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John vd Biggelaar
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Boeing B17G Flying Fortress "Sally B", Revell 1/72 (No.04279 year 2012)

January 7, 2023 · in Aviation · · 41 · 1.2K

After receiving an invitation from Bernard @lis to participate in the fantastic group build, I could simply not resist. Deciding which aircraft I wanted to build was an easy task. In 2019, together with my dad, we visited the Flying Legends airshow in Duxford. We were very impressed by seeing all those warbirds in real active life. Although each single one was impressive to see, the one that drew our biggest attention was "Sally B", a late version B17G. With that in mind I thought that building a copy of this aircraft would be a great remembrance of what I have seen together with my dad that day.

The kit used is the kit of the Memphis Bell in (04279), correct, this kit is intended to buid a B17F, however the exact same molds are also used for Revell's B17G version. Everything, well almost, was there to build the G-variant including the chin turret. I say almost, because the side panel windows which are used on "Sally B" were different than the ones provided in the kit. Also the position of the starboard waist gunner position is different on "Sally B", more to the front, compared to the location on the F-variant. For the decals I used the Kits-World 172019 set (includes the decals for the B17s used in the movie of Memphis Belle). So besides some incorrect positions of the windows, I had everything there to create an almost copy of "Sally B". In addition, I used a PE pilots seat replacement and a PE replacement for the instrumentation panel to give the interior an upgrade. The interior was nicey detailed, only issue to mention is about the bullet belts which do not fit at all, a correction needs to be made there. The fuselage halves go together pretty well. Only worry I had was about the nose, after mounting the transparant part, there was not a fluid transistion between the fuselage and the nose cone. This required some work and I was worried that after removing the masks it would look terrible, but in the end it looks quite okay to me. Externally you have the option to have the flaps and rudder moveable as well as the flaps to be opened, the bomb bay doors as well. Chin, ball and upper machine gun turret are moveable as well. Revell left the tail end, where the guns are extruding, very spartic. "Sally B" has a metal plate and a piece of canvas, this I tried to replicate using a piece of plastic card and patafix to create the canvas looks. The Kits-World decals did lay down nicely and after some decal softener they followed the surface nicely. Only incorrectness was the checkerboard cowl decal, this one should cover the entire surface from the edge of the cowl flaps till the inside of the cowl. Unfortunately the decal was not large enough to achieve that but since it still looks better than correcting it by hand, I left it as is. Paints used were Vallejo acrylics. Although "Sally B" is a well maintained aircraft and therefore not that weathered (thanks for pointing that out Stephen @stephen-w-towle), I wanted to give her a bit of a worn look and there added some washes and exhaust stains. In general the entire kit did eventually go together quite nicely and most of the mistakes were created by the buider himself.

From a distance and leaving out the minor incorrect elements, the aircraft looks like the "Sally B" my dad and I saw during this rememberable day. One of those days that will be rembered forever.

I would like to thank Bernard @lis for the invitation and all the people who followed the building thread and commented on the progress made. Again another great adventure and very learningfull.

Reader reactions:
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37 additional images. Click to enlarge.

41 responses

  1. An amazing result, my friend John! You did a really excellent job allover, paying attention to every detail. Your build thread was a pure joy to follow.

  2. Spectacular build! It was Great to build Fortress togeather! But it is scale 1:72?

  3. @johnb
    Very impressive work John, a fine Fortress depiction.
    I never knew the Belle had squares painted on on elf her cowlings…

  4. Great job, John. I really like the look of that instrument panel. It could pass for 1/48.

  5. @johnb Sharp detail work and overall great result John!

  6. That's a great looking B-17! Love the weathering and the checkerboard decal on the engine.

  7. Excellent work, John. You put a lot into this one.

  8. Excellent built John

  9. Spectacular work John.
    I like the out of the box Revell kit parts with all its original detailing plus the aftermarket pieces you added. It looks amazing all together. The story of you and your father going to Duxford to see a B-17 Live is a nice experience. Thanks for sharing.

  10. The detail in your B-17 looks more like 1/48, John (@johnb). I was a great pleasure following your WIP. Well done.

  11. All your work has paid off with a bonus, a great looking B-17, John, I really like the extra details, especially in the cockpit, and the checkerboard transfers on the cowlings add an extra splash of colour. You must be very pleased to have such a memory of your visit to Duxford.

  12. Great build John 🙂

  13. Beautiful work John, you have made a great looking B-17. Super nice paint job and weathering!

  14. What they've said. You've really done this one justice, outstanding work sir

  15. Fabulous detail work on this one John @johnb. That cockpit looks superb. You really “dialed” it in.

    I once made the trek to the Duxford Legends air show all the way from California. I was not disappointed. Probably the best airshow experience ever.

    • @eb801, thank you very much, Eric. Very much appreciated. Quite a long travel from California all the way to Duxford, but this show is definitely worth it. It was my first time ever warbird show and I was really impressed by seeing all those airworthy classics. What year did you visit?

      • I still have the program and it’s dated 2007. Wow! How time roars by!

        I have been back to Duxford and Cogswell more recently but just to visit the static museums. Seeing 15 or so Spits in the air is something I will never forget. How many in the air at once in 2019?

        • @eb801, in 2019 the group Spitfires airborne at once was 12, at the end of the show they had a total of 24 piston engine aircraft airborn at once, amazing to see all of them passing by.

          2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  16. John,

    Great article and build blog. Thankyou, for putting up with the back seat driver who kept making comments on your build. I love the photo's in this article. Photographing a model at ground level is a must. Showing the engine details and the interior of the model goes a long way to educating yourself and the viewer on all of the crew stations even though the kit will be buttoned up its informative. Showing the cockpit instrument panel is a added bonus. Your adventure in modeling is entertaining but, it helps others who want to do the same . . . until it's time. Its a good road map on how too. Like the saying "It takes a village to raise a child" there is a corner in our minds that's still a kid in side and half the adventure is in doing it with the help of other modelers.
    Cheers to the adventure.

    • @stephen-w-towle, thanks a lot, Stephen. It was a pleasure to have you along the building process. Again I would like to thank you for all the constructive comments. I do agree that models photographed from ground level do show more about how the aircraft looks in real. Especially if you have seen the aircraft yourself, those pictures, sort of, remember of what you have seen. I'm happy to put everything in a blog, even the mistakes, we can all learn from each other this way.

  17. Thats a lot different from the one I built so long ago, great build!

  18. Hi John @johnb, what an excellent build. The level of details is stunning. I really enjoy your WIP in the group. Look exactly the same than the one I saw when I was younger in Oostmeale airshow. Thanks for posting.

  19. Looks fantastic! I'd never seen a checkered cowl on a B-17 that I remember - that is a really nice touch. Some nice modulation of the OD scheme as well. Well done.

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