Profile Photo
Tom Bebout
140 articles

Academy 1/72 B-17F

May 31, 2013 · in Aviation · · 9 · 4.4K

A couple of years ago I'm visiting my brother and sister-in-law and noticed she had displayed a photo of her deceased father and the crew of his B-17F Double Exposure. Bernard Brailer is in the second row, fourth man going from left to right. He originally was a gunnery instructor for Air Corps and I discovered he enlisted on December 7, 1941. He would be crossed trained as a flight engineer and was shipped off to the MTO. Started flying missions in B-24's but ended up with a named Double Exposure, a plane he dearly loved. The pilot picked the name and used the pinup artwork by the artist Gil Elvgren. He liked the art work and name because they flew mapping as well as bomb assessment missions.

I started this project by using the kit, which is not a bad kit but it lacks a lot of detail at the side gun positions. Got really stuck with the nose art decals because they don't exist. However, I recently found a gentleman willing to attempt making a set for this ship. He really did an outstanding job in my opinion. I also used the recommended paint scheme and kit decals only to discover he was in the MTO so they're not correct for a B-17 flying there. When I told her that she didn't care. Thought she was going cry when I gave it to her last week. She kept repeating, "that's my daddy's plane." She insisted I take some money for my time and trouble which of course I refused because it was an honor to build it for her. Subsequently she shoved a 10 year old bottle of my brother's bourbon into my hands and insisted I take it. Some things you just can't say no to. I thought my brother was now going to cry.

Reader reactions:
4  Awesome

6 additional images. Click to enlarge.

9 responses

  1. Nice tale and a nice thing to do, In my opinion the Lancaster was a better aircraft but the B17 just looks gorgeous pure art deco I love 'em.

  2. Beautiful Fortress and presentation, Tom...good thing you got your "payment" AFTER the build - lol -:)

  3. Your putting me to shame. I have a photo of my Dad's crew in a similar pose in front of a B-24 with the nose art displayed. I bullt the old Airfix kit for him & have the Hasegawa kit to do now.
    Was he in the 15th AF?
    A fitting tribute to brave men. Well done on the build. It's surprising what actions like yours mean to people.

  4. nice job and gesture taking your brothers bourbon is priceless

  5. Nice story and really nice model

  6. Tom, it appears "Double Exposure" was so named because it wasn't "your usual B-17" - it was actually a photo reconnaissance version called an F-9. Note the crude camera port beneath the cheek gun fairing in your photo; I'm only here because I was searching for "B-17 double exposure" after stumbling across the attached image in a trip to eBay (screenshot). Note the lack of a top turret... I'm still on the hunt for the ship's actual tail number and unit of assignment.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  7. My grandfather was part of the Double Exposure crew. He is currently buried in Arlington National Cemetery. I went visit him a few years ago.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

Leave a Reply