Corgi AA31805 USAF Boeing B-29A Superfortress Heavy Bomber - "Atomic Tom", 30th Bombardment Squadron, 19th Bombardment Group, 19th Bomber Wing, Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan, June 1950 (1:144 Scale)
"I do not believe that civilization will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two-thirds of the people of the earth will be killed."
- Albert Einstein, physicist
The B-29A was the version of the Superfortress built by Boeing at the Navy-owned Renton plant. The B-29A was essentially the same as the B-29, differing from the B-29 primarily in the wing structure. The B-29 employed a two-piece wing center section that was bolted together at the center line and which was installed as a single unit passing entirely through the fuselage and supporting the engine nacelles. The B-29A used a very short stub center section that projected only a very short distance beyond the fuselage sides. Each pair of engine nacelles was fitted to a separate short section of wing. The outer wing panels attached at the same point on B-29s and B-29As alike. This change gave the B-29A an additional foot of wingspan as compared to the B-29.
The B-29A was powered by four R-3350-57 engines. 1119 B-29As were built, block numbers reaching -75. The 20-mm cannon was removed from the tail turret beginning with production Block 20, and a pair of 0.50-inch guns were added to the top forward turret to provide additional protection against fighter attacks coming from the front. Revised engine nacelles were developed and tested and were to be used on late-model B-29As. These engine nacelles had the oil coolers and intercoolers moved further aft, which gave them a "chinless" appearance. Because of this chinless appearance, these nacelles became known by the nickname "Andy Gump", who was a famous cartoon character of the period. Some early B-29As were fitted with pneumatically-operated bomb-bay doors which could be snapped shut in less than a second. The normal hydraulic doors took seven seconds to close. By early 1945, all B-29s were being manufactured with pneumatic doors as a standard fit.
The B-29 had always been somewhat underpowered for its weight, and in search of more power, one B-29A (42-93845) was handed over to Pratt & Whitney for conversion as a testbed for the four-row 28-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-4360 air-cooled radial engine. This aircraft was later redesignated XB-44, and was readily recognizable by the new engine installation, with the oil cooler intake pulled further back on the lower part of the nacelle. The aircraft had been initially ordered into production as the B-29D, but all contracts were cancelled at the end of the war. However, the B-29D project was later reinstated as B-50A.
Pictured here is a 1:144 scale replica of a Boeing B-29A Superfortress, serial no. 44-69862, 'Atomic Tom,' attached to the 30th Bombardment Squadron, 19th Bombardment Group, 19th Bomber Wing, based at Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan, in June 1950.
Wingspan: 12 inches
Release Date: December 2004
Historical Account: "Atomic Tom" - Following WWII, USAF B-29s were soon to see action again. On June 25th, 1950, the armed forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) invaded South Korea. On June 27th, the UN Security Council voted to assist the South Koreans in resisting the invasion. President Harry Truman authorized General Douglas MacArthur (commander of the US occupying forces in Japan) to commit units to the battle. MacArthur ordered General George E. Stratemeyer, CIC of the Far Eastern Air Force (FEAF) to attack attacking North Korean forces between the front lines and the 38th parallel. B-29 raids began, and "Atomic Tom" was the first B-29 Superfortress to bomb North Korea. This model depicts "Atomic Tom" complete with the famed cartoon feline from "Tom and Jerry" on its fuselage.