by: Jeff Dick [ ]
TThis is a bitter sweet build for me. I have been researching B-17's for about 33 years now. Having said that I still find new things every time I pick up a book or study a photo I've seen 2 dozen times already.
When I heard of this new release I was very excited, having seen other aircraft models they have recently produced. Initially I was gung ho, but as I got into it, every time I went to the next step I found issues. Not all were accuracy problems, some were just things missing or poor engineering. I have already done two separate text reviews here, you may wish to read those first, as I go over steps and part numbers of problem areas.
Dimensionally it is pretty good, however the nose where the Perspex fits, is a scale 6 inches too narrow, which gives the nose too tapered a look. Some people have said the fuselage looks too narrow. The fuselage is pretty close but what makes it look narrow are the wings being too thick and not tapering in thickness towards the tip. At the wing root, it is a scale 6 inches too thick, at the tip (measured at the tip attachment) it is again 6 scale inches too thick. This really throws off the right look.
The ILS antenna is way too big, closer to 1/48 scale, I used a nice one from the ESCI 1/72 C-47. I had to shave off all of the clear flanges on the nose Perspex and back paint the surface to make it look better, if you glue it on as is, it will look like "coke bottle glasses". Filling is required on the top seam where the two side window panels fit, as they did not butt it on an existing panel line. There is far too much support plastic in the openings for the astrodome and top front window; you can remove most of it. There is no tapering fairing at the rear of the astrodome. Other than seats, nav table, bomb sight and two guns there is nothing else inside the nose. The forward crew door is the wrong shape and has no hinges or handle. Windshield looks ok but the side windows are too deep, the bottom edge should be even with the rear corner of the windshield. There are a control panel, two seats and two yolks and the top turret mechanism inside, nothing else. Top turret is too tall; I corrected this by sanding the flange on the turret ring down to .010". Radio room window has a pronounced downturn at the rear, I fixed this by masking and filling. Inside of radio room is pretty good although if you install a gun, there is no ammo for it.
Bomb bay is really nice except for a small oversight; the two bulkheads are also part of the wing spar and are angled back by 3 degrees. This makes the front edge of the bomb door curve forward and the rear edge curve inwards, they are not a straight line span wise. Rear fuselage has waist window options, but the framed ones are completely flush where they should be beveled out at the front pane.
There is a notable lack of depth to the horizontal stabilizers,.three scale inches too thin at the root. The tips are also misshapen, an easy fix with a bit of sanding and rescribing. The rear turret glazing sits too far aft, the top corner of it should be even with the rudder's lower tip. Also the frames of the windows are not properly defined. The ball turret windows look wrong all around, the round port is too small and the windows above and below it are far too long.
The wings are really tricky with all the wheel well detail and the intake ducts, make sure the top of the ducts is flush to the seam at the leading edge! Dihedral is right, but the thickness of the wing really bothers me and really isn't fixable. The ailerons are the same cord on top and bottom, they should not be, I added .040" strip stock to the gap on the top to fix this. Missing from all the flying surfaces but the fin are deicer boot indications. I had to fill panel lines that ran around the leading edges and scribe them in. The flap details are ok but not really scale at all.
The engines are great little masterpieces. The opened cowl flaps are far too extended and look like an annular speed brake instead of open cowl flaps. The propellers are too fat at the root and needed a lot of reshaping. All of the tires are too narrow and the tail wheel tire is too deep. The tail wheel strut scissors are a solid web and should be 4 links.
There are no navigation, recognition or formation lights, I used crystal clear and a toothpick to apply them and then painted them. The panel lines are non uniform and some areas are missing or the wrong shape.
There are 37 different colors used, many custom mixed, mostly Humbrol and Testors. I chose to paint it by hand because I am home with a back injury and I can't get around too easy. I built the whole thing on a breakfast in bed tray while semi reclined. Just taking the photos brought on severe pain. I kind of thought of it as a 3D canvas. I did not use the stencil decals because they would not really show on this paintwork. I did use some fuel filler stencils, but there are two missing, there are ten tanks and they only give you eight decals.
Conclusion I like this model and despite the above, I think it looks pretty good, but I hope we don't get these issues with the upcoming Wingscale 1/32 B-17 - I'm just drooling over that one. Build more B-17's.
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