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1:72 B-17F "Memphis Belle"

Speckled Jim

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Hey guys,

Right this is Miss belle, I got her in late July and got stuck in intending to have her done for a cadet modelling competition is Sept. However I worked well above my capibilities and made promises that I could never meet in the time frame I had been allocated and the Belle became one that I had to stop in the interest of building smaller quicker aircraft like Hurricanes and Harriers (Which really are not ideal quick builds) and then I would myself so tightly up morning of the competition I had 6 small aircraft and I collapsed from exhaustion... I stopped modelling for a few months turning to try and recover a few aircraft I couldn't find it in my heart to continue working on the bigger planes such as Belle and the Nimrod. But now my bottom has been booted and were back in action,




Thats all that been done, the cockpit assembly and it needs a touch up with paint and it can be put aside, My intention is to hopefully by the end of the weekend have the bombadiers section of the nose complete and attached to the cockpit and by midweek have the Bomb bay complete and complete the interior.

Edited by RAF Colonel
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nice choice of subject. the B-17 is never a quick build with all the subassemblies. I've built the Academy G model, and I was struck by how much clear plastic had to be taken into account.

Looks like there's a few weeks of work left in her yet!

You probably know, but the academy kit needs alot of care when attaching the wings, the dihedral for them is way way too much if the wings are joined directly to the fuselage as is. I think some people in other builds have given an indepth solution involving plasticard (I just used little off cuts of plastic and filled in the gap with filler).

Just a heads up, if you need the articles i can link to them.

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Thanks Rowan,

Yes I learned quite quickly that she would take a lot of time, Academy always impresses me with the subassemblies. I built a B-29 before is started the Belle and knew from its quite detailed interior that academy models had that quality. the pictures lie a little bit, if you look at the picture with all the parts you can see that the Bomb bay is almost ready for installation just needing bombs.

But still she'll take me up to Christmas bare minimum. And as for the wings, I was expecting something to crop up, fit not being perfect wings being wrong... or gear being too weak. If you could like me the articles I would be most appreciative I am not very experimental with adding bits and pieces to aircraft but if it looks easy enough I may give it a try.

Thanks for the heads up and stay tuned,


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Thanks Mish!




Sorry about the camera.. its one of these I'll-do-a-thousand-things-in-one-but-I-wont-take-pictures cameras These were completed last night, the bombbay is being loaded as I type one row of bombs are already on so with any luck that will be done tonight... just leaves me with the gruelling task of fitting her armaments.

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Okay guys, its midweek, and were right on schedule!

Over the last few days I have worked on the bomb bay, the bombs have to be tediously added and have a bit of paint added to them as they sit on the rack,


And then that rack gets sandwiched between the cockpit and the rear cabin.



And lastly, earlier this week I commented on a thread on this board how the academy model offered a better B17 model, only to have someone point out the incorrect astroradome that made this model a late B17 and in response I said that anyone who wasn't me could do it with a knife and some putty... well I took the plunge, I decided the belle need plastic surgery and here is the start as I did a quick dry run of the two halves...


I am not keen on plastic surgery but I have started now, and as I type the other side has been sliced and sanded down, when the halves are glues I'll add the putty sealing the gap and making the B17 a proper Belle.

Next deadline is Sunday, I am already working on Glazing and masking it, so the task for Sunday is to get some of the Belles most prominent armaments installed, these include Her waist gunner stations (which I may need to modify), the roly-poly ball belly turret, and her torsal turret as well as all the minor glazing and of course sealing the fuselage together, alot of work in not alot of time!

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Thanks guys, yea I am looking forward to see her done, but she's testing me and my skill! The kit has minor inaccuracies Waist gunner ports are given as clear parts without and option for having the guns hanging out and so right now I am going to replace the clear parts for bits of masking tape and paper, painted, this should give it a more a canvas look, which is more accurate.

The gun port behind the cockpit and forward of the bomb bay is again another piece of clear plastic however I am considering cutting that peice out, taking the spare gun hold and sticking it to the frame work and sitting one of the guns there to give the appearance of the gun port.

Lastly the Port side Cheek Gun position again has a clear glass section with no hole for a machine gun to be sat in, I contemplated drilling but its too risky and so I have a gunning plan. I am going to halve a gun and stick each side on the the respective side of the glass giving the appearance of the cheek gun.

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Sorry that I'm nearly two days late, I was doing a bag pack with the ATC on sunday, however the work still got done and the Belle was finished on time... I just couldn't be bothered last night to let you guys know!

Firstly the Dorsal gun turret,


This is the best picture I could do, camera went all funny when trying to zoom in so these are the best shots possible.

The roly-poly gun turret thing (someone I beg of you correct me!)


The waist gunners position


The fuselage halves joined and the craft all bound up.


The bomb bay.


And lastly the turret installed


Next its onto the wings and firstly I need to drop and make the landing gear, hopefully that will be done for tomorrow and I am going to start on the engines, and try and make two for tomorrow night, might get this girl done for Christmas!

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Sorry for not getting back to you sooner James, thats some great progress on the old girl. The dihedral of the wings is something to look out for.

Here's a build from another forum where he mentioned that he needed to put a spacer in by the wing root:

Hyperscale b-17 build

and here's a build from the same site that has not had a dihedral 'fix':

B-17 build no.2

and where I found out about the issue in more detail, here on Britmodeller:

BM B-17 Link (the academy builds and talk about wings is near the bottom I believe).

It depends how much the wing fit bothers you I suppose. To my eye, unfixed Academy b-17's look a little odd, but i'm not going to get out measuring tape and check. On mine I just crudely modded it and brought the wing dihedral down by a few degrees. See what you think and change it if you feel its necessary :P

Edited by rowmk9
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Thanks Rowan,

I'll give reducing the Dihedral a try, as I said before I am not a plastic surgeon so I may go too far but hey aslong as it looks a bit normaller, and well so far I've done a fair pit of plastic surgery on the girl better not stop now!

Yes she is coming along nicely mish... if only the camera would work when I need it to I'd get a better representation of my progress...

I might get some snap shots up tonight... if the camera works...

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I know Ive left some of you hanging off the edge of the cliff waiting for updates, however progress has been slow, as Ive been caught up in a hundred and one things this week, but without further distractions or interruptions, a showcase of what has happened so far...

A close up of the ball turret


Close up on the Dorsal Turret


Better look up the Bomb bay


Waist gunners position


Here she is sitting on the stumps of her gear


A look down on her


Underside of the wing and the gear


As she stands now


As you can see not much to do now, got to glue the tail plane on, put the wings on and fix them and add the final details before painting!

Edited by RAF Colonel
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l was kinda shocked at how much dihedral of the wings are out in seeing it is a relatively modern kit compared to earlier kits. l want to do at some point the B-17B and F version of the academy kit but upon reading what all you have to say it might be wise to either shim the wings or go another rout and kit bash with the Hasegawa kit. As for the new Revell offering it looks good as is and so far not too many problems with it but time will tell.

Pictures are a bit fuzzy but l can see the progress and it is looking good so far. Looking forward to seeing this finished

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Thanks guys, and welcome Hacker hopefully you wont have long to wait to see her done!

Again I have to apologies about the pictures, I am using an older camera and well even though my hands and eyes are still fine enough to work with 1:600 details I cant stand steady enough to get the camera to take a good photo, especially since it doesn't have a viewing window but one of those LCD screens... So ive changed tact, all pictures are going to be done in the better lit sitting room instead of my dank and rather messy bed room.... In one pic you can see my marching boots and the contents of my wardrobe spilling out... :doh:

Anyway, heres some proper pictures!


Here you can see the difference between a wing hanging in there and a wing sealed on...



Note the missing astroradome!


And yes in some of the shots you may notice the tail wheel and ball turret are missing, the tail wheel has been snapped off accidentally and the ball turret came out... so they will be put back in later today I suppose....

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Well done to date, Colonel. Your the progress will now be directly proportional to the number of parts that go missing or loose; the closer you get the more will squiggle out of the way :rofl: ask me how I know :whistle:

The move to the sitting room was a good one, we all find it much more comfortable there - will there be tea soon??

Also the better light is a boon.

Couple of thoughts on your camera situation.

  • the better light is self evident -the sitting room
  • instead of hand holding the camera place it on a solid base -small tripod, stack of books or some such-then as your not holding it, you lose the normal shakiness of hand held
  • use any camera setting that will give you the best picture- it may not always the one you might think.
  • if trying to take a close up shot and the results are not all you want (ie still blurry) then unselect the "macro-close up" setting and reset to "normal"-- then after the picture is taken, you can enlarge the area of interest on you computer and crop the shot as you desire and that area should be clearer.

I hope I haven't been too presumptuous, but with all your fine work on the B-17, you deserve for it to be seen as clearly as possible.

Good luck & Merry Christmas

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Thanks Prop Duster, I have started using all three of your suggestions and you can see the results to get the wide angled shots of the B-17 I sat the camera on the table and pulled the camera away from the model until all was visible then I took the picture, for the image of the nose looking aft I sat the camera on a Maltesers box that I got for Christmas (contents are now long gone!) and gently tipped the camera forward to the desired angle and click, one was blurred a bit the other nice and clean, and the clean shot is the one I used on here... Now the issue with the sitting room is that every one uses it during the day so I need to take pictures during the night or early in the morning but I think the results are worth it!

Thank you, airfix is on the line should parts go missing, stay tuned and seasons greetings to you all as well!

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Anyone seen the movie "Memphis belle"? well this B17 is determined to be like that B-17... Like in that movie the left gear has been damaged and when its dropped it jams half way through the dropping sequence and to make matters wore the aircraft is on final.... well this models left landing gear has snapped jamming it as close to up as the model will allow... :badmood:

So now Ive torn the top half of the wing off to fix it :pray:

anyway updates, Going, Going...




In other news Ball turrets back, one engine has been mounted

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I found the landing gear to be relatively weak on my Academy B-17G, so don't be too hard on yourself! My tailwheel broke off like yours, and I did have to repair a main undercarriage leg as well.

I'm hoping the Revell kit has got these areas better engineered (not that academy is poor, just needs to be more Rowmk9 proof!)

Great progress, its closing in for a visit to the paintshop :)

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