Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Sign in to follow this  
woody37

Boeing B17F Memphis Belle

Recommended Posts

Boeing B17F Memphis Belle

Revell 1:72

box.jpg

The B17 Flying Fortress probably doesn't need an introduction, but it's professional to write one so I will !
It's birth originated from a competition with Douglas and Martin to supply a contract for 200 bombers to the USAAF in the 1930's. This was in part due to it's 4 engines configuration that gave benefits such as load capability and engine out performance, which as we know, would prove to be life saving in it's combat career. Early B17's had the slim rear fuselage with no rear turret, however, combat experience with the bomber proved a lack of effectiveness in the daylight offensive role, particularly with the RAF who used it early on in the war, so further development was required to learn from this experience. The E model introduced the more familiar shape with a much larger tail and rear gun position, new flush transparencies and more powerful engines to cope with the extra weight that evolution had brought upon it. From this was born the F model that was modified to increase combat range and payload. The B17 numerically was mostly employed over Europe by US Eighth Airforce in daylight attacks into Germany. It was realised here that the F model had inadequate firepower in the nose area as the German interceptors made good use of head on attacks. This experience brought about the infamous G model with a chin turret to fight off such attacks. The B17 was liked by it's crews due to the amount of punishment it could receive yet still get home. There's many images available showing B17's flying and back at home with huge sections and engines missing as a result of combat. The later variants had no less that 13 guns to fight off enemy attacks. Whilst it can be compared to the Lancaster, in many ways, it was very different. It was more heavily armed, but carried a much lighter bomb load due to it's primary role in daylight bombing unlike the Lancaster fighting it's war mostly at night.

The kit

The first thing you will notice is the huge box that the kit comes in with it's striking image of the infamous Memphis Belle across the front. Inside there are 8 light grey frets and a huge clear fret wrapped in 4 plastic bags. The fuselage and wing detailing utilises recessed panel lines. On first impressions these look to be a little heavy, but with paint on, they will tone done somewhat. I'm saying this based on completed models of the earlier G models that I've seen. One of the strong points of the modern Revell kits is the vast amount of interior detail you get and this one is no exception. Right through the fuselage, each compartment is nicely populated, the nose, cockpit, bomb bay, radio compartment, waste gun area and tail all have detail candy that not only adds interest, but increases the rigidity of the kit when it's glued together. The amount of detail is reflected in the instruction booklet that has no less than 86 steps to assemble the 235 parts together !

fuse-1.jpg

fuse-2.jpg

nose-detail.jpg

interior.jpg

Wings.jpg

wing-close.jpg

engines.jpg

The B17 bristles with guns and turrets, so it's important that these areas are well represented. Revell has succeeded admirably with this. The guns are nicely detailed with dimpled barrels and the turrets all have plenty of detail in them. The wing spar is incorporated into the bomb bay assembly creating a rigid centre box on which to assemble the fuselage around. This is an area in which Revell have been clever in recent years in that you can leave the wings off until the finishing stages of your build then literally just slide them on to the spars at the last stage without having to worry about filler to blend the roots in. Another feature that stands out to me is the detail in the wheel bays. Fuel tanks and super charger ducting is visible. With the flaps dropped, the bomb bay open and the detailed wheel bays, it's almost a shame to stand the finished aircraft the right way up !

The only fault I've come across on my review is that one of the upper wing halves is warped. I don't think it will be a problem when mated with it's opposing half, and I'm not sure if it's a one off. There was a small amount of black residue on the kit that looks like oil or mould release agent, so whether there was an issue in manufacture on this kit I don't know.

wing-warp.jpg

The Transparencies

On the whole, this fret is impressive, but with one big let down that I'll come to shortly. The fret appears to be a universal one in that it provides parts for both the F and G models. Most of the parts are crisply moulded and will allow that glorious detail to be on show where they reside behind windows. The F model didn't have protruding cheek windows like the G did, instead it had flush windows, which in modelling terms are better because they will show off the interior detail better. What I like about the Revell kit in the cheek windows is that they are part of a larger clear piece so that you can fit them without the risk of spoiling them with glue, another well thought out feature. The ventral gun position in front of the tail can be modelled open or closed as can the waist gun windows. What I have noticed is that on the G model, the upper turret appears to sit too high to which there has been debate. Looking at the picture of the assembled model on the instructions here, this doesn't seem to be the case with the turret used on the F model. Indeed, the turret dome isn't as high as the G turret and the proportions look 'right'.

clear.jpg

Cockpit.jpg

ventral-clear.jpg

cheek-clear.jpg

Now for my only complaint on the clear components. The nose blister is far too thick. Having built the old Hasegawa one years ago which is excellent in this area, I feel the Revell part is very poor and I'm not quite sure why they let this happen. The nose blister is a prominent feature of the B17 and if fitted as standard, you will get a thick luminous ring around where it mates against the nose (as per their box photo). The only two options I can see here is fit an after market part if available or paint the rear surface to eliminate the luminous glow before fitting (or live with it !).

nose-clear.jpg

The Decals

Whilst the Memphis Belle is historically an important and infamous aeroplane and hence a great scheme to use for Revells marketing, it's quite a dull option as far as building a model is concerned unless you really want to build the Memphis Belle. This is where I'm really pleased with what Revell have done. They've provided a fantastic second option - The Shamrock Special. What I like about this is that it has the USAAF insignia's with the red surrounds and nose art, not just on both sides of the nose, but on the tail as well. I'll be building this option ! The decal sheet is in excellent register and the colours vibrantly printed. If you like your builds to have the stencils added, Revell have catered for you very nicely.

decals.jpg

Conclusion

On the whole, this is a great kit. Revell have continued their trend of applying great engineering to a highly detailed model to provide excellent value for money. The interior is amazing, the open / closed options on gun positions, bomb bay and flaps is well designed and in general, the transparencies allow for the excellent interior to be shown off. Apart from the wing warp, the only let down in my opinion is the thick nose blister, however I've no doubt that this will be a success for Revell.

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit logo-revell-2009.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just been doing some tinkering and the old Hasegawa nose blister fits with a small amount of fettling. The one I have is from a G, so will need the relevant cut outs doing, but it's far better. I think I'm going to build it sooner rather than later :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm being a grammar pedant. "Infamous" implies that Memphis Belle was well known for some bad quality or deed, which was hardly the case. "Famous" would be a much better adjective.

Yeah, the nose glass is awful, but I'm not real happy with the "brickwork" panel lines on the aircraft either. Maybe OD over gray will tone that down.

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

Does the Revell kit have same error as the Academy Memphis Belle with the astrodome being present in front of the windscreen? Memphis Belle being an early B-17F shouldn't have this astrodome. I am suspicious as the box art doesn't show the relevent area!

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I've seen online, the kit doesn't have the astrodome fitted for the Belle. Looking at the clear sprues, there are alternative upper nose pieces which give you the option of a plain window or the astrodome.

Hope that helps!

Mike. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The clear sprue contains both the F & G options, as you say, the F doesn't have an astrodome, just flush windows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have just got this and added to my stash, and all I can say is "it's BIG!" :yikes::gobsmacked: . The detailing looks good and is going to be a very long term build. First kit I have seen in a long time with raised panel lines... and moulded in dark green plastic. :mental:

There seems to be a lot of surplus flash on the sprue's but looks realtively easy to clean up, only time will tell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have just got this and added to my stash, and all I can say is "it's BIG!" :yikes::gobsmacked: . The detailing looks good and is going to be a very long term build. First kit I have seen in a long time with raised panel lines... and moulded in dark green plastic. :mental:

There seems to be a lot of surplus flash on the sprue's but looks realtively easy to clean up, only time will tell.

I wouldn't call a 1:72 B-17 "big," nor does this kit have raised panel lines. Maybe you have the 1:48 scale Revell (ex-Monogram) kit instead? A beautiful kit in its own right, by the way!

Cheers,

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

I'm new here and model kits are a little bit difficult for me, but I like it so gonna work hard!

All the same your model seems cool to me. Hope I can do it too some day

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone know if this includes the fairing to cover the ball turret? I'm looking to build a coastal command aircraft without the turret

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The kit is a mixed blessing. 

Pavla makes the vacuformed nose and clear parts, but its up to modeller to rectify uniformly thick wings, weird looking engines, thick MG  barrels and unnecessary deep panel lines.

It can be done, but it requires a lot of work. I did it once and won't do it again.

 

Josip

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 24/02/2019 at 19:36, thepureness said:

Does anyone know if this includes the fairing to cover the ball turret? I'm looking to build a coastal command aircraft without the turret

Ball turret, no. It has the chin turret opening and a fairing to cover it. DON`T follow the instructions when adding that part, do it from the outside when you´ve joined the fuselage!

On 25/02/2019 at 20:33, Josip said:

The kit is a mixed blessing. Pavla makes the vacuformed nose and clear parts, but its up to modeller to rectify uniformly thick wings, weird looking engines, thick MG  barrels and unnecessary deep panel lines. It can be done, but it requires a lot of work. I did it once and won't do it again. Josip

I may agree with you on the other details, but you´re obviously speaking of another kit if you say the mg barrels are thick. They are not. The kit has its defects but the gun barrels are not one of them.

V-P  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The kit is a modified B-17G. All is pretty much the same.  Machine gun barrels are noticeable thick for1:72. Hasegawa 0.50 Brownings are the best ones and Airfix has the worst ones-they look like 20mm cannons.  I've replaced the ones in Revell kit with QB resin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...