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Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress (A08017B) 1:72


Mike
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Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress (A08017B)

1:72 Airfix

 

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The B-17 that first flew in 1935 was quite a different beast than the one that flew during WWII, having a glossy bare metal finish, a traditional vertical tail with no fin fillet, and lots of art-deco glass. The press coined the term "Flying Fortress" because of the number of gunnery positions around the aircraft, which stuck and was later trademarked by Boeing. Its first attempt to gain approval and induction into the USAAF was foiled by an unfortunate accident that wrote off the prototype and killed the pilots, but it was given a second bite at the cherry because of its comparative performance, and was eventually accepted into service with more powerful Cyclone engines and without the blister-type waist gunner windows.

 

The E model was probably the first "real" fortress, with a large expanded tail, tail gunner position and guns in the nose. It also has the familiar ball-turret on the underside that stayed with it throughout the rest of production. The F model brought in some more changes, most notable of which is the almost frameless nose glazing, which afforded the bomb-aimer a much better view, although he must have felt commensurately more exposed as a result. The G model with its jutting remotely operated chin-turret was the final mark of the war, and fought doggedly over Europe with a formidable offensive armament consisting of 13 guns. This of course was at the expense of bomb-load, which reduced the further from home the Fortress was sent to bomb.

 

Post war the B-17 was converted and used in a number of civilian roles, as well as some remaining military and pseudo-military roles such as Coast Guard and search and rescue. There are still a comparatively large number of airframes in airworthy condition, and most Brits that have been to the air show circuit (remember those?) have probably seen the Sally-B at some point in their lives.

 

 

The Kit

Airfix released this kit back in 2016 and then followed it up a year later with an RAF Fortress III version and a couple of special editions, one with diorama potential, the other with extra decals.  This kit is a rebox of the original release but with new decal options. The red top-opening box is adorned with the usual high-quality artwork, this time showing a flight of aircraft on a bombing run.  In a single clear bag are nine sprues in grey styrene and a single clear sprue, holding 245 parts in total if the lid is to believed – I’m not counting them!  The mouldings are clean and crisp as we’ve come to expect from modern Airfix, with fine, recessed panel lines and plenty of crisp detail on smaller parts such as the .50 cal gun barrels and breeches.

 

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Construction consists of 137 well-laid out stages, which gives a good indication of the complexity of the model. The kit has an astonishingly detailed interior with instrument panel decals in the cockpit, construction of which takes up no fewer than 55 of those 137 stages. Assembly begins with the cockpit, which includes loads of detail for the control columns and seats, and works its way back through the bomb bay and main wing spar and then the various crew stations and beautifully detailed turrets. The amount of interior detail is excellent, particularly so for the scale. All of the interior details, right down to the .50 cal Brownings and breeches, are beautifully moulded and are likely to entice more than a few modellers to open up the interior. The bomb bay is particularly nice and includes a full load of bombs, so think about leaving it with the bay doors open. Once all of that interior detail is in place and the , the fuselage halves can be closed up.

 

The large wings feature separate ailerons and are packed with detailed parts such as the engine firewalls, leading-edge radiator intake trunks, and fuel tanks. Each engine is made up of four parts, as well as the exhausts, turbochargers and their trunking, some of which can be seen within the gear bays. The cowlings can be built up with the cowling cooling flaps open or closed.  The elevators feature separate control surfaces from the fins, and the moulded-in vertical fin has the separate rudder trapped between its halves during fuselage closure.  In keeping with the rest of the kit, the undercarriage is very nicely detailed, and the tyres of the main wheels are moulded separately to the wheels themselves, which have weighting flat-spots moulded-in and will help achieve a nice, neat finish once painted, and well-detailed gear legs. The wings slot onto the fuselage with the help of the spars, which should provide plenty of strength as well as helping to achieve a positive fit.  If the bomb bay doors are to be displayed open to display the aforementioned detail, they will have to be cut in half prior to assembly. Construction then concludes with the installation of the chin turret, the tail turret and the cheek turrets. The parts for the latter items are moulded entirely from clear plastic, which saves fiddling around with small clear parts and getting gluey finger marks all over them. 

 

From the box you can build one of the following.

 

  • B-17G-70-BO, 43-37756 ‘Milk Wagon’ 708th Bomb Squadron, 447th Bomb Group, Eighth Air Force, USAAF, RAF Rattlesden, Suffolk, England, 1945
  • B-17G-95-BO, 43-38728 ‘5$ with Breakfast’ 851st Bomb Squadron, 409th Bomb Group, Eighth Air Force, USAAF, RAF Eye, Suffolk, England, 1945

 

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Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

Conclusion

This isn't the only available kit of the B-17 in this scale, but it is up there with the best. This recent tooling has excellent detail and even more parts. It won't be a done-in-a-day build, but it should result in a rewarding experience. Overall, this kit is a real gem and should build up into an excellent model.

 

Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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Thanks Mike, I'm waiting for my two pre-ordered kits to arrive and reading this doesn't help me in my wait :winkgrin:.

Not just my personal opinion, but one shared generally among modellers with a specific interest in B-17:s, it does not rank this kit as being "up there with the best", but being The Best B-17 kit in 1:72 scale. It's as simple as that :thumbsup:. V-P

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Thanks for a comprehensive review, Mike. 

 

For those interested, the wing chevrons on 'Milk Wagon' should actually be insignia blue, not black - an easy fix if you want to paint your own. Good to see the yellow cowlings though... sadly HK got that wrong on their 1/32nd release. 

 

Tom  

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