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Thomas Probert
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1/48th Boeing Fortress MkI (B-17C) Koster / Revell conversion

April 24, 2020 · in Aviation · · 32 · 2.6K

I've been working on this on and off for the last few months and have finished it off this week.

I've used the classic 1/48th B-17F kit and coupled it with 's vacformed beautiful early Fortress conversion set. This comprises a new rear fuselage with the distinctive 'shark fin', a new early nose and cockpit transparency as well as other various vacformed clear parts, along with some additional air intakes for the early oil cooler set up - all in all a very comprehensive conversion set. You have to undertake other mods to the Revell kit such as shortening the nose (the later Forts had a longer nose due to the heavier rear fuselage needing to be rebalanced), add additional seats to the flightdeck as well as reshaping the later paddle-bladed props to the earlier 'needle' type. The cowl flaps have to go too, as these weren't introduced until the D-model.

I started with the Revell F-model kit rather than the Monogram G-model as the nose is far easier to modify - I just needed to blend in the larger cheek windows and then open them up in the shape of the smaller windows seen on the earlier models. Using the G-model would have meant lots of additional surgery to remove the chin turret and fairing, remove and replace the bulged cheek windows and remove the astrodome on the roof of the nose. With the F-model I was over half way there already.

I decided to do a later scheme used by the RAF on their Fortress Is which was slate / extra dark sea grey uppers with PRU blue undersides. I used my favourite Xtracolor enamels with generic Xtradecal codes and insignia to cobble together a 90 Squadron machine which was operated out of Polebrook in the Autumn of 1941.

The fit of the Koster parts was exceptional - once they were removed from the backing sheet and sanded correctly it was like working with an injection-molded kit. In fact, the Koster parts fitted better than the Revell kit! The only tricky area was the nose transparency - this was a little too large to fit the Revell nose, but some careful trimming and careful blending with Milliput solved the problem.

I'm now trying to get hold of the 1/48th Privateer conversion, but now Koster kits are OOP I'll have my work cut out - and they're currently going for silly prices on eBay!

Regards to all,

Reader reactions:
14  Awesome

10 additional images. Click to enlarge.

32 responses

  1. Nice work as usual Thomas. I really hope that the discussion I'm hearing about a 1/48 Sharkfin will pan out. Your effort on this conversion should do to push the rock over the top of the mountain.

    All you need to do with your desire for a 1/48 Privateer is exercise your ability to delay gratification for about 18 months. You will then be able to experience instant gratification, without all the hacking and whacking.

    And yes, if I told you more I'd have to kill you. Trust me, just breathe deep.

  2. That's a perfect model/conversion, Thomas. A LOT of quality work. I am deeply impressed.
    All the best!

  3. Wow! That’s really nice. Great craftsmanship on my favorite B-17 variant.

  4. Very nice, I have built that conversion in the past and was in general very happy with it. Yours turned out very nice, and I really like your paint scheme. Nice work, on what I know is a effort to get done!

  5. Absolutely fabulous job. Great work on what I know is not easy work. Been playing with one of these since 2005, it never seems to move forward. Love this airplane always had forlorn hope for a mainline kit in 1/48. People say I'm crazy... You have hit it out of the park.

  6. Great job on my favorite version of the B-17. This plane was used in making the Warner Bros. movie "Flying Fortress" starring Richard Greene. It's possible the underside color of this was deep sky.

    • I’ve seen that film, Dale - it’s a true classic.

      There is a bit of debate about the underside colours - some were Azure blue, others were a darker blue closer to PRU blue. I’m don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  7. Stunning Fortress Thomas!

  8. Beautiful work Thomas. Having a B-17 like this one you scratched together in 1/48 scale right out of the box is very high on my "wish list"... as is a Privateer... and a G3M "Nell".

    Great job !

  9. Excellent conversion! Looks great in this scheme.

  10. Nicely done Thomas, really looks good in that camo scheme.

  11. Incredible job! I've seen a couple of the Koster conversions done, and the fit of the front glass piece in the front is the smoothest I've seen so far.

  12. Museum quality model work, Thomas. It is striking to see a B-17 in RAF colors, which are more like FAA colors for this version. I would find it nerve wracking to mask vac clear part that are integrated into the model. Must be very easy to distort them when pulling the masks away. I haven't tackled major conversions like yours yet myself. Yours set the standard in quality results.

    • Thanks, Colin. The vac parts are a little more delicate than injection pieces, but once glued to the model are perfectly robust enough for masking and the like. The quality of the Koster clear parts is second to none - a big improvement over the original Revell offerings.

  13. High quality result. I really like the shape of the early B-17's so I hope Tom is right.

  14. Exceptional work.
    I have built the Privateer-was my first vac anything. You should have no problems.

  15. Very nice - those thin-tailed B-17's always look odd go me, but shines up nice in Brit clothes! Well done.

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