Martin XB-51 Artwork

Stargazer2006

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I haven't found a better place to share a quality portrayal of the Martin XB-51 Panther which I found on DeviantART.
The authors of that pic have also derived a whole series of imaginary versions from it, as if it had seen service use in RCAF, RAF and USAF. Take a look at the gallery, it's really worth it!

http://talos56.deviantart.com/gallery/
 

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Abraham Gubler

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This should really go in the bar or something because it's What If speculation.

And while the pictures look great the What If value is dubuois. Simply adding a second pilot seat to an XB-51 is not going to make this short range, low level strike aircraft suitable for Strategic Air Command. A heap load more internal fuel is needed for that mission and considering the internal volume was already consumed that means a different aircraft.
 

Stargazer2006

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You have to understand that I never started a new topic to begin with, because I had no clearance to start a thread in the fiction section. I placed it in the bombers thread. My post was moved once already by the site's Administrator and placed by him where it was when you found it.

You'll also notice that I deliberately only posted the one painting that depicts the REAL XB-51, leaving the remainder only in hyperlink form so as to keep the fictional stuff away from the thread... There is NO need to move the real XB-51 to the fictional section!
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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This is getting stupid. The actual picture posted is a reasonably serious attempt at a drawing of the XB-51. It looks pretty. The linked stuff, obviously what-if.

Placing posts is not a science. If you think a post is wrongly placed report it (via the report to moderator link), give your reasons, and I'll look at it again. There's no need to post in the topic.
 

fightingirish

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Those superb but fictional XB-51 profiles are done by Logan Hartke at our sister forum "whatifmodelers.com".
Link: http://www.whatifmodelers.com/index.php/topic,20962.420.html
 

Talos

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Glad you all liked our What-If XB-51 profiles. I'm Talos on whatifmodelers and likely the Deviantart account he found them in was mine. Logan did all the coloring and shading, while I did the lineart and some of the markings, like the 47th Bomb Wing crest and the SAC band.

I won't debate the What-If-ness here on any of them, since this isn't the site for it, but I did want to comment on our SAC B-51B we did. The idea is that it was a supplementary plane, not intended to be used by them in the first place. Abraham, if you'll recall, the XB-51 is a two-seater already. What we did was move the second crewmember from inside the plane to the cockpit, as well as strip out the nose guns, and fill both places up with internal fuel, as well as install A2A refueling like the B-47 had and wing tanks. Would it reach the USSR from the US, not a chance without a tanker, but should do fine forward deployed to Japan and England until the B-52 (or B-60!) squadrons come on line in greater numbers.
 

Abraham Gubler

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I guess since this picture is now in the right place (Profiles) a bit more speculation and chat about what if is cool. My apologies if posting in response was the wrong form for noting that this thread shouldn't have been in the postwar aircraft projects sub-forum.

Talos said:
Abraham, if you'll recall, the XB-51 is a two-seater already. What we did was move the second crewmember from inside the plane to the cockpit, as well as strip out the nose guns, and fill both places up with internal fuel, as well as install A2A refueling like the B-47 had and wing tanks. Would it reach the USSR from the US, not a chance without a tanker, but should do fine forward deployed to Japan and England until the B-52 (or B-60!) squadrons come on line in greater numbers.

If you replace the guns and LORAN system with fuel you are still only going to be able to marginly improve the B-51's range. Maybe as much as 1,200 NM range (not radius) Hi-Hi-Hi with a 4,000-6,000 lbs bomb load (up from 1,000 NM) . You can't sling wing tanks on a B-51 because the clean varible incidence wing is not stressed for it.

Even with IFR tanking you are going to have an aircraft requiring more tanking support than the FB-111 to make strategic strikes. Since the only rationale for having B-51s in place of B-47s is for its improved low level penetration performance then radius of action goes down. Even with the extra fuselage fuel your Hi-Lo-Hi radius is going to be ~450 NM. Which is still about half the range needed even for a Turkey to Russian Heartland strike mission.

The B-51 was designed to be a great tactical strike aircraft, very much in the mould of the solid nose B-25s and A-26s of WW2.
 

Talos

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You're absolutely right, Abraham, about the B-25/A-26, and even A-20 comparison from WWII. That's exactly what I'd thought about some with it (even if I didn't like the idea of strafing runs with planes like this).

Putting it in SAC colors was a bit of a joke I had had with Logan when we were working on it. Frankly, I just wanted to see how it'd look with a SAC band on it's nose (which I thought turned out pretty attractive in appearance). Most of the ones we've had planned for it are much more strike oriented. So far I've done two alternate engines for it, J-57s (while maintaining the original engine in the fuselage) and Orenda engines. We also have an Avon planned for a UK-built version. RATO, RB-51 belly, and EB-51 EW gear as well. SEA camo, and so forth.

Basically, see how it would look in all sorts of the jobs that planes in it's size class were doing. I've completed lineart for the P-61E and F-15A, so I'll likely be doing some WWII and Korea things soon when he finishes shading them.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Talos said:
You're absolutely right, Abraham, about the B-25/A-26, and even A-20 comparison from WWII. That's exactly what I'd thought about some with it (even if I didn't like the idea of strafing runs with planes like this).

Putting it in SAC colors was a bit of a joke I had had with Logan when we were working on it. Frankly, I just wanted to see how it'd look with a SAC band on it's nose (which I thought turned out pretty attractive in appearance).

You know I've always thought the B-51 would have made a great land based naval strike aircraft. Attacking B-25 stryle with 20mm and skip bombing. In some kind of "WW3-In-Place-Of-Korea" scenario the B-51 would have made an ideal weapon for the reconstituted Marine Bombing Squadrons (PBJ Mitchell in WW2) and RAF/RCAF/RAAF/RNZAF Coastal Command units in place of the high and slow flying Canberra.
 

Talos

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Oh, now that is an awesome idea! Hmm, overall dark blue post-war scheme, more then likely. PB3M-1?
 

Logan Hartke

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Sorry I'm coming into the conversation late, but I recently just found time to start on the profiles again.

Abraham Gubler said:
If you replace the guns and LORAN system with fuel you are still only going to be able to marginly improve the B-51's range. Maybe as much as 1,200 NM range (not radius) Hi-Hi-Hi with a 4,000-6,000 lbs bomb load (up from 1,000 NM) . You can't sling wing tanks on a B-51 because the clean varible incidence wing is not stressed for it.

Even with IFR tanking you are going to have an aircraft requiring more tanking support than the FB-111 to make strategic strikes. Since the only rationale for having B-51s in place of B-47s is for its improved low level penetration performance then radius of action goes down. Even with the extra fuselage fuel your Hi-Lo-Hi radius is going to be ~450 NM. Which is still about half the range needed even for a Turkey to Russian Heartland strike mission.

The B-51 was designed to be a great tactical strike aircraft, very much in the mould of the solid nose B-25s and A-26s of WW2.

I agree with some of this, Abraham, and if I had read this a few months ago, I'd have agreed 100%. From what I've studied about the B-51 since then, however, I would disagree with some of the range issues. Now, if we limit all of your comments to the XB-51, it's absolutely true. I had believed the same thing about wing tanks, too, until I saw studies that showed Martin had planned both a tandem-cockpit variant and a production model with wing tanks! The XB-51's wing may not have been stressed for it, but the production models would have been, it seems. Furthermore, in reading some comments by one of the aircraft's test pilots, he felt that the range issue was never adequately addressed but certainly could have been if they tried. Finally, the podded engine configuration made it natural to swap out the cheek engines for J57s. Put all of those together and throw in air-to-air refueling and it actually does become a practical bomber.

I will agree that it's only good as a trainer or a test/trials aircraft until you do all those things, however, which is reflected by the profiles we have done. The J57 was quite competitive with the J47 for fuel economy, so with J57s up front, you can run them at a lower % of power than the J47s, saving on fuel that way. Also, after take-off, you can shut down the #2 engine in the tail and reduce your fuel consumption by a third for the cruise to target. Over the target you can start it back up for the dash, much like the J47s on the later B-36s were used.

USAFPanther5.jpg


The intention here is that SAC originally buys the thing as a cheap trainer to do the same job that the B-47s were doing training guys but for a lot less money, especially in operating costs and base construction. The gear and crew configuration make it a natural for a lead-in trainer for the B-47, freeing them up for the long-range missions. Martin, however, would soon make the aircraft more enticing to SAC by proposing a J57-powered, IFR-equipped, low-level strike platform fitted with wing tanks. The thing that really makes it great compared to SAC's inventory is its takeoff performance. You're at least tripling the number of airfields SAC can strike from. You can actually use those forward fields in Turkey, take off, fill your tanks, head in low and fast to Sevastopol, drop the nuclear payload, get out of there, tank again if need be, or just divert to a closer airfield for landing (the landing roll for the B-51 was very short--shorter than the Canberra--due to the variable incidence wing and great brakes).

I'm not saying SAC would prefer the B-51 over the B-47 or the B-52, but when every dollar counted in the wake of the Revolt of the Admirals and SAC was constantly pushing Boeing to get the cost of their planes down, the ability to equip three wings with B-51s instead of two wings with B-47s or one with B-52s and it may have been worth it for SAC to go with a few wings of B-51s. Throw in the end of the Korean War and the Air Force may have even forced SAC's hand. Now, I don't see LeMay liking the plane or preferring it to other types, but buying B-51s instead of B-47s for a couple of wings would mean that many more B-52s for SAC--what LeMay REALLY wanted.

All that having been said, both Talos and I intend to do most of the profiles in the scheme of tactical aircraft, primarily in the high-speed, low-level nuclear strike role. This would be the sort of thing that TAC would later get the F-100C, F-101, and B-66 to do. Also, while I love the Canberra and think the aircraft was far more practical than the B-51 could ever have hoped to be, that didn't seem to be a sentiment shared by many in the late '50s and '60s when it was believed that aircraft wouldn't make it to Day 2 if the balloon ever went up. The RAF, RAAF, and USAF came to love and hold dearly to their Canberras, but they were all looking to its replacement almost as soon as it entered service because it was MiG-15 bait down low from the day the MiG-15 debuted. Not only that, but it didn't take long to prove that altitude was no guarantee of safety either.

Do I think the Air Force made the right choice not picking the B-51? In hindsight, yes. Luckily the Cold War never got REALLY ugly, so its best attributes were never required. Do I think it could have been made into a practical, effective bomber? Absolutely.

Fact is, however, that it's so beautiful that it just screams to be profiled, which is 95% of the reason Talos and I decided to do just that.

Cheers,

Logan
 

Zeppelin

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Hi - I came across a link to your mentioned illustrator talos56 in deviantart.
I was looking up Handley Page references to its Victor bomber as I'm building a CGI version in early white anti flash.
I came across the artist reference to "the first B-51 to be ordered was taken by Handley Page to Farnborough in September 1953"
Was there ever any photographs taken of it or other reference about this version ?

http://talos56.deviantart.com/art/Handley-Page-Panther-Mk-1-demo-131672176
and also check out some of the TSR2 images at:
http://talos56.deviantart.com/gallery/
 

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Stargazer2006

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Zeppelin, I know it can be confusing but in Whiff (what-if) world you get to read about things that never actually existed, however detailed and plausible they may be... Martin's Model 234 never went past the XB-51 stage... Not even a USAF preseries batch... let alone a British export version!
 

Logan Hartke

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Sorry for the confusion, Zeppelin. I wrote that backstory and made the profile (see my name in the bottom-right?) based on Talos' line art. I try to keep my what-if aircraft somewhat plausible and write the what-if history for them. Oftentimes, they're modifications of real histories with my proposed aircraft taking the place of some real aircraft. Basically, instead of building a new railroad, I'm just hitting some switches and laying new track. That's what makes it believable. People don't realize where the line between real-world and what-if was crossed because the shift was so minor.

Sometimes us what-if creators (whiffers) are embarrassed slightly when we fool or confuse people looking for real history, but--at the same time--it's one of the greatest compliments we can get. It means the whiffery was very believable and even "might have been".

That is merely an XB-51 with the 1953 Handley Page Victor scheme draped over it. It turned out to be a real looker, I think.

Cheers,

Logan
 

Talos

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XP67_Moonbat said:
Just like a TSR-2 in the "rapsberry ripple" paint scheme.

I have one of those I did in my DA gallery they linked to above.
 

Hammer Birchgrove

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Stargazer2006 said:
I haven't found a better place to share a quality portrayal of the Martin XB-51 Panther which I found on DeviantART.
The authors of that pic have also derived a whole series of imaginary versions from it, as if it had seen service use in RCAF, RAF and USAF. Take a look at the gallery, it's really worth it!

http://talos56.deviantart.com/gallery/

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Grey Havoc

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