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Joe Boylan
12 articles

Revell 1/48, B-17F, "Memphis Belle".

March 26, 2022 · in Aviation · · 16 · 1.2K

I purchased this model at an estate sale a couple of years ago. It had no directions or decals. The son of the previous owner explained to me that whenever his dad purchased a model, he would open the kit and pull and file them. Hmm. Whatever. Somehow all those files he could not locate. No problem. I downloaded the directions and purchased after market decals. There's no shortage of online, believe me.

Not sure how old the molds are for this kit, but as I got into it, I likened it to "putting a shine on a turd". Warpage, fit and flash. It had it all and was a real challenge! Not a whole lot of detail either. I would compare the clear parts to gluing finger nails on; tiny for some and flimsy.

Still learning the fine art of airbrushing with this kit. I'm using an Iwata Eclipse and really like it. I first primed the entire model with Sky Grey and laid down some black panel lines. For the top, I made a nice mix (so I thought) of lighter OD and lightened it further for the fabric control surfaces. I then "banged" it up a little with some 2000 grit to bring out the raised surface details. I also had fun stenciling the rather odd cammo pattern the planes of this period had using a Tamiya Dark Green 2. I was pretty disappointed when my "beautiful" light OD green darkened up more than I liked when I hit it with the clear, but oh well, the decals were on and there was no turning back. For the underside, I stuck with the Sky Grey.

Another big first for me was airbrushing the exhaust stains on the wings. I studied photos of battle worn B-17's, and got some input from the experts on this great site as well. The National Museum of the Air Force has a nice page on the Memphis Belle restoration with hundreds of photos, but it is too clean. I looked mostly at old black and white pics to get my patterns. Interesting how exhaust marked up the tail surfaces as well. I enjoyed this part of the build the most. For the future, I think I need to add a little grey in it.

Despite the challenges, overall I am happy with it. It's now up on the wall in "Bomber Corner" in my studio. I have an old Monogram "G" variant that I will hang underneath it. The lessons learned from this build will influence that one!

Side note, I brought it over to the convalescent facility and showed it to my friend Vincent (see one of my earlier articles). He really liked it. As I was leaving the place, other residents saw it, and thought it was cool. One of them mentioned, "modeling is a lost art". I hope not! I try to share the hobby to as many kids as I can in an effort to get their thumbs off those controllers and remotes!

Happy Modeling!

Reader reactions:
5  Awesome

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

16 responses

  1. Well done on completing the big Revell Memphis Belle, Joe!
    Nice airbrush skills!

  2. Excellent work on the Memphis Belle, Joe @jboyla
    Airbrush skills are great already which can be clearly seen from the applied exhaust stains.
    What is your trick to keep them attached to the wall?

    • Thanks John.

      For attachment to the wall, I use an eye hook bent open and a loop of monofilament. The 10lb rating may be overkill, but I have found with others , they stretch and even get brittle over time. The thickness makes it hard to tie and hold a knot so I put a spot of Testor's glue on it. Bomb proof.

      Looping on the model is different each time. Sending some pics.

      4 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  3. Well done Joe, and a nice addition to your Bomber Corner.

  4. Being a Boomer and having watched "12 'O'clock High" and the "War Lover" back, when Boeing was held in high regard and having gone to many airshows . . . the Revell kit still can hold its own. Revell may have lifted some of Monograms R and D but, now there one and the same. The plastic still holds up well in a day and age of Computers Assisted Design and LIDAR.

    It all works Joe.

    Two thumbs up.

  5. Whupped 'em again Josey

    Very nice work and results on one of the old not easy to assemble model kits. I had a hard enough time with the Revellogram I did awhile back, I've heard this kit is worse altho you'd not know it by seeing this one.

  6. Looks great! Wonderful job on a challenging kit, weathering and chipping looks great too!

  7. Good looking Belle!

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