Thanks to David de Botton, Sam Fletcher, Craig Kaston, and Jim Rotramel among others, I've continued to acquire more information about the airplane.
I've updated this post occasionally, but also created a number of other posts on the F-111B. For a list see http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-complete-f-111b.html
Only seven F-111Bs flew. There were three different configurations, not counting paint schemes and detail differences: the first three, the middle two, and the final two. The first five had the short nose and translating cowl inlet; the final two the long nose and a blow-in door inlet. In 1/72 scale, the Hasegawa F-111C has the requisite long wing, translating cowl inlet, and boat tail for the fifth F-111B, which was used for the carrier landing trials. In 1/48, the Academy-Minicraft F-111C is the equivalent. All that's needed is the nose and decals. (Forget about the Revell kit for just the nose: the F-111B nose is one of the few inaccurate parts in that kit.) At least one aftermarket nose has been available in each scale in the past but these are out of production and hard to find, e.g. the 1/48th nose by Custom Aeronautical Miniatures, except for the 1/144 OzMods Models conversion (see Here).
Microscale Decal Sheet No. 72-132 provided markings for BuNo 151972, including the Phoenix Missile System logo. See http://modelingmadness.com/scotts/decals/super/72/ss72132.htm. It's long out of production but you might be able to find it on eBay.
In any event, for a time these were superseded by 1/72 and 1/48 conversion kits from Pete's Hangar, which in the past had been available from Victorian Hobby Centre in Australia. Unfortunately, they are now out of stock and Pete is no longer with us to supply more.
Pete's conversion includes the F-111B short nose, the complete launch bar nose gear in brass (1/72) or plastic (1/48) with resin wheels, F-111B main wheels, the IR detection pod, a tail hook installation, and paint/markings instructions and decals for the first five airplanes, including the big blue Phoenix Missile System log that was on the tail of 151971 and 972. The original release did not include the early knife-edge boat tail or the F-111B specific speed bumps but these parts were subsequently added. The casting quality is excellent, the nose profile looks right (although reportedly it is not accurate), and the decal sheet is much appreciated, providing complete markings for any of the first five aircraft. If the tail hook installation doesn't look correct for the specific airplane you're modeling, it's easily replaced by a scratch-built substitute.
(The parts pictured above are in the 1/72nd conversion)
Pete also produced a kit with the Phoenix test missiles and the F-111B Phoenix pylons, including decals.
The first three F-111Bs were BuNos 151970, 971, and 972. 970 had a unique paint scheme: the gray/white demarcation line on the forward fuselage was much higher up than on subsequent airplanes. The first three also had Escapac-type ejection seats rather than the crew escape module, no rotating glove slat, under-wing inlet BLC vents, an open tail hook installation, the vertical-fin-tip IR warning antenna, and a knife-edge boat tail. They also had the Air Force nose landing gear although 972 was modified to have a launch-bar nose gear during its test program at Hughes. This is 151971:
The middle two were BuNos 151973 and 974. These had escape crew modules, the launch bar nose gear, the rotating glove slat, the repositioning of the inlet BLC vents to the top of the wing, and a faired-in tail hook. The fin-tip antenna was deleted. 973 had a knife-edge boat tail while 974 had the blunt configuration. 974 was also retrofitted to have the Triple Plow I inlet configuration. It also appears that at least 974 had the landing gear raked aft to reduce the tip-back tendency.
The all important "sit" of the airplane can be established from this drawing:
These pictures illustrate the addition of the rotating glove slat and over-wing vents to the middle and final two F-111Bs.
In addition to the raised cockpit, the production airplanes after the two that were completed and flown were to have yet another inlet configuration. It's not a sure thing that they would have had the production F-111A inlet since the production F-111B might have had a slightly different one optimized for low-speed thrust for wave-off performance.
The following illustrations summarize the inlet and forward fuselage differences. (The inlet labeled Triple Plow II is an early version that only had two suck-in doors instead of three.)
For a discussion of the short versus long-nose inflight refueling probe installations, see http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2012/01/f-111b-inflight-refueling-probe.html
The conversion kit doesn't include the knife-edge boat tail on 970/971/972/973 but it is not too hard to create:
There were four slightly different tailhook installations and boat tails among the four airplanes. (Note that the following drawings are notional, based on bits of Grumman drawings and evaluation of photographs.) There was no fairing above the tailhook on 970/1/2 and it appears to be longer than the ones on 973 and subsequent F-111Bs.
The area above the tail hook was filled in on 973 and 974. However, 973 had the knife-edge boat tail with a fairing (possibly housing an antenna) behind the hook point.
As part of the drag reduction program, 974 had a blunt boat tail not unlike the final F-111A version (note the small fairing behind the tail hook):
The production boat tail, tail skid, and tail hook on 714 and 714 were yet another configuration. The attach point for the hook appears to have been lowered and the hook shortened:
Thanks to Mark Hanson, Curator at the Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul, Illinois, we now have pictures of the mechanism:
The attach point of the door leading edge idler is hidden above and shown here in a picture looking aft at the right shock strut and idler. Note how the idler is curved outboard to clear the shock strut:
The bracket on the maintenance trainer that mounts the clevis providing the upper pivot point for the idler is not representative of the aircraft. As shown here in a picture provided by Craig Kaston, the clevis was actually mounted on the side of the wheel well.
One landing gear change doesn't seem to have attracted much notice. In order to move the main landing gear wheels aft to reduce the propensity to tip back with the wings swept aft, the landing gear was rotated aft around the retraction pivot point. The difference in the pitch of the crossbeam is the visual indication of this change. (Note also that 972 is shod with the Air Force tires.)
I'm no longer sure about the aft door change. The main landing gear "shift" was implemented on 974, 714, and 715. I'm not sure about 973.
Grumman planned to move the wheels aft by eight more inches in production. See http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-f-111b-production-main-landing-gear.html
One error in the review sample from Pete's Hangar was the size of the main gear wheels. This may have been changed but here is an illustration of the size and the differences. In 1/48, the wheels were notably undersized but it's not that hard to convert the Academy wheels to the correct diameter and thickness because the hubs are the same diameter on the A and the B. It should also be noted that at least 970 and 972 were shod with F-111A wheels and tires on occasion.
The first three F-111Bs first flew with the F-111A nose gear and probably the F-111A main landing gear wheels as well. The difference is best illustrated by the red lines on the nose gear door which indicated the position of the landing gear and drag link/retraction struts when the nose landing gear was locked down. Note that the nose gear strut is angled forward.
The F-111B nose gear strut was beefier and mounted vertically. It incorporated the nose-tow launch bar, angle of attack lights, a radar reflector for automatic approaches, etc.
One configuration anomaly is that 972 was repaired using an F-111B nose landing gear after one of its crashes. However, at some point before it was retired, an F-111A nose landing gear was substituted.
Most if not all of the F-111Bs carried a Phoenix missile at one time or another. The Phoenix were an early version with a blunt nose and no antennas on the side. These illustrations provide the details of the pylon, including position.
Although there are plenty of cockpit illustrations in my F-111B monograph, for those who don't want to go to that expense, here is a picture of the cockpit with the full right hand panel. Note that it is 151972, which had ejection seats.
The short-nose F-111Bs had a different inflight refueling probe than the production long-nose airplanes were to have. See http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2012/01/f-111b-inflight-refueling-probe.html
If you can find the Revell kit with the Navy option, it can be built into an accurate representation of one of the first three prototypes. It is gimmicky, with a movable wing, a removable crew module, and a retracting landing gear, all of which require some effort to make it a realistic model (as opposed to a plastic toy). As an older kit, it also features raised panel lines and minimal cockpit detail. The good news is that it does provide the shape basis for the first four prototypes (151970-973) including the original knife-edge boat tail and the speed bumps. The only shape problem is the cross section of the F-111B nose option where it joins the fuselage. For one thing, Revell assumed that the transition began in front of the windscreen and was vertical. It actually started along the forward edge of the crew module until it reached the bottom of the crew module and then went vertically down, well aft of the bottom of the Revell F-111B nose:
As a result, the cross-section where the two different noses attach is a bit too "square" and slightly too large in width and depth for the F-111B at that point:
There may be enough plastic to round it off, but it's going to be close...
If you want to create your own, this is a fairly accurate representation of the short-nose shape for 970-974:
The Revell kit is also missing the Navy tail hook/skag arrangement and the main landing gear tires are Navy in diameter and Air Force in width. Correcting those things is just modeling, like adding some bracing between the fuselage sides and joint reinforcement to avoid fit problems with the crew escape capsule. For one of the first three, as with all the other F-111 kits, you'll have to substitute ejection seats for the capsule seats. These were Douglas Escapac seats, probably Model IC. Note that they have two large pull rings for the face curtain rather than just a single one.
The top of the ejection seat actually sat under the aft edge of the canopy in order for the pilot's parachute, and therefore his body, to be properly positioned with respect to the controls; there was an additional panel behind the side hatches that came off along with the side hatches and the overhead console/canopy center frame to provide clearance for the ejection seat. Also see http://tailspintopics.blogspot.com/2016/07/f-111ab-ejection-seats.html
Finally, here is an matrix of configuration differences by BuNo with a corresponding one providing the characteristics of the production Air Force airplanes represented by kits: