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The Great LSM Twins Group Build ends July 3, 2024 ×

Another HK Models B-17 with Some Improvements

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HI all.  This will be my first build on this site and hopefully it will be of interest.  On another site, I've been building one of these giant HKM B-17s but I haven't been all that attentive to a number of details and errors.  In fact, I started off a little sloppy so I got another kit (my wife surprised me with it at Christmas) and now, I'm really settling down and paying attention to what I do.  This aircraft will be an all natural metal finish G from the 96th Bomb Group, square block C.  I chose this group because the group's aircraft has some nice red stripes and also because I was stationed with the 96th Test Wing at Eglin AFB which is a direct descendant of the 96th BG.  I guess that makes me connected.  


I'm not sure about the nose art so I will put up a couple of A2 jackets I painted over the years.  This ill be a fictitious plane. Maybe you guys could help me choose one.  







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Here's the first installment.  I decided to start working on the throttle quadrant and add a few details to it.  I didn't like the plastic levers that came with the kit.  The plastic is very soft which makes cleanup difficult and they're too wide.  Also, I wanted to make the throttle handles look more separate so I set about scratch building.  I made the levers out of brass strip with a piece of hex rod soldered to it.  The throttles are also brass strip and round rod trimmed to fit.  I then hollowed out the kit piece, opened up the lever slots and cemented some round styrene rod with slots into which I secured all the levers.  It looks a lot more realistic this way.  The rest is all paint, smoke and mirrors.




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After the quad, I decided to tackle the instrument panel.  There were just too many problems for me to have to deal with using the kit piece so I decided to scratch build another one using the sandwich technique which I learned about 30 years ago from Fine Scale Modeler.  the kit panel is just waaaaaaay too thick and the bezels are all out of whack.  I took a piece of .008 tin, marked all of the instrument holes and cut them out with a drill and a diamond tipped Dremel stone.  



It looks a bit wavy due to the lights but is actually flat.  I'll then be cutting a .010 piece of clear acetate to serve as the glass.  The instrument decal will be put on a piece of .030 sheet styrene and matched to the panel face.  It'll all be stuck together with the same glue I use to stick aluminum foil to the fuselage.  Here's the panel with the paint and the doodads on it.  I still have a few more things to add. For all of the fine lines, I trimmed a thin brush down to about 6 bristles.  They wear out quick but they come in really handy.


Here's another pic up close and sharpened with the edit program.



The painted lines are about as steady as theses old 63 year old hands can muster.  Gone are my pin striping days.  

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I know your work with foil will blow everyone away on here. Love the IP!! I assume you're not going to flatten the nose then?

Thanks Nige.  I was thinking about flattening the nose but it would make so many ripples elsewhere I just bit my lip, closed my eyes and pushed on without it.  My favorite parts to detail anyhow is the interior which would make me an internist.  I'd have to refer the body and wings to you a.k.a. the plastic surgeon.  

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Here's some more work on the IP i.e. the control box on the right.  I had to scratch build that part for two reasons.  1) The control box has no detail and is the wrong shape.  and 2) When I was originally going to modify the kit part, I cut off the right side so I could slide the center section up after trimming its top.  I went and lost the part I cut off, dang it.  I made it by cutting a piece of blood wood and covering it with a piece of aluminum from a soda can.  The fire extinguisher handles are soldered brass pieces and the indicator lights are brass rod with paint dots.  


And the close up.  There's room here for a bunch of touchup and some cleanup on the box.  It looks better at a distance but it's still just not where I want it yet especially on the side where the indicator lights are.  


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Thanks for the kind words.  I'm glad you guys like the jackets.  That's another one of my hobbies I had to curtail because the jackets got way to expensive.


Tonight, I finished the IP.  It's just dry fitted to the bulkhead.  I did a clean up of a number of areas and added a few more doodads that didn't come on the original kit part.  

It should look fairly good behind the throttle quad.  The whole entire panel was done with the sandwich technique but I didn't use clear acetate for the dial glass.  Instead I used microscope slide covers, i.e. real glass.  The pieces are extremely thin and do a better job than acetate. 



Here's the close up of the right control box after cleanup.  


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Another one and how cool are those jackets???


It's great to see you here SD especially with your B-17 AND scratch building skills - the IP is an amazing piece of work sir! (great tip about the micro-scope slide cover, I can imagine a rush to the local science department or suppliers all over the globe now!)


Waiting for more please .... 


PS:- OK guys, name your favourite jacket from the above .. for me, its "Moonlight Serenade"

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Just a quicky progress shot tonight.  I covered the floor with 1/64 in. birch plywood.  Each piece is individually cut and painted to get the variation in the wood panels.  I painted the pieces using clear acryl tinted with different shades of brown and yellow to get that look.  When you dilute the color with water, you'll wind up destroying the wood.  If you dilute enamel paint with thinner, the mix is way too thin to get a decent coat on the panels.  The next step from here will be to gently sand the "varnish' smooth to better simulate the correct scale.  After the acrylic paint is smooth, I'll polish it with a little wax.  That should give just the right amount of shine so it will look like a used wood floor but not beat to hades and back.  


You can see how out of scale the roughness is at this point.  


Here, you can see what I did to the sides of the tunnel opening.  I thinned the walls out and then added styrene strips.  I just wish I could find my Archer rivet decals that I bought last year.  I have no idea where I put them.  


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Here's a few more details from my Adventures in Microns.  I finished the floor as well as cementing the throttle quad to it's detailed base.  


Here's the whole assembly so far.  



This is the floor after sanding and waxing with a little candle wax rubbed onto the clear to dull it down a bit.  Light wear is the name of the game. 



An up close pic of the quadrant against the IP.  



And finally, some throttle pedestal detail.




My next step will be to start on the front bulkhead and do some detailing in the tunnel.  Normally, I would have left the tunnel alone but you can see a good bit of it throughout the front hatch as well as the tunnel entrance from the cockpit.  I'll mostly be some ribbing, a few black boxes and a bunch of wiring.  'Til next episode of Adventures in Microns.  

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Thanks Cees. 


I absolutely have no idea what this box is or what it does but there wasn't any in the kit and I know where it goes.  The "on" lights are yellow stretched sprue with a little yellow paint to make them stand out and the "off" lights are clear stretched sprue.  The metal rings around the light was made by pushing a hot needle about 1mm into the plastic.  That raises a melted edge which I painted chrome silver.  You definitely need supervision or good magnification for this step. 


This is a shot with the box on its side.  The correct position is 90 degrees counter clockwise.  I did that to better see the raised detailDSCN1812_zps86d6e6d7.jpg

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Just a quicky update tonight.  I've been working on detailing the cockpit side of bulkhead #2 as the detail is not there but the potential for adding it is very high.  I've added some ribbing structure as well as scratch building the hydraulic parts (those thingies on the starboard rear of the bulkhead).  I'm about to scratch build the doohickies that go on the rear starboard part of the cockpit wall.  I'm somewhat weak on the correct terminology of the parts, I just make 'em.  I'll post some pictures after I get the bulkhead assembled and painted.  Stay tuned for more Adventures in Microns.  

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Oh yeah.  When 1mm begins to be divided, you're working in microns.  


Here's the rear cockpit wall with about 95% of all the parts completed.  I still have to put in the wiring and plumbing as well as finishing the bomb bay side of the bulkhead.  The bomb bay detail is pretty much there so I'll be detailing it mostly with paint and washes.  No need to reinvent the wheel.



More to come.  

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Here's what I have so far.  This is the starboard cockpit wall with as many doodads as I could find in my research.  I still need to add the manual hydraulic lever as well as some wiring, the hydraulic plumbing, the O2 tanks and plumbing and whatever else I stumble across in my research.  


I still need to add the washes and the light weathering.



And some close up shots.



More on the way.  

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More of the Adventures in Tedium.  I've done some of the detail for the pilot's wall and the tunnel.  For the forward part of the tunnel just below the yokes, I cemented a piece of .005 styrene sheet to cover up all the drilled holes and the throttle quadrant hollow and then added the C shaped styrene for the framework.  The wood is 1/64 inch birch plywood veneer stained and varnished and superglued to the roof.  


Here's the pilot's wall.  There's still some touchup and detailing to do.



This is the tunnel roof in its basic form.  there's a lot of detail that still has to be added as well as weathering, paint touch up and washes.



The final shot shows the brackets the control wires will go through.  There's also a lot of further detail to add.  


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