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NB-52B “Balls Eight” NASA Mother Ship


Cutting Edge Modelworks


S u m m a r y
Catalogue Number and Description CELO44011 - NB-52B “Balls Eight”  NASA Mother Ship
Price: each USD$19..99 from Meteor Productions website
Scale: 1/144
Contents and Media: 16 pieces in grey resin and three in clear resin; canopy and wheel masks
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: High level of detail; excellent casting; comprehensive conversion and contents; simple construction; nice clear resin parts; masks round out an impressive package.
Disadvantages: No mounting pylon for the X-plane (to be supplied separately with the X-Plane kits
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

HyperScale is proudly sponsored by Meteor Productions




CLO44011 from the Cutting Edge Modelworks Lift Off Series is a multi part resin conversion designed to convert the 1/144 scale Crown/Minicraft B-52H kit into the NB-52B, serial number 52-0008 used by NASA as a drop ship during the testing and development of the X-15 as well as many other X-planes. 

This set is essentially similar to the CELO44010 set designed to produce the NB-52A, “Balls Three” this aircraft’s predecessor.  This conversion set has previously reviewed here on Hyperscale and can be found at: 


The set consists of the same 16 mid-grey resin pieces, as well as three clear resin pieces, and a Black Magic Canopy and Wheel Hub Masking Set  

The grey resin parts comprise:

·        A new forward fuselage (in left and right halves) 

·        New right hand wing section that incorporates the ‘cut-out’ flap to accommodate the fin of the X-plane that it was carrying aloft. 

·        New vertical stabilizer. 

·        Four engine nacelles and engine intakes. 

·        Three small observation fairings – three for the starboard side of the nose and one for the waist position. 

The clear resin parts comprise the canopy, tail turret (the tail turret casting is different from the NB-52A conversion) and an observation blister.  The rear ends of the canopy and the tail turret have been cast so that they incorporate a portion of the fuselage to ease fitment.  The canopy has also been cast with recessed frame lines to make the task of painting them a little easier. 

This quality of this set is no different from the NB-52A set, the casting is well up to Cutting Edge’s high standards.  All of the parts are crisply cast with engraved panel detail to match the Crown/Minicraft kit.  The trailing edge of the vertical stabilizer is both thin and straight.  The surfaces of all parts are without blemish and there are absolutely no air bubbles present in any of the parts in my set. 

The instructions on how to carry out the conversion are contained on a single A-4 sized sheet that contains both written instructions and photographs of an actual  

Cutting Edge has not provided a pylon (for the X-plane) in this set either.  The construction sheet advises that the pylons for each of the X-planes were different and that the correct pylon will be provided (separately) in each of the Cutting Edge Lift Off X-Plane sets.  Again, I would have liked to have seen at least one pylon provided as the completed model will look a tad odd without one. 

You will also need to purchase (again, separately) the Cutting Edge decal sheet - CED44004 - to complete your conversion as no decals are provided with the set.  

The resin parts are contained within two separate zip-loc bags, with the Black Magic Masking set in a further one.  The parts, masking set and instruction sheet come packed in Cutting Edge’s familiar stout black and yellow box. 

This is a well thought out and well produced conversion from Cutting Edge that will result in a stunning model. 

Scott Van Aken of the Modelling Madness website has tackled this conversion and the results and a blow-by-blow how-to can be seen on his website at:   



Thanks to Meteor Productions for the review samples.

Cutting Edge Modelworks products are available from Meteor Productions Website

Text and Images Copyright © 2004 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created12 January, 2004
Last updated 12 January, 2004

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