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Thread: "Project Bullseye" B-58 Hustler WIP

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    Senior Contributor Stitch's Avatar
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    14 Nov 06
    Patterson, CA

    "Project Bullseye" B-58 Hustler WIP

    Well, since I have actually FINISHED a few of my previous WIP's within the last few months, I figured it was about time to start another one; this will be the much-rumored "Project Bullseye" B-58, which was (supposedly) painted in SAC camouflage colors back in the late '60's to test the B-58's suitability as a supersonic "pathfinder" aircraft for TAC F-105's & F-4's. Up until that time, RB-66's had been used as "pathfinder" aircraft, but they were subsonic, and unable to keep up with the F-105's or F-4's if they had to "bug out", and go supersonic, during the egress from the target. The B-58 seemed to be the perfect solution to this, as It was supersonic, had a better, more advanced ECM suite, could use it's (for that time) very advanced bombing radar, and was actually more maneuverable than either the F-105 (no surprise there) or the F-4 due to it's relatively large delta wing.

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    Imagine the above picture with an arrow-shaped B-58 in place of the RB-66 (P.S. Notice those are all M-117's the F-105's are dropping)!

    However, this is where the story gets fuzzy; there are (supposedly) eyewitnesses who have actually seen the camouflaged Hustlers at Eglin AFB in a secure hanger. There is even testimony from one of the pilots who claims to have flown one of the camouflaged B-58's. Numbers also vary as to how many B-58's were actually used for the tests (between one and three). According to the "sources", the tests were very successful, as the B-58's bombing radar proved to be very accurate for dropping conventional ordnance (probably M117's) on the test range. Furthermore, there was even an official Air Force Tech Order issued for painting the aircraft, T. O. 1-1-4. Some sources cite the colors as simply "SEA camouflage" but, since this WAS a SAC aircraft, it was much more likely it was painted in the standard SAC camouflage colors of FS 34079, FS 34159, and FS 34201, just like the B-52's and FB-111's of the period.

    Unfortunately, in the end, the whole plan was quashed, supposedly due to political pressure from the SecDef, McNamara (which isn't too surprising); he felt that losing a prestigious aircraft like the B-58 over North Vietnam would be politically embarrassing, so he forced the Air Force to carry on with inefficient tactics and obsolete aircraft. I can also imagine that there was no love lost between the strategic air arm of the Air Force (SAC), and a "useless" air arm, like PACAF or TAC.

    In any case, as always, I tend to do the more interesting, off-beat painting schemes, partly because I don't have an airbrush (gasp!), and partly because I'm not very good at weathering, so a relatively "pristine" paint job is all I can really do. Unfortunately I didn't take any "pre-construction" pictures, but here's where I am now:

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    The T.O. calls for gloss black on the bottom but, since gloss paint tends to weather rather quickly (especially in Florida!), I'll probably end up making it more of a semi-gloss, rather than a full-on gloss finish.

    I am currently in the process of decaling it, I'll post more pics as soon as I am able . . .
    Last edited by Stitch; 22 Jul 15, at 19:57. Reason: Tense
    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

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