- Product Name : 1/72 B-17G
- Product Number : A08017
- Manufacturer : Airfix
This kit was given to me by my father-in-law as a housewarming gift, so as soon as we got settled into the new house, I wanted to get going on it. While he’s a long time modeler and I’m still much of a novice, he wanted my opinion on this kit itself as he’s looking to start it in the future. Upon opening the box, you’ll see several sprues chocked full of parts and decals/painting instructions for two natural metal finish planes. I soon realized (after having completed a P-51 and F-84 in NMF) that I wanted to do a Olive Drab version. I found a decal set that would satisfy this and soon Swamp Fire would come to life. Also, while looking at the clear parts I decided that I would give a pre-cut mask set a try (and I’m glad I did). Other than these two items it was an out of the box build in terms of parts provided. Lets go!
I started in the cockpit, as one does, and moved back towards the tail. There was nothing really to note during the interior build. All the parts went together smoothly and the detail is adequate, but nothing to write home about. Soon it was time to close the interior and that’s where the first hiccup came up. Most of the fuselage halves joined with no issue but in the area above the bomb bay there was a sizable gap that had to be dealt with. I manged to muscle it together so only a small amount of filler was needed but it took some doing. There was also a smaller gap around the ball turret, but not near as bad as the top. These might be attributable to builder errors, as it seems like something didn’t slot into place right.
The next hiccup came when joining the wing halves. When dry-fitting them it looked like an open duck bill. These also took some muscling together and a fair amount of tape to hold them in place while applying the Tamiya Extra-Thin. The third and “final-ish” hiccup came when joining the wings to the fuselage. I had the choice to make the tops flush with the fuselage or the bottom. I chose the former as it’s obviously more exposed. More filler was then needed on the underside at the wing root.
The rest of the build went smoothly and then I masked and placed (again, I highly recommend the pre-cut masks) the clear parts. On to painting!
I decided to try black basing for the first time so I laid down the Alclad Black Primer/Microfiller. On top of that I did a mottling effect with a set of stencils I got off eBay. On the top (where the drab would be) I used white, red-brown, and green-yellow (all Tamiya) and on the bottom (where there would be a medium grey) I used RAF ocean grey and RAF underside sky (both Mission Model Paints). After this I laid down the base colors of medium grey on the bottom and Olive Drab (faded 3), both Mission paints. The control surfaces I did with light gull grey on the bottom and a darker Drab on the top (also, both Mission paints).
After this was all blended in nicely I did the final touches on the leading edges of the wings and tail, did the touch-ups that were needed and sealed everything in with the Alclad Klear Kote gloss.
I used a combination of the decals that came with the kit and the after market decals. The Airfix decals seemed a little thick, but went down no problem after being treated with Microsol/Mircoset. The aftermarket decals went on with no issues as well. I decided to go light on the stencils as many were black lettering and weren’t very legible against the drab. I ended up only adding the stencils for the different crew positions that were specific to Swamp Fire, the fuel caps, and ones for the props.
After seeing some inspiration from others on Instagram I decided to alter my normal weathering process and do some post shading rather than a panel line wash. I also decided to paint on the exhaust stains rather than using pastels/pigments. This was my first time doing both, so I was quite nervous. For both post shading and the stains I used Tamiya’s smoke thinned down significantly. After adding some light chipping to the props, leading edges, and commonly accessed areas I decided to call it quits (at least for now…I might go back later to do some oil filters). Finally, a couple coats of the Alclad Klear Kote Flat was added get rid of the shine.
All-in-all this was my favorite build to date. The B-17 is my favorite plane by a significant margin. I’ve even had the chance to fly on one — and it was an experience that I will never forget (currently saving up for a P-51 ride). The kit itself had it’s issues but it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed/worked around. Overall, I’d give it a 8/10 just because of the fit issues early on. There were also a couple points where I thought it was slightly over engineered (e.g. a sub assembly used 5 pieces when 2-3 would do). I’d give my work a 7/10. I’m quite happy with the majority of the plane but there are certainly some errors that were made and can be corrected on the next one!
While this is only my 5th build since restarting the hobby, I think I’m making some progress. Every build will be better! Right before this kit I started a social media account dedicated to my modeling. If you want to follow along on my next builds or check out my previous builds, check out my Instagram account: @spruecutter2020.
Thanks for reading and we’ll see you on the next one!