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Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown; a story for the generations. (24 posts)

  • I think most people on iModeler will know of the story of Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler. On the return journey home from a bombing raid on Germany in December 1943, 20 year old pilot Charlie Brown nursed his critically injured B-17 toward the North Sea at under 2,000 ft and only just above stalling speed.
    Seeing the stricken plane fly over his airfield, Franz Stigler jumped in his Me109 and flew to finish off the fortress. However, on his approach to attack, Stigler saw how sorry a state the B-17 was in; the rear gunner dead, other crew injured and clearly visible through the shredded fuselage of the plane.

    Instead of applying the coup-de-grace, Stigler made a bold and honourable decision; he escorted the American bomber past the German anti aircraft sea defences until they were over the English Channel, where he saluted the crew and turned for home. This mercy, a crime in the eyes of the Nazi party punishable by firing squad, was a great gamble on his own values by the young German pilot.

    Unbelievably both pilots not only survived the war but found each other in 1985, going on to become lifelong friends until they both died within a few months of each other in 2008. The story is beautifully written in the book, ‘A Higher Call’.

    My homage to this great piece of aviation and war history is in 1/48 scale, using the Revell B-17, and the Eduard Me109G-6.

    The build will be a little intermittent (due to having other projects on the bench) so updates will be…sometimes. But this is my initial efforts – starting with the B-17.

    Thanks for looking!

    1 attached image.

    Tags: 1/48, diorama, Luftwaffe, USAF, WW2

  • ‘The unbelievable strength of the Flying Fortress’
    It takes a bit of courage to rip apart a model that you have paid good money for. Well, courage isn’t the word my wife actually used, but it’s the word I heard. I did try and make the argument that at least I didn’t go for the 1/32 version of this build with the (in)famous Hong Kong Models ($250 and a wing span of 3 feet, anyone?).
    Anyway, rip it apart I have – and great fun it is, too.

    I have tried to recreate the .51inch bullet holes and 1.18 inch canon blasts as faithfully as I can using several jaw-dropping photo references of damaged B-17s that made it home…

    I scratch made the internal stringers and longerons for the insides of the B-17 fuselage and pulled some of them out of the skin to replicate exit blasts. When the bomber is painted and the extruding skeleton weathered in bare metal I think it’ll look pretty cool.

    For the bigger blasts I took a Tamiya sprue cutter to the fuselage and did a job on it. Looking at the real thing (second photo below) I think it’s pretty accurate to what an attacking Me 109 could do.

    For the tail damage I built some spars (with drilled out lightening holes) which again will, I hope, look good in aluminium against the dark outer skin.

    This will definitely be a little longer build as it’s a ‘filler’ project that I’ll work on waiting for other kits to dry, set, etc. However, I’m likely to get my mojo on with this and promote it to The Most Important Thing In The World. You know what I mean…

  • Outstanding job of replicating the battle damage, sir…this is gonna be a “winner”, I can tell already!

  • Great work David and thanks for the info – looking forward to seeing it develop!

  • Thanks, David.

  • Thanks for the kind words, Craig – hope to do them some justice!

  • Hey, Bernard.
    Your message about the latest Revell B-17 gave me an idea. I have sent an email to Revell Germany and appealed to their better nature to send me some figures. I remember doing this with their 1/32 JU 88 to ask for a new canopy (don’t ask – complete disaster that I still can’t really talk about).
    In terms of the props – I’ve had a look at all the aftermarket products and they are all a little disappointing; I think I’m committed to trial and error until it get something that looks authentic.
    Thanks for the suggestions and I’ll let you know about the figures – I am hopeful!

  • Well, this build has been promoted from the bench and I spent some time with the dremel, hacking my way through the poor B17. I have a Pacific diorama that has stalled (I’m waiting for some Vallejo paints to arrive as I can’t get on with Tamiya paints with figures, no matter what I do). So, back to Western Europe and skies full of Emils, Friedrichs, and Gustavs.

    I have found some clear styrene and made a template that I think will make a good spinning prop.

    I was reluctant to start another build while I’m deep with another project, but actually it’s very cathartic; might be something to do with switching theatres, just clears the headspace and reinvigorates the mojo.

    Onwards and upwards, I’ll break open the Gustav tomorrow and start thinking about a base and stands.

  • Good show, David! And I think I agree with you on the catharsis of two projects at once. My old painting mentor in college used to say if you feel like you are getting bogged down on a painting, turn it to the wall and walk away for a while–maybe even weeks or months–to clear the mind and renew creative perspective.

  • Hi David. I think that’s it, gaining a different perspective. And the great thing about modeling is we have such a massive range of subjects that allow us that perspective shift. Whether it’s a geographical shift, a mood change or a completely different subject; hell, we can even shift sides if it’s a war subject.

  • Have done a little detail in the B17 nose, but in honesty I’m stalling a little here as I’m struggling to find crew before I can button up the fuselage. I may well have to recruit/pressgang enemy pilots and do some creative artwork. Why don’t kit makers include figures for all that hard earned money we throw their way?

  • Nice work, David!
    For propellers, I suggest following the technique below …

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • Alexandre, you are a hero. That’s as good a result as I’ve seen in trying to recreate a spinning prop. Thank you for the diagram and also your kind words. I’ll certainly be using this.

  • Very convincing “prop spin” technique sir….I like it.

  • I’m happy to help!