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A Bit o' Lace - Airfix 1/72


Enzo the Magnificent

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The original Airfix B-17G, issued in 1962, came with markings for "A Bit O' Lace" of the 709 Bomber Squadron.  The following year it was re-issed in a new box with an iconic Roy Cross box art.   I always wanted to build one of these but never got the chance.

 

Well, now is the time...   but using the latest Airfix kit, issued in 2016, combined with decals from Kits World.

 

Rather than insult you with my pathetic attempts at sprue shots, let me direct you to the excellent Britmodeller review by @Paul A H

 

 

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Let me point out that I have been progressing this build since the start of the groupbuild.  Although it may appear to be built up very quickly, I assure you that it is at my usual slowish rate. :)

 

 

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Ah yes, it wouldn't be an Enzo thread without large chunks of building between updates ;) The Airfix sprues do look very nice, I've got one in the stash myself

 

James

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Here we go.  Hold on tight, rider!  :lol:

 

There are a lot of internal parts.  I doubt that mst of them will be seen on the finished model but it was fun buuilding them and I know they are there.  :) 

 

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Seat harnesses from Eduard. 

 

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Cockpit and bomb bay assembly built up.

 

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The interior is starting to be assembled.

 

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The nacelles then had their internal components added.

 

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And some more...

 

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Back to the fuseage which seems to have a never eding supply of detail parts.  It was very satisfying putting this all together.  :thumbsup:  

 

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Fuselage, wings and tailplanes assembed - seperately.  They are all just clipped together here to see how things look.

 

 

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Transparencies fitted and masked.  Things started to go awry here.   I fitted the port waist gunner's window but didn't use enough cement.  It came adrift when I attemoted to mask it and is now running amok inside the fuselage.  :wall:  I know that B-17Es had this position open so I might just remove the transparency on the starboard side to match.  :shrug:   I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it.

 

By the way...   I don't expect the gun barrels to survice the rest of the assembly sequence.  :fraidnot: 

 

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Wings fitted, filled and sanded.   The model was them primed with clear lacquer from a rattle can, followed by a coat of grey car primer to highlight any areas tat still need attention.   There were a few...

 

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The yellow areas (with the exception of the area in front of the cockpit) were then sprayed from a rattle can.   I used Fiat Broom Yellow.

 

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And we're pretty much up to date.  :thumbsup: 

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Well the Airfix recent tool waist windows, as nice as they are, are of a later type than Miss Lace carried. Actually the whole kit is of later model, but essentially the same as the old Airfix kit. The easy solution is just to mask and paint them to look like the earlier three-pane versions. I did that in a KUTA build a year or two ago. I used the Eduard set for a Revell kit. If you manage to shake the window piece out, just trim off the lips and insert it from the outside when the kit is otherwise finished. When I de-staggered the waist of the KUTA build, I had to do just that. V-P 

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5 minutes ago, vppelt68 said:

The easy solution is just to mask and paint them to look like the earlier three-pane versions.

 

I did notice that when I googled pctures of the real aircraft.  I'm glad I did that as it seems that the anti-glare panels in the inside faces of the engine nacelles are different to those shown on the Kits World decals sheet.

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8 minutes ago, Enzo the Magnificent said:

 

I did notice that when I googled pctures of the real aircraft.  I'm glad I did that as it seems that the anti-glare panels in the inside faces of the engine nacelles are different to those shown on the Kits World decals sheet.

No no, not that company as a provider of reference, never! Here's all you need to know, and you can still do your own masks for it.

Edit: just download the .pdf-instructions.

https://www.eduard.com/eduard/masks/aircraft/1-48/b-17g-antiglare-panels-(ve-production)-1-48-1.html

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3 minutes ago, vppelt68 said:

Here's all you need to know, and you can still do your own masks for it.

 

 

It seems that they were a different shape than shown by Eduard.   I have already painted and masked them in accordance with photographs.  That was a very easy job.  :thumbsup: 

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7 hours ago, PhantomBigStu said:

Not to be the builder ruiner as it  looks like it’s too late to correct it but BOL has the unstaggered waist guns as far as I’m aware 

Stu, so was the old Airfix BOL too. I think Enzo is building a tribute build.

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19 hours ago, PhantomBigStu said:

Not to be the builder ruiner as it  looks like it’s too late to correct it but BOL has the unstaggered waist guns as far as I’m aware 

 

Photographs confirm that.  And yes, it's a bit too late for me to rectify now.   Oh well...  :shrug: 

 

 

11 hours ago, vppelt68 said:

 I think Enzo is building a tribute build.

 

Er...   yeh!  That's right.  That's exactly what I'm doing.  :lol: 

 

Most of the markings have been applied and masked off.  The exception is the green bands.   I originally intended to apply those as well but when I did so they ended up ragged.  I also didn't have the correct shade of green.   I believe the green is Willow Green.  A good match is Game Color 72.030 Goblin Green.   I have a bottle winging its way to me as we speak.

 

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The Miss Lace has become an icon also as a model. It's probably the most modelled B-17G in the whole world, at least in the 1:72 scale. There are also some same iconic inaccuracies in 99% of the BOL models. Let them be as such.

 

But regarding historical accuracy, I very much doubt her nose anti-glare panel would ever have been painted yellow. In May 1945, that the widely spread colour photos of her in-flight were taken, the olive drab had been exposed to all sorts of weather for more than ten months. And let's not even start about the colour fidelity of WW2 era photography... 😀

https://www.americanairmuseum.com/archive/media/media-18287jpeg

V-P

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I looked through our 447th BG archives, and here's what the front of 42-97976 Louie the Creep looked like before being repainted as Bit O' Lace. The early glare shield looks like the standard OD.

 

LOUIE-THE-CREEP-sbh.jpg

 

 

One thing I had not noticed is that the tally markings on Louie the Creep are below the glare shield while there was still just a single row. I always assumed that by the time the plane was Bit O Lace the shield paint had bled down into the row of bombs... but actually, the second row was added above the first such that it encroached into the faded shield area.

 

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A decent look at the underside of 42-97976 later in the war

A-BIT-O-LACE-19.JPG

 

...and also the upper wings

A-BIT-O-LACE-21.JPG

 

 

I have more BW pics, but the color ones should be helpful.

 

 

Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
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I know this won't directly apply to your build, but might serve as some inspiration.

 

The original Milton Caniff artwork of Miss Lace as displayed in the Mighty Eighth Museum in Savannah during our 447th BG reunion in 2013.

 

Charleston-reunion-Oct-2013-5912.JPG

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The color shot of the nose I posted earlier was pretty beat up, but this BW might be a good comparison between the artwork sent to Rattlesden for the plane and how it was eventually painted on the nose of 42-97976.

 

A-BIT-O-LACE-12-sbh.jpg

 

 

 

 

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I would like to thank @Ol' Scrapiron for the excellent photos.  It has led me to think (which is never a good thing...)  All the profiles and decal instructions that I have seen show the area in front of the cockpit as yellow.   However, the photos above show that it clearly isn't.  It's a very faded olive drab.  So faded that it's almost a tan colour.    So that's how I'm going to portray it.   It works out well because I have painted it the wrong shape anyway.  :) 

 

 

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On 10/4/2023 at 6:25 AM, vppelt68 said:

Miss Lace sure looked sensational - and then they painted her on a B-17! 😍

 

media-18289

 

I think they also used her on a P-61, all be it shes on her knee’s but I think it’s basically the same woman/outfit/model. 
 

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:548th_Night_Fighter_Squadron_Northrop_P-61B-2-NO_Black_Widow_42-39408.jpg

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On 06/10/2023 at 02:14, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

I think they also used her on a P-61, all be it shes on her knee’s but I think it’s basically the same woman/outfit/model. 
 

https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:548th_Night_Fighter_Squadron_Northrop_P-61B-2-NO_Black_Widow_42-39408.jpg

I think that looks more like a Varga girl. Here's another look at spectacular Miss Lace!

canifflaceprint5caf

 

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The next sep was to spray the natural metal finish.  For this I mostly used rattle cans.  Autotek used to make an aluminium paint which was excellent for painted aluminium finishes such as RAF High Speed Silver.  They have recenty withdrawn that colour and replaced it with three different ones: alloy wheel, steel wheel and silver wheel.

 

The alloy wheel colour is ideal for weathered aluminium finishes and is the base colour here.  The silver wheel colour is much darker and is good for anodised aluminium on items such as wheels and undercarriage legs.  However, if you are careful and only apply a light dusting of the colour, it can be used for darker grades of aluminium such as the leading edges here.  The steel wheel colour is very dark and is good for jetpipes.  I haven't used it here.

 

The panels surrounding the intercooler vents have been sprayed with Alclad2 Duralumin. 

 

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Masking removed and the model is starting to come to life.

 

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The port wingtip was sprayed with Mig Heavy Chipping Effects and then a random olive drab - whatever came to hand first.  Once it was dry I set to work with a damp paintbrush.   The green bands were masked and sprayed with Vallejo Game Color 72.030 Goblin Green.   I have also modified the anti-glare panel wth Xtracrylx XA1113 Faded Olive Drab.

 

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I then applied the "exhaust staining".   I was a bit puzzled as to how this could be on the top of the wings when there are no exhausts nearby so I checked on that interweb thingy.  I am glad that I did.  It turns out that it is not exhaust staining.  It's oil!    I was all ready to have more staining streaking from the vents but my research showed me that would be incorrect.  The vents do not act as exhausts.  They are part of the intercooler system.  The characteristic streaking from them doesn't actually come from the vents.  The streaking is in between the vents.   It seems that the vents disrupt the boundary layer along the wing which is carrying the oil droplets from the engines.  The boundary layer lifts from the wing surface taking the oil with it.  So the areas behind the vents are relatively clean, with the stripy effect coming in between the vents where the boundary layer hasn't been disturbed.

 

I sprayed Flory Models dark dirt weathering wash to represent the oil.  When it had dried I took a damp paintbrush and cleaned up the areas behind the vents.

 

I'm quite pleased with the streaking but it's not quite as pronounced as some I have seen.   However I remembered some advice about weathering that I was given many years ago.  

 

If you get to the point where you think "That looks good, it just needs a little more..."  then that's when you STOP!  :lol: 

 

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