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Tom Cleaver
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How big is big? the H-K B-17G in progress

October 6, 2013 · in Uncategorized · · 20 · 2.8K

So, how big is big? This is the H-K B-17G hanging in its storage area on the wall, next to a 1/48 Tamiya Lancaster. Those of you who have the 1/48 :Lanc in your collection think of it as a big model, yes? Not so much here!

Ten days of detail painting, getting the wood effect really nice, detailing the instruments, black boxes, etc. Bring the fuselage halves together and the effect is the same as with the Monogram : it's there but you can't see it.

I have been building one of the test shots, and I do hope "improvements were made" between this and the production kits, because this is not an easy model under any circumstance, and it's been less easy than expected. When bringing the fuselage halves together, squeezing that right half over the interior wasn't easy, and then to find that the locating pins were not properly aligned...well. Cut them off, glue sections together, lay in some CA glue over that with zip kicker to hold. Then attach the cabin roof and find a bit of fit problems there. Plastic putty down the big seams and gaps, followed by sanding smooth, followed by Mr. Surfacer, followed by more sanding smooth, followed by sanding smoother with finer paper, followed by polishing out, followed by re-scribing and re-rivetting.

And then I test-fitted the previously-assembled wings and horizontal stabs, to discover more gaps. No way to paint it first and then assemble it. So glue them on, fill the gaps with CA glue, sand them smooth, apply Mr. Surfacer, sand smoother, re-scribe and re-rivet. And then hang it on the wall as the only place to store it.

Interestingly enough, it's a lot lighter than you might think. Even closed up, the bit you can see inside is good, but I didn't need to do more than "impressionst" work there. There is absolutely no reason to spend $80 on the Eduard interior set unless you have money to burn and like knowing it's there even if you can't see it. Ditto any decals or placards for inside. Save that money for another model!

Like I said, your mileage may vary with a production kit as regards fit. It's definitely big and impressive and worth the money, but the only aftermarket stuff you really need are the Kits World external stencil decals and different nose art/group markings decals, which are now appearing. This one will be "Super Mouse" from the 91st Bomb Group, using Zotz decals. I would have done one of the two really good nudes, but this model will be on display out at Chino, so "family-friendly" was the guiding principle.

Reader reactions:
5ย  Awesome

6 additional images. Click to enlarge.

20 responses

  1. One of the many reasons I prefer the B-17F, one can see some interior thru the open gun positions. Surprised at the poor fit, have Monogram for that. Looks good so far anyways. Is Chino clearing out a room?

    • Don't get me wrong, it's not "poor fit" like major work. It's running a line of CA down a seam, sanding smooth and covering with Mr. Surfacer, then polishing out and rescribing detail. Probably a bit more effort in the smoothing and polishing that would be the case with a camouflaged paint scheme since it's going to be an NMF finish. Getting parts this big to fit as well as they do is really a major accomplishment, and as I said, this is a test shot. In fact a friend who's building a production kit tells me that yes, he still had to deal with seams, but that for him the wings and tail fit as well as do the wings and tail of the B-25s - I was able to have those in fuselage, tail, and wing sub-assemblies for painting, then assemble without problem. You wouldn't see much more in the nose with the B-17F windows than with these cheek windows, definitely no more in the cockpit or elsewhere.

  2. Looks like you are having fun and it must be a thrill to get to build a kit like that knowing you do not have to worry where you are going to put it when it is complete. I for one would have used one of the WWII nudes on the nose. Compared to what kids are exposed to these days the nose art from that period are pretty tame. It looks great so far.

    • That argument was in fact presented. However, Ed Maloney (who is buying this at a nice commission) comes from an earlier generation than we, and as they say "the golden rule is, he who has the gold, rules." ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Tom,
    Good fit or poor, this thing is BIG. Like Jack said, at least you will have a place to put it.A couple of these hanging on a wall would not take long to take over the house. I will enjoy seeing the finished result.

  4. First impression...Cleaver went out back and shot a trophy bird,stuffed it and hung it on the wall. It definitely, reminded of some of the hangers that I've visited at my local airport, hangers store more than airplanes and the planes owners are folks who trophy hunt and like to display the stuffed heads of the big game they've taken. Obviously, their significant other has a say in the matter and the trophies are stored out side of the home.
    With regards to the Eduard PE, go to the Squadron Web site. Almost all of the PE for the HK-17G reads "Out of Stock". Which makes me think that the only legitimate way of modeling this kit with all of extra's is to document each step of the way with photographs to make good on the builders efforts and of course post them on the net for prosperity and the Oooohs and Ahhhhs and to show the judges at the shows that it is worthy of Gold. Because, as Tom has stated once the kit is put together it will be hard to see in side.
    I was hoping that the top half piece of the fuselage covering the cockpit, bombay and the radio room might be left un-glued for display any thoughts on this idea Tom?

    I've got the kit and once I opened the card board suit case, my first thought was not the size but, finding the "right" plane or that Goldie Locks B-17 with the nose art and record. I've come across several O.D. B-17s with the Cheyenne tail. However, these a/c were early model B-17G's with waist guns that were not staggered rather, the a/c had been involve in a accident or had the tail shot out and was replaced with the later style turret. I'm still looking for the natural metal bird that cries out build me you fool.

    • Like I said, I cannot comment on the fit of a production kit, this is a test shot, but I do have a production kit here and took out the fuselage halves and the cabin roof and checked and the fit is better than the test shot, but I don't really think you can leave it unattached. You definitely need to "Future" the nose cap or you will see all that nice work in the nose compartment pretty distorted. Somebody needs to make a nice big vacuform of the nose cap, which would then display it perfectly.

      The second kit is here awaiting Derek Bradshaw's resin conversion which gives a different right fuselage half so the waist guns are unstaggered and it has the earlier tail position, so one can do the early B-17G.

      There are other markings options - Kits World Decals has some other airplanes, and those decals are at Sprue Brothers. Kits World are good decals - I have "Bit O' Lace" from them for the second one here. The Zotz sheet of 91st BG airplanes is sold out I am told.

      Surprise surprise all those people are buying the Eduard stuff, "real modelers" can't do anything without them (/snark). I'll bet that 90 percent of these kits never get built, so many muddlers, er, I mean modelers, being the way they are.

  5. Do you see or can you tell if there are other versions coming out? I would love to see one of these in either a B or a C. Anyway, nice build Tom, impressive kit all around.

    • As I am part of the group that worked with H-K on this (which is how I come to have a test shot), the only other one they are planning is a B-17F, which will come with a modified nose section that will allow for the navigator's dome and the earlier without, and with the two different gun mounts in the nose cap - two separate and the twin central mount. They might take the right fuselage and tail position from the F kit and do an early G, but there are at this point no plans for that. The F kit might have parts to allow doing an E, since that is just in the nose section for the changes. (the nose sections are separate from the main fuselage, as is the tail position). There's no likelihood at all of the earlier ones. Modelers say they want them, but the Academy early ones were shelf-sitters.

  6. Tom, my misses assures me that size isn't everything but I always suspected she was just being kind ,I want one as big as yours.
    Can't wait to see one of these bad boys finished at a club day, imagine a B 29...

  7. Oh, built on commission...
    very impressive.

    • It would have been built anyway, probably not just now, but any freelancer knows to say "yes, sir!" when someone comes along with an offer of money. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. A B-17 model on steroids, ain't that illegal? Wow, I don't think Id need my glasses to build this thing, it's so huge. The interior shots are impressive, I look forward to your model's completion. Nice work!

    • The big parts are big and the small parts are really small (though not as small as they'd be in another scale, which is why you don't see them in that other scale). I have been wearing the Optivisor throughout - but then my 20/10 "ace's vision" departed 20 years ago.

  9. Just had a long conversation with Bob Swaddling, who is at about the same spot with his "production" kit, and the main difference in fit is that the locating pins are properly aligned. But the seams are still there. This is not really an insurmountable problem, it's just time consuming to get it really smooth and rescribe and re-rivet. I will be applying auto primer to it before proceeding with the NMF finish to be sure it's been prepped right.

  10. All I can say is that I can justify the asking price and could go out at anytime and purchase one, but the problem is the same as everyone elses, where would I put it?

  11. I like what you have done. I told my wife I like to get one but I think I can get 10 Monogram kits the price of one of them. Maybe some day I might get it. I wish you all the very best getting it all done.

  12. too big for me...1/72 is fine...thank's for the education

  13. Awesome looking, Tom!

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