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a D out of a G.... HK's B-17 conversion

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G'day guys and gals,


I've been a member on here for a while now and haven't put up a WIP thread, so I thought I might start with something easy and quick..... :blink: as the title suggests I'm converting the HK B-17G into a D model. I actually started this over on another forum just over a year ago, but I figured people might appreciate seeing it here as well. 


The bottom line so far is that this is in no way simple or quick. For those who aren't familiar with the HK B-17, this is an amazing kit and a long time dream come true for a lot of people that wanted a big bird of their own. It builds up nicely and looks like a B-17 when it's done. There's been plenty of comment about the accuracy of the kit all over the internet so this thread is not about trying to make a super accurate G. More so, I had an idea that using the kit as an excellent base, I could design a new nose and rear fuselage and graft them onto the existing centre section. As the wing shape more or less remained unchanged throughout the life of the fort, the would make my life easier.


Originally I was intending to make vac form masters and then get them professionally pulled, but then I took a great big step into the 21st century and brought myself a 3D printer. I then used that to make the required fuselage corrections and now it's all about adding the internal details. I'm aware that most people (including myself a lot of the time) come for the photos, so I'll try and keep the explanations to a minimum. However if anyone is interested and would like to know how I did a certain thing or elaborate on a process, feel free to ask. Also, if anyone has any information they feel is pertinent to B-17's feel free to share it. 


Comments and critique are welcome too guys; I'm certainly not the world's greatest modeller but go for it, anything is welcome!


Anyway, on with the pictures......





















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More again :)
























The 3D printed parts are only done on a low res home machine, so I'm not doing any detailed work with it. More so, I'm using it as a base, and then good old fashioned modelling skills come to the fore for the the interior as you can see with the cockpit section :)





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As you can see there's no point in having all this detail inside if you can't see it, so I'm putting in dome lights in their actual locations and using "nano" LED's. These are about 1.5mm wide by 2.3mm long so they are a bunch of fun to solder :)



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The more I get into this kit the more I realise how little I can actually use from the original kit... oh well, live and learn hey! 






















The hardest part by far is trying to get the nose/cockpit area to have the classic B-17 look. In my opinion, I think this is the most glaring fault of the original kit. I know the fuselage flattens out near the windscreen, which I've tried to incorporate into the 3D print. I'm not saying I can do any better, but it's certainly my intent to give it a go!


Cheers, Craig

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These days I'm working more and more with metal, so I thought for strength and pure cool factor, I'd try making the bomb bay out of brass...






















The idea with this is that I would need to do a lot of test fitting, so I wanted something strong so I could remove and install it whenever I liked without fear of breaking it, plus it would give strength to the centre section of the aircraft where all the load is going to be

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Well you certainly made a statement with your debut WIP!  Amazing stuff!


thanks Mikester!


I appreciate you stopping in to have a look. Apologies for the avalanche of photos all of a sudden, but it gives you an idea about what I've done up till this point :)


I hope you continue to follow this build, I still don't know if I can pull it off yet, but I'm having enormous fun trying :)


Cheers, Craig

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More on the radio room roof. This part was extremely difficult to make. I guess that's why it's not included in the kit :). With the bomb bay stringers after a lot of trial and error, I decided to cast and paint them. It would guarantee repeatability, and the painted colour would add some nice variation to the overall metal finish....























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Starting to add some raised rivet detail around the radio room and building the lift raft stowage bin behind the cockpit.




























Well, that's pretty much it in a nutshell. That's over a year's worth of work and it's only really now beginning to go somewhere! As you can see, the conversion has not been easy, and not as straight forward as I was initially thinking, but I'm having fun and learning a lot at the same time. I'm certainly pushing the boundaries of my not very considerable modelling skills :)


So I hope you've enjoyed having a look at the progress so far and continue to check in as I go along. Like I said, there is no guarantee of success but I'm happy just giving it a go. 


As I said at the start please feel free to comment or question anything I do. I'm a B-17 fan, NOT an expert. Info on early B-17's is pretty scarce, so if anyone has anything they'd like to offer, please feel free too!





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wow, amazing work!


And you can forget your first note about " i am not the worlds greatest modeler " , this is certainly outstanding work,

I wil be following this one for sure,






Hi Frank,


thank you very much. I'm glad you'll be watching this one progress. I finally decided to put it up on here to spread the love so to speak. The more people that see it, the more help I can get when I need it!


Very impressive work!

Love the mix of 3D printed parts and total old school scratch building...


Many thanks Jeroen. This is all about pushing the boundaries for me, and the subject lends itself well to these new found techniques. Always room for refinement though!


My all time favorite B17 variant...

Amazing work, Craig. Stunning. Just looking again and again ay all those pics.




Hi George. You know I never used to like the early models, but since I got the Koster conversion a few years ago they've really started to grow on me. It's such a shame there's not much documentation around them and their very brief, but intense combat history. They are always overshadowed by the 8th's exploits. I hope I can do it justice!


Mate... you're nuts...


But nuts in the most fantastic way - wow, what a piece of work. Stunning !


Thanks Thomas! I know it's hard to believe but you're not the first one to question my sanity :) Especially when at the moment I'm not really using very much of the original kit at all. I just like to a) be different and B) do things the hardest way possible.... thanks for looking in!


Hi Craig,

One of my favourite builds, thanks for posting it here too.



Hi Cees. My pleasure! There's some talented modellers on this site so I'm pretty pumped about showing it here. What you're doing with that manchester is super cool and I've got to have a good look at it. One day I'd love to convert their lanc into a york. That, of course, would mean throwing away the entire fuselage, unless I could find someone with a pre-loved one.... Might be sometime in the future for that though! After this, I have the HK B-25 to attempt to backdate to a D also. I figure that should be pretty straight forward after this! So many dreams, so little time!





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A little but important update :)


I finally found some marking out dye so it was on with the cockpit window/windscreen framework.


To get these frames strong and thin enough, and not suffer from warping, I decided they would be made out of brass. Using my styrene form as a template for measurements I transferred these onto brass strip and cut them out...








And all soldered together. This was a little tricky to get close to the right angles I needed :)




And the test fit. I still have a bit of work to do to refine the fit of this and the roof, but I reckon I'm pretty close. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to do the windows, but I have every confidence I'll think of something in the fullness of time ;)












Thanks for looking, I think I'm close to the right shape now for the overall look, what do you guys think?


Cheers, Craig






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Thanks Cees!


It was certainly one of the main aims of the whole conversion process; to get the "look" right. There's still a lot of work to do and in hindsight, my path has not been the most efficient, but that's how I learn :) Once I'm happy with the fit of the windscreens onto the fuselage and the roof, I'll probably separate the windscreen at the centre to allow me to continue to work in two halves. The key to doing this is of course that I need everything to fit more or less perfectly so the two side will line up when I join the fuselage down the track. The join itself is not an issue, as the area will be covered by metal foil anyway. 


On the subject of fairing in, once I am happy with the fit of the windscreens I'll build up the right contours with magic sculpt.... I believe this will be the easiest way to get some nice, smooth pieces which are so important to the overall look.


That's the plan anyway, if you can see a better way I'm all ears!



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