air force experience with a base in the Himalayas. I was curious what the biggest airplane was that flew into this very small and not very built up base and he said Fairchild Packets, and he mentioned Jato bottles were regularly used as it is a high altitude base (I was not familiar with that term, though I had heard of rocket assisted takeoff) so I googled "jato bottles", and lo and behold, whose lego creation pops up partway down the page of images!! Awesome eh!
Thanks for the great story Doug!
  June 6, 2017
By the way, funny story that led me back to this MOC: I had a coworker stop by my desk and he was describing his old days in his childhood in India and an air force experience with a base in the Himalayas. I was curious what the biggest airplane was that flew into this very small and not very built up base and he said Fairchild Packets, and he mentioned Jato bottles were regularly used as it is a high altitude base (I was not familiar with that term, though I had heard of rocket assisted takeoff) so I googled "jato bottles", and lo and behold, whose lego creation pops up partway down the page of images!! Awesome eh!
 I made it 
  February 15, 2016
Quoting Firas Abu-Jaber Absolutely fantastic and very realistic model! High quality. A+
Thanks for your comments Firas. I'm glad you like the model!
 I like it 
  February 15, 2016
Absolutely fantastic and very realistic model! High quality. A+
 I made it 
  December 21, 2015
Quoting Comrade Stribog Outstanding job sir, very good! I love it.
Thanks for your support Comrade! I'm glad you like the design.
 I made it 
  December 20, 2015
Quoting Ed A Great work! Nice underrated choice of the B-47 for a build. You have really pulled it off. Love the modular approach.
Thanks for the comment Ed! I've always liked the B-47 because of its unusual design. The modular approach makes it easier to produce different variants, plus its also fun to build in different ways! I'm glad you like it!
 I like it 
  December 20, 2015
Great work! Nice underrated choice of the B-47 for a build. You have really pulled it off. Love the modular approach.
  December 19, 2015
Outstanding job sir, very good! I love it.
 I made it 
  December 10, 2015
Quoting Steffen Kasteleiner I agree with the others - what a great model! You really did a nice job smoothing it out, and the "cut open" picture of the nose and cockpit section reveals a great interior. A very asthetic looking model. Two thumbs up from me:-) Best regards, Steffen
Thanks Steffen! I appreciate the positive comments and I'm glad you like the model.
 I like it 
  December 10, 2015
I agree with the others - what a great model! You really did a nice job smoothing it out, and the "cut open" picture of the nose and cockpit section reveals a great interior. A very asthetic looking model. Two thumbs up from me:-) Best regards, Steffen
 I made it 
  December 7, 2015
Quoting Sasch Weidler Very good!
Thanks!
 I made it 
  December 7, 2015
Quoting James Donovan That's a beautiful model of the B-47, Well Done!
Thanks James! I appreciate your support.
 I made it 
  December 7, 2015
Quoting Starbuck Starfighter Great plans, and fantastic write-up and presentation, which can sometimes be just as difficult to achieve as the build. 5/5!
Thanks for your support and I'm glad you like the model and the information. Half the fun in building these models is doing the research!
 I like it 
  December 7, 2015
Very good!
 I like it 
  December 7, 2015
That's a beautiful model of the B-47, Well Done!
 I like it 
  December 6, 2015
Great plans, and fantastic write-up and presentation, which can sometimes be just as difficult to achieve as the build. 5/5!
 I made it 
  December 6, 2015
Quoting Ninja Star Incredible! I love how you achieved in my opinion the iconic cockpit, and also the turret and wings. Great job!
Thanks for the comments! I'm glad you like the details. I went through several iterations of the canopy until I found one that worked well. The rear turret is a version of the one on my B-29. I wanted the wings to be as thin as possible, but it still needed to fit the flaps and ailerons as well. In the end, it didn't turn out too bad! Thanks for the support.
 I like it 
  December 6, 2015
Incredible! I love how you achieved in my opinion the iconic cockpit, and also the turret and wings. Great job!
 I made it 
  December 5, 2015
Quoting Oran Cruzen A great work of Lego "B-47" creationism! Very well done!
Thanks for your support Oran. I'm glad you like the model.
 I like it 
  December 4, 2015
A great work of Lego "B-47" creationism! Very well done!
 I made it 
  December 4, 2015
Quoting A QIEA QIEA wooooow rally a Wonderful work and amazing details .. I think this aircraft is very hard to build because the Cylindrical shape but any way you made a great job here .. well done
Thanks for the comments! The fuselage was tricky and it took a while to figure out the right building strategy to get the right look. I'm glad you like the result!
 I like it 
  December 4, 2015
wooooow rally a Wonderful work and amazing details .. I think this aircraft is very hard to build because the Cylindrical shape but any way you made a great job here .. well done
 I made it 
  December 3, 2015
Quoting BATOH rossi absolutely fabulous! Now, please, take a B52!
Thanks for your positive comments! I'm not sure about the B-52: there are so many good models out there, I'm not sure what I could add. Stay tuned though, you never know what might happen!
 I like it 
  December 3, 2015
absolutely fabulous! Now, please, take a B52!
 I made it 
  December 3, 2015
Quoting Stephan Niehoff Awesome
Thanks Stephan!
 I made it 
  December 3, 2015
Quoting Nick Barrett Stunning model of this beautiful plane.
Thanks for your comments Nick! I'm glad you like the plane and the model.
 I like it 
  December 3, 2015
Awesome
 I made it 
  December 3, 2015
Quoting Jeremy McCreary Masterful and very thorough documentation of my favorite aircraft as a kid -- in both LEGO and written form. Especially loved the name and the bomber-fighter hybrid look, and you definitely captured that.
Thanks for your comments Jeremy. I'm glad you like the model. I've loved the Stratojet since I was young too, especially for the look of its cockpit, landing gear, and engine arrangement. What a design!
 I like it 
  December 3, 2015
Stunning model of this beautiful plane.
Kurt's MOCs
 I like it 
Sphinx Rising58
  December 2, 2015
Awesome job! Love the details! I made a miniature one of these & a B-52 as commissioned work back in the day (took me forever) & each sported a 5 foot wide wing span. One day, I will re-create both in Legos, but chances are, they will be a lot smaller than yours.
Kurt's MOCs
 I like it 
Matt Bace
  December 2, 2015
Wow! A minifig-scale B-47 is quite an undertaking. This model demonstrates you usual impressive attention to detail, and I really like the modular approach with interchangeable sections to represent all of the variants. Great job!
 I like it 
  December 2, 2015
Masterful and very thorough documentation of my favorite aircraft as a kid -- in both LEGO and written form. Especially loved the name and the bomber-fighter hybrid look, and you definitely captured that.
 I made it 
  December 2, 2015
Quoting Sphinx Rising58 Awesome job! Love the details! I made a miniature one of these & a B-52 as commissioned work back in the day (took me forever) & each sported a 5 foot wide wing span. One day, I will re-create both in Legos, but chances are, they will be a lot smaller than yours.
I'm glad you like the model. Good luck on your recreations!
 I made it 
  December 2, 2015
Quoting Locutus 666 Great build. Love the moc and love the plane. Didnt know that with that poor guy i nthe E-variant. Not a place for a good site seeing. ;)
Thanks for the comments. The Crows, or EWOs, in the RB-47H had it rough! I think that's why everyone loves the B-52 instead!
 I made it 
  December 2, 2015
Quoting Misa Nikolic Wow, another win!
Thanks Misa!
 I like it 
  December 2, 2015
Great build. Love the moc and love the plane. Didnt know that with that poor guy i nthe E-variant. Not a place for a good site seeing. ;)
 I like it 
  December 2, 2015
Wow, another win!
 I made it 
  December 2, 2015
Quoting David Roberts The tandem fighter style cockpit always intrigued me on this aircraft too. It's unusual but not unkown, with the PR.9 and B-57 versions of the Canberra springing to mind: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Electric_Canberra The Vulcan was thought radical in having a joystick like a fighter instead of a wheel like a big bomber: nowadays giant Airbus are flown from tiny side-sticks! Definitely worth you while adding the B-47 to your portfolio of interesting aircraft: thanks for highlighting it!
Excellent points about the PR.9, Canberra, and Vulcan. I have an interest in the Canberra as a project, but those engine intakes need to be modelled accurately to be convincing. Something to think about...
 I like it 
  December 2, 2015
The tandem fighter style cockpit always intrigued me on this aircraft too. It's unusual but not unkown, with the PR.9 and B-57 versions of the Canberra springing to mind: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Electric_Canberra The Vulcan was thought radical in having a joystick like a fighter instead of a wheel like a big bomber: nowadays giant Airbus are flown from tiny side-sticks! Definitely worth you while adding the B-47 to your portfolio of interesting aircraft: thanks for highlighting it!
 I made it 
  December 2, 2015
Quoting Gabor Pauler Whao, its nice! Almost like a photo. Engine nacelles are just perfect. Congratulations!
Thanks Gabor, I'm glad you like the design. The engine nacelles gave me the most grief. They were the first thing I designed, but I was afraid they might not work with the rest of the design. I wanted to try something different than angled blocks.
 I made it 
  December 2, 2015
Quoting Matt Bace Wow! A minifig-scale B-47 is quite an undertaking. This model demonstrates you usual impressive attention to detail, and I really like the modular approach with interchangeable sections to represent all of the variants. Great job!
Thanks Matt. The modular idea came from my Eagle Transporter design and a few other models I have on the go. I'm glad you like the end result!
 I made it 
  December 2, 2015
Quoting Kermunklin the Giant Evil House Head Wow, this is very detailed, and the attention that you spent to make it realistic is jaw-dropping. Having said that, the B-52s are a much better band than the B-47s; also the B-47s might not even be a band, so I think they got you there!
Thanks for your comments Evil House Head. I can't argue about who is the better band although the B-47's "Rock Crab" will always be an unappreciated masterpiece.
 I made it 
  December 2, 2015
Quoting Clayton Marchetti Beautiful job as always Kurt! Jimmy Stewart would approve! I love how you made the rounded fuselage, wings, and the open section of the cockpit. Fantastic detailing. Outstanding!
Thanks for the comments Clayton. It took several iterations to get a good working design for the fuselage and wings. The cockpit section was a bit of fun! I'm glad you like the results!
 I like it 
  December 2, 2015
Whao, its nice! Almost like a photo. Engine nacelles are just perfect. Congratulations!
 I like it 
  December 1, 2015
Wow, this is very detailed, and the attention that you spent to make it realistic is jaw-dropping. Having said that, the B-52s are a much better band than the B-47s; also the B-47s might not even be a band, so I think they got you there!
 I like it 
  December 1, 2015
Beautiful job as always Kurt! Jimmy Stewart would approve! I love how you made the rounded fuselage, wings, and the open section of the cockpit. Fantastic detailing. Outstanding!
 I made it 
  December 1, 2015
Quoting David Roberts A very accurate looking model of this vintage jet. I like your modular approach, especially for the interchangeable noses to get models of the various marks. This would be a very efficient way to do this with real bricks. It's a fairly obscure aircraft, overshadowed by the B-52, is there a reason why you chose this as a subject?
Thanks for your comments David. Part of the design intention for the B-47 was to make it buildable. The modular idea was derived from some of my other projects. As for the subject matter, the B-47 always intrigued me for two reasons: the fighter-style bubble canopy on a bomber and the JATO-assisted take-off! I've wanted to build the Stratojet for a while, but it took me a while to find a design solution for the fuselage that worked. Also, the B-47 is relatively unknown in Lego so I wanted to contribute something to the Stratojet's Lego legacy!
 I like it 
  December 1, 2015
A very accurate looking model of this vintage jet. I like your modular approach, especially for the interchangeable noses to get models of the various marks. This would be a very efficient way to do this with real bricks. It's a fairly obscure aircraft, overshadowed by the B-52, is there a reason why you chose this as a subject?
 I made it 
  December 1, 2015
Quoting Seaman SPb Beautiful plane!
Thanks for your support!
 I made it 
  December 1, 2015
Quoting Henrik Jensen This is an outstanding model of this Cold war bomber! And really great write up, it`s always exiting to read about these historic planes. I like how you cover all the different variants, and how smooth you made the fuselage. Excellent Work!
Thanks for your comments Henrik and I'm glad you like the model. Getting the B-47's fuselage profile and taper was a challenge. I like the research part of building these models and its nice to hear you do as well.
 I like it 
  December 1, 2015
Beautiful plane!
 I like it 
  December 1, 2015
This is an outstanding model of this Cold war bomber! And really great write up, it`s always exiting to read about these historic planes. I like how you cover all the different variants, and how smooth you made the fuselage. Excellent Work!
 
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