by Karl Hauffe
As a builder of 1/48th scale aircraft and a B-17 fan, I was very happy in 1975 when Monogram released their B-17G Flying Fortress. Unfortunately I was also a broke college student, and I didn't even see one until Christmas that year.
A quarter of a century later, I finally built it.
This modeling project started out as an experiment in painting and decaling, but I decided to dress the model up a little. The old Monogram 1/48 scale Fortress builds up fairly well for a kit of its vintage. The wings don't fit the perfectly, but overall the model looks like a B-17 when its done.
The fuselage and inner wing panels were painted with the last of my Floquil OD (still the best paint we modelers ever had!). The outer wing panels were done with Model Master acrylic on one side and MM enamel on the other. AeroMaster faded OD was used on the control surfaces. Model Master enamel was used for the neutral gray.
The wing markings (white triangle) were masked and painted, then had the group letter painted the correct Insignia Blue. I wonder why none of the decal manufacturers have picked up on that? The squadron codes, a/c letter, serial number, and nose art came from the old MicroScale sheet. The insignia were mostly MicroScale, but one 25-year-old wing roundel was used. Amazingly enough, the old Monogram decal snuggled right down. AeroMaster furnished the prop decals.
Well, the old bird was starting to look pretty good, so I thought a few more details were needed. Many photos show the chin turret turned to one side (this was done to allow access to the ammo cans inside the turret through a panel behind the bombardiers seat), so I decided that would be a nice touch. It was necessary to add the Plexiglas inspection plate to the back of the turret to add that little something extra. I also turned the sight in the same direction. It was necessary to modify the cheek and radio gun mounts, and then added a sight for the tail gun.
Since it still looked a little bare, I decide to add all of the correct antennas. On top of the nose are the blind landing antenna and the whip for the GEE navigation radio. Under the right side of the nose is the sense antenna for the ADF, while the ADF loop is in the housing just ahead of the bomb bay. Under the radio room is the IFF mast. The fixed Liaison antenna runs from the left side of the radio room to the left wing, while the Liaison trailing antenna is on the lower left side just aft of the ball turret. Just forward of the tail wheel is the marker Beacon antenna and on the spine of the aircraft is the VHF mast. The command antenna runs from the tail to the short mast, while it's lead runs to the right side of the radio room through two insulators. This is the correct configuration for this aircraft (I cheat - I have the blueprints on microfilm).
Finally, I took it out to the airport on a beautiful late summer day and took some pictures with my old Canon AE-1. Didn't turn out too bad!
Model, Text and Images Copyright © 2000 by Karl