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World War II
Discuss WWII and the era directly before and after the war from 1935-1949.
Hosted by Rowan Baylis
B-17s of the 303 BG, my 1/72 builds
AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Sunday, February 08, 2015 - 05:28 AM GMT+7
Hello everyone, this is my first topic here on Aeroscale. As the title says this will be a build log of my 1//72 B-17 builds. These builds started with the B-17 "Hell's Angels" that I built several years ago. I have slowly been building up a stash of 1/72 B-17s for the last several years. I found that aftermarket decal companies made quite a few decals for bombers of the 303rd Bomb Group and in my searching online I discovered that the 303rd had one of the best websites with the most useful information and pictures. Thus my desire to build aircraft from the 303rd was born. I pulled one of the kits out of the stash and realized I had started it but put it away. I decided to finish it, and thus my YB-40 "Tampa Tornado" joined the group. I then pulled out another kit and realized I had started this one previously too! I finished her and B-17 "The '8' Ball MkII" joined the group.

Pleased with the fact that I could actually start and complete a whole aircraft in a matter of days I decided to build a few more. I then put together one of my B-17C kits that I will use to try my hand at a bare metal finish. The B-17C is primed and ready to go as soon as I get my metal finish paint.

Looking through my decals I saw I have the sheet that was specifically 303rd aircraft. I have plans to build all of them, but I started a B-17G to be built as "Iza Vailable Too". Being another bare metal finish it is currently waiting for the metal finish paint as well. Since that one is waiting I pulled out a B-17F kit and built it and got it primed and she will be finished as B-17F "Iza Vailable". I thought it would be cool to have both aircraft to see the difference between an earlier model -F and a later model -G.

On my immediate list to build next I have the new Revell kit set aside for B-17F "Knockout Dropper" and will be using the Kits World decals. I also will be using (most likely) one of my Academy kits to build B-17F "Old Faithful/War Bride" also using Kits World decals. I ordered a new Revell B-17G kit which I will be using to build B-17G "Thunderbird", again, using the Kits World decals.

The Revell kit is lightyears ahead of the Hasegawa and Academy kits in terms of detail and accuracy, but it is also double the price or more of the older kits. I plan on doing a sort of side by side comparison of all three kits (unless one has been done already).

Now enough of my ramblings, I'm sure you all came here to see the pictures!

The first picture is of the three complete aircraft, the second and third pictures are the in progress aircraft. I'll post pictures of individual aircraft a little while later.





Thearmorer
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Alabama, United States
Joined: June 17, 2014
KitMaker: 118 posts
AeroScale: 117 posts
Posted: Sunday, February 08, 2015 - 06:05 AM GMT+7
Abram,
Good looking stable of Forts you've got going there. I'll be interested in seeing how these go side by side. I am a little surprised on your take on the Revell B-17 kit being ahead of the Hasegawa and Academy kits. Apparently Revell has updated something and it got by me. I've built a few of the Revell kits in the past and remember that they were best left to use on honing your updating skills. The Hasegawa kits were good in shape and outline, though they did suffer from age and raised panel lines, and with a little tweeking, the Academy kits were a joy to build and looked the part. So I'm looking forward to broadening by horizons on your build. Keep it up!
Duane
AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Sunday, February 08, 2015 - 06:24 AM GMT+7
Duane,

Thanks! Revell did "update" their kit. I use the term update loosely because it is a brand new tool and kit. If you follow this link: Scalemates Revell B-17 page You can see the timeline for the Revell kit. Basically in 2010 they released a brand new tool B-17G and designed it in a way that it can be built as a B-17E-G (although no dedicated nose piece in supplied for the 'E' model, I would be surprised if Revell didn't release one soon). In 2012 they released the B-17F version of the kit. Maybe I should buy one of the old Revell kits too and do a 4 way comparison...

On a different note here is a link to my photobucket album of pictures I took of the B-17G "Sentimental Journey". B-17G "Sentimental Journey" reference pictures. When I uploaded these years ago photobucket didn't upload them in any order, so the pictures don't follow the progression I went through of starting in the nose and going through then the exterior. There's even a couple shots of my goofy mug in the cockpit. I should drive back out there and see the airplane again. Being the off season I can go see her in the hangar.
AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Monday, February 09, 2015 - 08:20 AM GMT+7
So here are some individual pictures of my planes so far.

Firstly the "Hell's Angels" I built this right out of the box and didn't do any research on it. Now I know that the bomb tally and bomb toting angel were only on the left side of the nose. I may build another one to represent "Hell's Angels" later.





Next up is "Tampa Tornado" A YB-40 that served with the 303rd BG. My model depicts a sort of "what if" scenario had the YB-40 been a viable escort for the Bomb Group. I depict her here in operational markings with some upgrades; a Cheyenne tail turret, two Bendix upper turrets, and newer cheek guns. I modified a Hasegawa B-17G kit by scratch building the new radio room superstructure around the turret. This was decaled using the excellent "Kits World" sets.











And lastly, for now, pictures of "The '8' Ball MkII". I have yet to take pictures of her as completed, so these will be of just before completion. This is an Academy B-17F. While newer and slightly better detailed (i.e. recessed panel lines). I felt some of the details were lacking compared to the older Hasegawa kits. For starters the machine guns are all very thick and have no detail. The clear pieces are all rather thick and some took a little coaxing to get to fit correctly. The control surfaces are completely flat and there was no attempt made to even make them look fabric covered like on the Hasegawa kit. Academy also doesn't provide a nose cone piece with any gun mount options (to remedy this I heated a sewing needle and carefully pushed it through the nose piece.) I used extra Hasegawa machine guns for all four nose guns, as Academy hadn't provided any (at least I couldn't find them). This was decaled using the excellent "Iliad Design" decal set "Stars in the Sky" (unfortunately no longer in production)








JClapp
#259
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Massachusetts, United States
Joined: October 23, 2011
KitMaker: 2,123 posts
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Posted: Monday, February 09, 2015 - 09:41 AM GMT+7
Splendid display! All nicely executed models, lots to captivate the eye.
An interesting, unifying historical theme to a collection of models is very appealing also.

please do carry on.
Berwickboy
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England - East Midlands, United Kingdom
Joined: April 27, 2013
KitMaker: 423 posts
AeroScale: 360 posts
Posted: Monday, February 09, 2015 - 10:24 AM GMT+7
The 303rd were stationed at Molesworth only about 15 miles from my home. The USAF stil use Molesworth but only in a very limited way, it was one of the UK cruise missile bases.

Good choice of kit but one word of caution, check the waist window position because some are staggered others opposite and also the rear gun position as the kit includes 2 types.
Joel_W
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New York, United States
Joined: December 04, 2010
KitMaker: 7,916 posts
AeroScale: 6,596 posts
Posted: Monday, February 09, 2015 - 11:15 AM GMT+7
Abram,
Welcome to Areroscale. You're really going to like it here.

For what seams like forever, I can't recall seeing any builds of a B-17 in any scale here, now Brian has been building the definitive 1/48 scale B-17F, and Karl Hauffe has recently joined who has a wealth of valuable knowledge on all things B-17. Now you've decided it's time to share your knowledge on B-17s with us, as well as your ever growing collection of 1/72 scale forts. Welcome to the party, as it's getting more and more interesting by the day.

Your 3 builds to date really look nicely done. And I'm looking forward to seeing the next two with NMFs. Are you going to be using Alcads, Model Master Metalizers, or some other application?
Joel
AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Monday, February 09, 2015 - 01:20 PM GMT+7
Thanks for all the replies!

Jonathan, thanks!

Mike, its cool that you live so close to a historic place like that! As far as I know the right waist window was the one moved forward on all aircraft, so that is the one I've moved on both so far.

Joel, Thanks! Brian's B-17F is the reason I joined aeroscale, it is indeed an amazing build. For the bare metal finish I'm going to try a method I found online, Fast and Easy Natural Metal Finishes, as these will be my first bare metal finish builds. I have some of the Alclad paints, but no airbrush as of yet. So I'll be trying it with spray cans. The B-17C will be the test model.


I just got the gloss clear coat on B-17F "Iza Available" tonight and will be decaling her in the next day or two. Since I've still got a small stock of the camouflage paints it was easy to get "Iza Vailable" painted today. I will also try my hand at printing my own decals for this build, as the fuselage letters that come in the Kits World extra markings set are too small. The 303rd all seemed to carry the very large letters (60-70" maybe?). I should have tried making my own earlier when I decaled my YB-40, but hind sight is 20/20

Right now I'm waiting for the Tamiya paints I ordered online to get here for my bare metal birds. It was cheaper/easier to buy them online (bought in bulk) than go to my local shop, especially since they were out of stock anyways.
AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 05:39 PM GMT+7
A little preview of my next builds that are almost done. B-17F "Iza Vailable" and B-17G "Iza Vailable Too". This is my first bare metal finish aircraft. I haven't done any weathering on it yet, but will probably do it tomorrow.


Joel_W
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New York, United States
Joined: December 04, 2010
KitMaker: 7,916 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 03:28 AM GMT+7
Abram,
I'm a airbrush guy, but I've seen excellent results using spray cans. I checked out your link to the Easy Method, and it should work just fine. My only advice is to prime, then lightly polish before the Aluminum coats. I made that mistake on my 1st Alcad build, and the roughness comes right through even with the base black.

Rattle cans put out a tremendous amount of paint at a high psi, so just use quick, steady passes. Concentrate on recesses with enough passes to get decent coverage before the overall fuselage, but reset the temptation to slow down or even stop to cover one troublesome spot.

Looking forward to seeing your results.

I've never made or attempted making decals. How about posting some pictures and a post on how you went about it.

Joel
AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 10:43 AM GMT+7
Joel, I'll do a little write up about the decals after I finish my builds with them, almost done with the builds.

Speaking of which, here are some updated pictures of B-17F "Iza Vailable" and B-17G "Iza Vailable Too"

Almost done with "Iza Vailable" so far all the decals except for the nose art were made by me. I'm still trying to find out if her radio code was PU-G or PU-K, as I've seen conflicting answers.







I'm almost done with "Iza Vailable Too" Need to do some weathering and the props. I ran out of black paint so I'm waiting until I get more.




(On this one I couldn't get the camera to focus on the fuselage for some reason...)







JClapp
#259
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Massachusetts, United States
Joined: October 23, 2011
KitMaker: 2,123 posts
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Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 11:05 AM GMT+7
very handsome machine! a bare metal one is definitely needed among all those OD painted ones.
AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 05:38 PM GMT+7
Jonathan, thanks! I think it adds some color to the group.

Speaking of the group, here are two shots I took tonight on the kitchen table:



JClapp
#259
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Massachusetts, United States
Joined: October 23, 2011
KitMaker: 2,123 posts
AeroScale: 1,624 posts
Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 05:41 PM GMT+7
top cool! good use of the dining room table and best linen.

I like the -C best. will be watching that one develop.
AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2015 - 12:13 PM GMT+7
Well it has been a while since I posted. Construction came to a halt on my B-17s mainly because I have no where to put the completed builds! I need to figure out a display solution before I complete/build any more. With two rowdy kids and a dog I need somewhere safe to put builds when they are done and my display cabinet is full.

I had mentioned before about making my own decals. Some years ago I bought a pack of clear and white decal paper for ink jet printers. I use Paint Shop Pro to do all of my photo editing and graphic art. I scan all the decals I get and used those to get basic shapes and sizes then draw my own. Using an ink jet printer means just about anyone can print their own decals. Problems I've run in to with this is the decals printed on the clear paper don't show up against a dark background. If you're applying the decals against a bare metal finish it seems to do fine, but against olive drab or something similar they don't show up. Another problem is ink jet printers don't print in white, so anything you want white needs to be printed on the white paper then you have to cut precisely around the edge of the decal. This isn't really a problem with larger decals like national insignia and the like, but is a real pain for smaller sized things. Another problem, which I'm unsure if it is just my personal printer or not, is the printer leaves lines in large areas of color. I'm never really satisfied with the results of my home made decals, but at this point I have no choice as there are no aftermarket alternatives.

As of right now I've drawn up full decals for three aircraft that are not currently available aftermarket:

B-17F Vicious Virgin
B-17F Yankee Doodle Dandy
B-17G Mercy's Madhouse

All 303rd aircraft (obviously). Does anyone know any professional decal makers that I could get in touch with to see if I could supply the art and they could print them for me?
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
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Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,003 posts
AeroScale: 2,959 posts
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2015 - 01:44 PM GMT+7
Hi Abram,

These are custom decal makers for the railroad modeler:
Scale Rail Graphics: http://www.scalerailgraphics.com/

Rail Graphics
Highball
Kadee
Joel_W
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New York, United States
Joined: December 04, 2010
KitMaker: 7,916 posts
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Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2015 - 03:19 AM GMT+7
Abram
Display space, and or storage is a major issue for model builders. After all, the end results of our present project is another model for display or storage.

Joel


magnusf
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Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: May 02, 2006
KitMaker: 1,554 posts
AeroScale: 1,512 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2015 - 04:18 AM GMT+7
Abram! What do you think about the new Revell kits (the F and G), are they the ones to go for if I want to do one of these versions?

Regarding shelf space: there is nowhere in the community around you where you could keep some of the finished builds? Museum? Community center?

I stick to 1/72 (well, that's actually what you do as well coming to think of it ) so my shelf space fills somewhat slower...



Magnus
AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2015 - 04:42 AM GMT+7
Frederick, thanks for those links, I'll have to check them out.

Joel, that is the truth for sure.

Magnus, The Revell kits are definitely superior to any of the previous offerings. Two issues I did notice are: 1. the -G model doesn't give an option for staggered waist windows, and 2. the -F model is missing windows on the forward fuselage in front of the main windscreen (over the navigator and bombardier's compartment.) Other than that I'd say the Revell kits are the most accurate and detail packed. I started a side by side comparison of the kits. I was trying to decide if I should post it on the forums or try to do a write up for the site.
magnusf
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Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: May 02, 2006
KitMaker: 1,554 posts
AeroScale: 1,512 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2015 - 04:54 AM GMT+7
Abram! Wherever you decide to post your findings, I'll read them ! If those are the only problems, they can be reasonably easily overcome.



Magnus
AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 04:23 PM GMT+7
Hey all, I'm still working on these, slowly but surely. "Iza Vailable" is pretty much done except for the nose cone and "Iza Vailable Too" is finished. I already have plans for the next ship to join the group. I'll try to get pictures up in the next day or two.

On another note I think I might have found a home for the B-17s. I emailed a few places about the models. A local museum (which happens to be home base for B-17G "Sentimental Journey") has expressed interest in building an air field diorama of the 303rd. I'll be meeting with the exhibits manager in the next couple weeks to discuss the whole thing.
AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 12:35 PM GMT+7
Here's some pictures of the "sisters" as promised.

I modified a Squadron nose cone for the single .50 mount. First up "Iza Vailable"











"Iza Vailable Too"




JClapp
#259
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Massachusetts, United States
Joined: October 23, 2011
KitMaker: 2,123 posts
AeroScale: 1,624 posts
Posted: Friday, March 20, 2015 - 05:49 AM GMT+7
Great stuff man.

Having a museum build an airfield diorama for you is incredible good fortune. looking forward to hearing more.

AbramJ
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Arizona, United States
Joined: February 07, 2015
KitMaker: 43 posts
AeroScale: 43 posts
Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 09:44 AM GMT+7
Finished another addition to the group today. This time I wanted to do something different. I built the only B-17E the 303rd had.



As the group formation assembly aircraft:



And now my model















JClapp
#259
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Massachusetts, United States
Joined: October 23, 2011
KitMaker: 2,123 posts
AeroScale: 1,624 posts
Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 12:47 PM GMT+7
That's the best one yet.