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World War II
Discuss WWII and the era directly before and after the war from 1935-1949.
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1/48 B-17F Build - 303rd BGs Luscious Lady
Redhand
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Posted: Monday, April 08, 2019 - 11:51 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Brian,
I'm looking forward to his update. I think that you've made the right decision for all the right reasons.
Joel



A second package of Luscious Lady aftermarket parts and WIP (Work in Progress ) was sent to HG yesterday.



He is currently working to finish another project, but once that is done and the box is received, I expect posts here will greatly increase in frequency.
Redhand
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Posted: Friday, April 19, 2019 - 12:07 PM UTC
"UNBOXING"

I think this term is fast becoming an internet meme from YouTube.

YouTube Matchbox car restorers (Who knew that was a thing?) have started using it as a way to show fan contributions to their repair/restore lists. Here's an example:

Fan Mail Unboxing Video No.1

An email from HG reminded me of this following receipt of B-17 Box #2.



Yeah, I wrote that on the inner box.













I sent HG some detailed rivet drawings and believe we'll see the exterior redone to this level of detail:



I think Phase II - The Exterior - will be starting soon!

Joel_W
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Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2019 - 01:27 AM UTC
Brian,
Looking forward to Mr. Barnes 1st update.

Joel
KPHB17FE
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Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 02:53 AM UTC
Finally took a little time to look in here. There are any number of things wrong with that drawing as a reference for a B-17F, especially an early one. Those grills were for a late heating system. The antennas were attached to the vertical stabilizer, not the wings (those are wrong for EVERY B-17F and G). The Tokyo tanks were not added until the F-55-BO so those outermost filler caps should not be there. Also, looking at the decal sheet, they have the tail number as "425081". Incorrect format, the leading "4" should be deleted and it should read "25081". Here is the drawing with those items Xed out:



Here is the skin diagram for the ealy F models. The nose is quite a bit different from the G regardless of the chin turret:

KPHB17FE
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Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 03:05 AM UTC
There is really no such thing as a rivet diagram other than those created by artists. They tend to make those things generic and do not study the ribs, formers, bulkheads and skin panels. There were variations from the early F to the late F and the same with the G models. And that is not taking into account the cheek guns, chin turret, astrodome and staggered waist guns. The rivet spacing, size and pattern varied greatly. When you get into the actual drawings about installing the skins you come up with pages and pages of drawings like this:



In the end, you can't get super anal about it. Just do what you feel the best with. Having the skin pattern will help get the fuselage close. Just be careful what references you use.
Redhand
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Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 11:02 AM UTC
Karl: many thanks for the diagrams and comments. I'll pass them on to H.G., who will be most interested!
Redhand
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Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 02:02 PM UTC
SO IT BEGINS

H.G. has started his work on "Luscious Lady." He is beginning with the Eduard Brassin B-17 Engines,





which is fine with me.





Here you see some of the parts set out for starters.





and the tedious work of separating the good stuff from the resin blocks.





One "upgrade to the upgrade" that H.G. suggested was to discard the flat brass ignition harness because the real ignition wires were round. He purchased some round wire stock to replace it, and some round tubing, which I think we serve as the circular part of the ignition harness around the gearbox case, from which the individual ignition wires branch out to the spark plugs.




And here you see the difference!





As you know from the beginning of the blog, I am a former (prior lifetime, really) Curtiss-Wright employee, and in the early 80s when I joined the Company the Corp. HQ was at the old Wood-Ridge, NJ R-3350 plant. (It would be quite an understatement to say that the building entrance NOW has seen better days!)





Anyway, while there I had access to an old photo archive, and when Crown Publishers approached the Company to ask for an R-1820 picture for their forthcoming B-17 book





I found this and was duly credited when the book came out.




You can see how "factory fresh" the cylinder barrels and cylinder heads (two separate pieces, BTW) look. Hell, they're virtually black!


While the vast majority of B-17 engines were Studebaker license built products, the "F" models had a combination of the two manufacturers' engines.

For our build, we are going to feature one as a new "replacement" Wright R-1820, and have the other three pass as Studebakers, already well-used and having a more worn, metallic appearance. This shot is from #3 engine on the restored "Memphis Belle."




Regardless of wear level, the cylinder barrels always look a bit darker than the cylinder heads to me.

Here is engine maintenance on the 303rd's "S for Sugar" in October 1943.





The cylinders on the closest engine certainly don't look "black" to me.

Karl, did I get anything wrong on this? What accounts for the difference in colors? Heat?

Stick around, the B-17 posts will definitely start increasing, though H.G. has some attention to devote to other, near-finished projects before diving fully into this.

Joel_W
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Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 02:51 AM UTC
Brian,
Finally, the build starts up once again. the upgrade to the upgrade really is quite a visible improvement.

As to what color the cylinder & heads are, I'm sure that Karl will solve that issue in short order.

Joel
KPHB17FE
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Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 06:34 AM UTC
Simple answer: Both ! Seem to have been unpainted early on but mostly black later. But there are exceptions to both which makes it a bit frustrating. In A & P school, I remember being taught that you didn't want to paint air cooled cylinders as it made them retain heat. And yet it was done and still is. I prefer natural metal. Here are a few contemporaries of "Luscious Lady" and not a painted cylinder among them:





Redhand
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Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 07:47 AM UTC
Thanks, Karl. This gives us "artistic license" to have one painted black and the rest natural metal. It's clearly within the realm of possibility to have this.
Redhand
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Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2019 - 03:11 PM UTC
BITS AND PIECES - ENGINES AND WING

Good Evening All, and a reflective Memorial Day Eve for the other Americans in the audience.

The collaboration between H.G. and me is going very well. He asks a lot of technical questions and has the same passion for getting it right that I do: plus time and a fabulous skill-set. I have no reservations, at all, about the decision to enlist his help in getting this personally important project of mine done.

We last left off discussing black vs. aluminum cylindered engines on 303rd A/C.

The below picture of Luscious Lady undergoing engine maintenance


convinces me that she had at least one black engine at some point in her career. We will stick with at least one, in the #4 position, as shown in the photo.

H.G. and I have had a number of discussions about engine details. These have dealt with various oil pipes going from cylinders and the oil sump at the bottom of the gearbox in the front. You can see these pipes pictured in the brass fret below,



and in the Eduard instruction excerpts below.






A better depiction of his work on this piping is depicted below.



I am impressed at how this "upgrade to the upgrade" is going!

My old employment as a lawyer for Curtiss-Wright, who dealt with radial engine parts contracts at the very end of this product line's life for the Company, makes me especially sensitive to accuracy in modeling theses remarkably complex machines. If you want a good video on what it took to make the real thing check out this wonderful 1942 C-W video available on YouTube!

Moving right along to the wing, here are a couple of detail shots of H.G.'s initial rescribing work on the green stbd wing:





Finally, here is the initial cut at re-scribing the entire stbd wing.



A conscious decision was made not to re-scribe all the rivet detail on the wing. My input on it is that sometimes there can be too much of a good thing if scale effect is ignored, as illustrated by this excerpt from Gullliver's Travels: A VOYAGE TO BROBDINGNAG. Caution: NSFW.

But, I digress. Note above in the wing scribing job how the raised sections where the deicer boots would go have been eliminated. This is because they were removed in combat, and in the case of Group A/C at this time, the bare aluminum was painted over. See the below picture of a contemporary B-17 of the 384th BG, a member of the 41st Combat Bomb Wing (CBW) that the 303rd regularly flew with.


Tomorrow let's remember the fallen in all wars, friend and foe alike.
GazzaS
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Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2019 - 08:02 PM UTC
Brian,
Glad to see this great update!

GAz
Joel_W
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Posted: Monday, May 27, 2019 - 01:18 AM UTC
Brian,
What a fantastic update.

The rescribing just literally blew me away. It's perfect no matter how hard I try to find a single error, I can't.

I do have one question. The homemade tool of a file sander tied between the two forks of a pair of tweezers is used for exactly what? How does it work, and are those forks sharpened to a razor point?

Joel
Dragon164
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Posted: Monday, May 27, 2019 - 06:21 AM UTC
Very nice Brian!

Joel, I believe that is for doing the line on the tip of the wing to keep it evenly spaced from the edge.

Cheers Rob.
Joel_W
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Posted: Monday, May 27, 2019 - 06:59 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Very nice Brian!

Joel, I believe that is for doing the line on the tip of the wing to keep it evenly spaced from the edge.

Cheers Rob.



Rob,
Thanks as that makes a whole lot of sense.

Mr. Barnes re-scribing looks perfect. Never seen anything so perfectly done by hand before.

Joel
Redhand
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Posted: Monday, May 27, 2019 - 07:40 AM UTC
And here is a "first cut" on the port upper wing.



H.G. tells me that this took about 6 hours! (Wow!)

More to follow, obviously.
Joel_W
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Posted: Monday, May 27, 2019 - 08:34 AM UTC
Brian,
6 hours for one wing top and bottom I hope. Like I said, his work is the equal to any computer generated mold cutting. Simply amazing.

Joel
Redhand
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Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 02:50 PM UTC
WINGING IT (NOT!)


Quoted Text

Brian,
6 hours for one wing top and bottom I hope. Like I said, his work is the equal to any computer generated mold cutting. Simply amazing.

Joel



Actually, Joel, H.G. confirms that it was in fact 6 hrs. on just the upper wing. He has given me license to edit his comments, so I will do so for readability.


Six hours on upper and lower my [rear end]. That's the top. Here's why, sometimes the scribing rulers and templates won't fit in areas like between the engines or the complex curves, so I tape it.

The tape gets gummed up because of the debris thus [one must] constantly [be] changing tape. Then there are many places that have to be done by hand (probably the one job that scares the be-Jesus out of model[ers])

Then there's taping parts to match high and low detail. Next is sanding with a medium grit to clear the old lines, look for mistakes and drop down two grits to make the lines thinner and get ready for riveting.


And look at these pictures!





H.G. explains: I use micro spacers to get an idea of how much to micro file and adjust the high and low part detail alignment. [I]t's a way I dreamed up for LL and only a rough gauge.

Planning! Measure twice, cut once.

BTW, I actually built the Revell B-17F in the early 80s. I remember the following "fit issues":





H.G. is also thinning down the wing trailing edge.

From this:



To this (for now):



Here's some fitting work giving some idea how the top and lower wings will go together:



Check out the gap on the nacelle to the right! Uhg!

Here's another place with a noticeable gap (landing light area):




Karl, while we are at it, on which wing, port or stbd, does this dual red/clear light go?



And what was the purpose of the red light?

I close with some nice detail shots of H.G.'s scribing on the wing tops:




On this one note the rivet lines paralleling the panel lines.



I close with a question from H.G. to Karl on the above pic. What kind of opening latch/mechanism goes inside that clamshell?

Stay tuned. The pace is picking up.

Indeed, lookit this.




Damn!
GazzaS
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Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 03:16 PM UTC
Impressive for certain!
HGBARNES
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Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 07:23 PM UTC
Anyone can do this. Brian is the brains, I simply follow excellent instructions.
KPHB17FE
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Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 11:59 PM UTC
Looking good, one heck of a lot of work. The red light was known as a "Passing Light" and wasn't deleted until some point in the G series. It was not for overtaking and passing as we land lubbers would think of it. When two airplanes were on an intersecting course and had no radio communication, they could turn on this light. Knowing it was in the left wing, they could safely pass each other by going to the left of the red light. Red would not blind the oncoming pilot like a landing light would. This was more left over from civilian prewar days rather than a military feature. And like the Identification lights on the belly and the bomb formation lights in the tail, it was not used by combat crews. Just another of those odd details !

The inspection panel you are asking about was for looking at the flap mechanism. It was secured with three Dzus fasteners. Here is one on the "Memphis Belle":



You can also see the drains and vents. One minor detail that is completely irrelevant to us, the lettering is supposed to be Insignia Blue, not black.
Redhand
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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 12:04 AM UTC
Thank you, Karl. I figured it was on the port side, but wanted to make sure. Remarkable little facts. I also didn't know that the three-color ID and tail formation lights weren't used.
KPHB17FE
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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 12:35 AM UTC
And just another couple of lighting details. The 3 lights on the underside were supplemented by a white one (342 on the diagram) above the waist area. It was another "ID" light. In addition, there were three blue lights along the dorsal fin and two on the upper side of each horizontal stabilizer (370 on the diagram). These were called formation lights and from above would form a "T". You can find them on B-24's, early B-25's and others I am sure. Again, not used. The B-17 never eliminated them. I know the B-25's did and the B-24's many have as well. Don't quite understand how useful the would have been and have not seen a good description of their use. Never really looked as they weren't used anyway!

Lighting Diagram:




Joel_W
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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 12:37 AM UTC
Brian & HG,
I'm truly speechless, which almost never happens I've seen re-scribing many times from IPMS National winners in 1/32 scale, and nothing comes close to the level achieved here.

A true indication of a master is when he/she states that it's not difficult, and anyone can do it. The truth is that most of us couldn't come close. I've seen way more not so great attempts with me being right at the top of the list. I'd do almost anything not to have to re-scribe even in 1/24-1/20 scale race cars. Of course the use of tape templates never occurred to me. Go figure.

Joel
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Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 04:01 AM UTC
I noticed that the lighting diagram does not show the lights under the tail guns. These were a couple I noted earlier that were not used. But here is the explanation as to their intended purpose. You will find these same lights on the B-24, early B-25's, and B-26's which located them in the aft upper right nacelle. These lights were not replaced when the Cheyenne turret was installed.