HistoryIn the late 1930's the United States was looking to build up its air power. They began looking at four engined heavy bombers. One of these, the Boeing B-17, proved to be a strong force throughout the coming years. Introduced in 1938 the Flying Fortress was used in both the European Theatre and the Pacific Theatre. The "E" version of the Fortress saw major changes made to the aircraft. The additions include the addition of ten feet to the length of the fuselage, the introduction of a much larger tail fin and rudder, and the introduction of a tail gunner position, a Sperry top turret, and a Sperry belly turret. A total of 512 B-17E models were produced.
The ModelThis kit has been around in one form or another since being released in 1989 by Academy/Minicraft. This edition added new parts and was released in 2016. Overall it has held up pretty well. There is a minimal amount of flash on the parts and the detail is very crisp. The kit includes five sprue trees of greenish gray color and one clear. There is one decal sheet and the printing looks very good. There are markings for three USAAF birds from the Pacific Theatre and one captured bird in Japanese markings. The one thing to remember when building 1/72 aircraft is the interior is often overlooked with just a minimal amount of detail. This kit is no different. There is a small amount of detail for the interior. For what is seen however when the build is complete it is more than enough. The exterior detail is pretty good. The flaps, rudder, and stabilizers are molded connected to the main parts for the fuselage. But even with that it would not be hard to separate them from the main parts. The instruction pamphlet is straight-forward and clear.
The BuildThe build starts with the interior. As this will be out of the box I jumped right in and the plastic dust started to fly. The cockpit and navigator stations built up with thirteen parts. The bomb bay is just as simple, five parts. Once built the interior received a coat of European Dark Green which is a close match to the Dark Dull Green painted on the real aircraft. Detail painting was pretty simple at this point. The bomb bay was painted Gloss Gray as a base and misted Alclad Chrome over the top. As this area will not be seen with the fuselage closed no bomb load was added. Finishing up the interior included installation of the tail wheel assembly, the top turret, and the frame for the belly turret. The wings were straight forward as well with two halves and two parts for the landing gear. After closing the fuselage and the wings only a minimal of seam needed to be addressed. The biggest issue showed when the attempt was made to attach the wings and tail feathers. Now this may have been builder errors but gaps of an eighth of an inch needed a bit of putty and some tender love and care to fix. Over all construction was a pleasure with little in seam clean up and other than the wing roots very little in putty work.
Paint and DecalsThis is the part of the build that I am liking more and more with each attempt. Painting began with an overall Flat Black base coat. I did this for two reasons. The Black (Rustoleum) shows any seam work that needs attention and also begins the process of weathering. The next step was loading up Model Master No 8 Olive Drab, lighten it up with Model Master Flat White, and spray. This paint work was kind of vague. To get the look I wanted I spent some time working the paint over the panels, in some areas the paint was worked over the panel lines. This was done to break up the "quilt effect" paint work that happens when I spray the interior of the panels. This also works toward the weathering stage. Once dry straight Olive Drab is sprayed paying more attention to panels and panel lines. The end result is a paint job that shows some fading and modulation. The underside gets a careful spray of Model Master Neutral Grey. Careful in that special attention is given to the panel interiors and not losing the panel line detail. The wheels get a spray of Rustoleum Flat Black with the center in Neutral Grey. The propellers are dressed in Rustoleum Gloss Black with the hubs in Model Master Chrome Silver. The tips are Model Master Insignia Yellow. Taking a step back at this point the black walkway lines on the wings are also applied. Once all dry Future Floor Polish gave me the gloss needed to apply the decals.
The decals are another area that turned into a bit of an issue. Again this could have been builder error. Once the decals were off the sheet and onto the model I let them dry for a couple of days. Using decal solvent I went with a tried and true method. I used a cotton swab dipped in decal solvent and then rolled over the decal to get them down into the panel lines and over any surface detail. This time however one of the decals grabed the swab and ripped in the process. No worries though as it actually helps with the overall look.
The final steps addressed weathering. Using a cheap set of oil paints a modified dot filter was applied. This toned down the bright decals and presented an opportunity to add streaking and staining to the fuselage and wings. This time the effect is pretty subtle. Time for a flat coat using Testors Flat Coat. Pastel chalk is added to show a bit of use and give the impression the aircraft had engine issues at some point. A final flat coat and she can go to the finished shelf.