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The Great LSP Twins Group Build Starts Jan 24, 2024 - End July 3, 2024 ×

HK 1/32 B-17G 96th BG "Ragged But Right"

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Glad to finally join the forums here. Here's my first work in progress post, my HK 1/32 B-17G depicting my Grandfather's aircraft, 44-6888 AW-R, unofficially named "Ragged But Right". My Grandfather, Joseph Denver, was a bombardier with the 96th BG/337th BS, being stationed at Snetterton Heath and flying missions from Feb. 1945 until wars end. He completed 13 missions, received a purple heart for a piece of flak that went through his right hand, and remained in Europe after VE Day with the occupation forces, flying P-51's with the 55th FG stationed at Y-90 in Geibelstadt, Germany.


I had always wanted to build a detailed and accurate representation of my Grandfather's primary bird (he flew missions of several different aircraft, which was common for a Bombardier late in the war), but 44-6888 was his main squeeze. The crew unofficially named her "Ragged But Right" and began the process of putting nose art on her, when the war ended and she was written off after a landing accident on May 11, 1945. She's the subject of one of the most popular 96th BG images since WWII, seen here:


34911207194_00056392c7_z.jpgmedia-5331 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


She lost all power upon landing, and the pilot, Bruce Bronson (my Grandfather's best friend) was able to get the engines completely shut down before she rolled off the end of the runway, through a row of hedges, coming to rest across Eccles Road.

My Grandfather slipped into dementia real bad about ten years ago, and passed away on Christmas Eve, 2017. Shortly after his passing, I came into possession of several hundred photo negatives he took during WWII, which I had developed by Film Rescue International, which does photo developments for the Imperial War Museum in Duxford. Upon getting the photos back, I was able to piece together my Grandfather's journey through Europe during and after WWII. Additionally, the photos contained dozens of detailed photos of the crash of 44-6888, which helped provide the last impetus to get this project off the ground. To this day, I don't have any photos of 44-6888 in flight or otherwise; only photos of her crashed on May 11, 1945.

For the build, I decided on HK's 1/32 B-17G, complete with the full compliment of aftermarket do-dads. I didn't go through the process of fixing the shape inaccuracies of the kit, as it certainly looks like a B-17G when finished, and that was good enough for me. I added several scratch built and self-casted resin parts, to include the chin turret motors, parachutes, and individual crew life preservers. Eduard came to the rescue as well, providing several of the details for the interior.

She's currently packed up, as I am in the middle of a move and don't have a desk at the moment. My wife and I close on a new house on 1/22/19, and I will have my own hobby room in the basement. Once I get a desk set back up, I will get back to work on her. The fuselage is almost complete, and the wings are near the paint stage. Not much left to do now!

Without further delay, here's a smattering of photos taken along the way during the build:

34911207494_b9014d9b65_b.jpg18622250_10101958881323342_2387607033197495195_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

Scratch build motor drive for the chin turret, along with Uschi wood grain decals for the floor.

34911207464_4ac597498c_b.jpg18700134_10101971091049952_774865234760883703_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

The completed forward cockpit floor.

34911207594_87ed67ed5c_b.jpg18581864_10101958881298392_1565577310635706018_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

Starboard side of the nose, with Eduard and resin detail pieces. No interior green here!

34911207344_1531ab72e7_b.jpg19657209_10102040708461102_1171184228371285611_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

Completed cockpit and forward nose interior.

34911207274_ba4dac1a98_b.jpg19748461_10102040709414192_7445443816114921575_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

Cockpit and Eduard instrument panel, complete with Boeing logos on the control wheels.

38447982812_d8790d0be6_b.jpg23472969_10102248939130172_313212922174476905_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

Port side waist area.

38447982592_b6d1c5d5af_z.jpg23622374_10102248939030372_3174878160371067045_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

Top turret, using the more accurate innards from the B-17E/F kit.

23917971627_6e67a1b026_b.jpg24232601_10102272818924872_1620211532282173634_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

Ball turret.

23917971777_80a8b91d8f_b.jpg24177082_10102271475796512_191279881460025936_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

All buttoned up, with the appropriately busy nose compartment.

42702704140_7d23daeb0b_k.jpg20180903_102202 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

42702702730_d44aa6e18f_k.jpg20180905_105139 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

42702703190_a1c3d35464_k.jpg20180905_105048 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

42702703720_3e1517d5d4_k.jpg20180903_140122 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

Paint has begun. AK Extreme Metals were used for the natural metal finish.

44481918122_e80db02b16_k.jpg41045759_573396976425563_6324215403488739328_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

Time for her red bands and nose stripe, using MM Insignia Red enamel.

43875490824_58f39aef8f_b.jpg41418398_10102634811119612_2424225514915889152_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

She's starting to look the part. The frame around the starboard front window was painted red, as was the front of the cheek gun on the port side. These little details were picked out of the several dozen detail photos from the crash.

43853656395_bd07a3dca3_k.jpg41938677_242730879773721_2932020494754381824_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

Her smaller nose art/personal crew touch: Her buzz numbers, 888, had ears and tails added to depict 3 cats on either side of the nose.

... and here's how the stands today. The rest of the decals were applied, and a light wash as well:

44037257665_aecf3fd4f0_k.jpg42666812_2473702635979958_1751715373884899328_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

44037257985_ede7ebe90a_k.jpg42649082_270661936900512_5571247043101327360_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

44037258495_80f4f62d1c_k.jpg42633843_2201670630118226_9213430214061719552_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

44037258865_945f48d189_k.jpg42627930_662491927483742_542971904454033408_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

44037259385_4f5739ef1f_k.jpg42612009_308207156634512_6888743405204013056_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

44037260155_16911d5eb1_k.jpg42601091_281713176008644_6617723061791621120_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

44037259765_0e1352e7d7_k.jpg42611657_310386739787574_6135258768272785408_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

44037259055_eca1407882_k.jpg42622703_2082137988766615_4282316491304468480_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr

44037258685_1e2fb838c1_k.jpg42627934_691565847868586_3618207585477328896_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


That's about it for now folks. Comments and critiques are most welcome. Hoping to be able to post more progress here soon! Thanks for bearing with such a long post.

And, before I forget, here's Joseph Denver, in his better years as a young hero in England during WWII:

25594739788_2e703f612b_z.jpg26241290_10210747976678803_569739957_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


- Dennis S.

  Thornton, CO USA

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  • 6 months later...

More pictures coming soon!


Now that the wife and I have moved into and are settled into our new house (I have my very own hobby room!), I have been able to get cranking on this kit again. I am motivated to finish it before a regional show on September 28th, so the mojo is currently strong with this one. I have begun the final prep on the wings for paint, and will hopefully be getting some paint on them this coming Monday.

After the wings are completed, all that's left are landing gear legs, a few fiddly bits, weathering, and the aerial wires. The end is definitely in sight! Stay tuned.




- Dennis S.

  Thornton, CO USA



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As I refreshed my memory on my thread here, I realize there are other updates I can share with the class, so here goes!

I elected to add an Eduard Brassin engine to the build, to give it a little more life with an exposed engine. These little beauties are something to behold, and with careful painting, they really pop!


48439020141_dc6c9fd09d_b.jpg37613708_10102576627295462_2008003219262799872_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


48439020191_f8c36b3867_b.jpg37602505_10102576627110832_2466304645249630208_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


When compared with the kit engines (even with the Eduard and AMS Resin upgrades), you can see the difference. However, since the kit engines will be buried in cowlings behind propellers, the differences won't be as obvious.


48439164937_6d28b51834_b.jpg37615318_10102576627520012_3179946451123830784_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


48439165082_9c74ea791d_b.jpg37412602_10102576627060932_7072215191089315840_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


All four engines are complete, and once I get the wings painted, I can install the engines (the kit engines are already installed in their cowlings, which are painted):


48439071981_8659fd860d_k.jpg54405583_258361531707186_4458971515550957568_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


While I don't have any photographs of 44-6888 flying, I did have a painting commissioned by Wade Meyers showing her in flight. She now proudly flies right above my model desk, so I can glance up at her and think of her better days!


48439020281_c16634bb8e_b.jpg2823203x800 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


That's all for today folks! More to come, and thanks for following.

- Dennis S.

  Thornton, CO USA

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  • 2 weeks later...

Small update today:


The landing gear are a known problem in this kit, as they have a rather improper stance. The stance as kitted is accurate for a bird in the process of lifting off or about to land, as they are essentially in full extension. They should be shorted by approximately 3mm to obtain an accurate height for a loaded, sitting bird.


I cut my gear legs at the top of the oleos, and shorted the retraction strut appropriately. I then pinned them with a brass rod, and reattached them with epoxy. It provided a strong bond that will hold the weight of the kit. As I had changed the stance of the kit legs, it required replacement of the kit molded brake lines. I used some of the kit fixtures, and ran my own lines using fine solder. The attachment loops were created with fine strips of Tamiya tape:



48550809206_3e8bf7806e_b.jpg68755791_10103040539895892_4160851122501713920_o by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr



Once they were fully built out, they were painted with Tamiya sprays, the fine details (brake lines and retraction strut portions) were hand painted, and a wash was applied. Viola! Completed struts, that are an accurate height. This will really help the stance of the completed model.


The kit tires, which good in size, are a little bulbous and the diamond tread is a tad pronounced. I used Eduard's Brassin wheels, even though they are documented as being a tad on the small side. I wish I had more options, for accuracy's sake, as my Grandfather's bird had one diamond tread, and one block tread tire. Who knows, maybe some day I can switch one of them out.


For painting the tires, I used Tamiya spray matte black, followed by a dry brushing of a darker grey. Snetterton Heath, where she was based, had a concrete/blacktop runway, with paved taxi lanes and concrete parking circles for the bombers. Their activity on dirt and grass was at a minimum, so I kept the tires relatively clean in that regard. Tamiya weathering pastels were applied heavily to the tires, then wiped away so that the deposits were only in the crevices of the tire. While the photo doesn't show it all too terribly well (thanks, cell phone), I am quite pleased with the result:



48550952467_c98dd932fe_b.jpg68248663_10103041067698172_8610831029529214976_o by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr



That's all for today folks! I'm in the process of painting the wings in AK Metal, and once those are complete, the rest should fly right by. When she gets displayed at the show at the end of September, I plan on bringing my fancy work camera (I am a CSI), and taking some more professional photographs of her in some better lighting.


And, why not another photo from my Grandfather's collection?


Who said you couldn't travel in style in Europe? Here, 96th BG/337th BS B-17G 43-38919 (AW-L) sits in her parking circle preparing to be turned down after a mission. Her crew has applied white walls to the tires, making her pretty unique (wouldn't she make a lovely model?):



48551085202_86dd0fa880_k.jpg0554.D.024 by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr





As always, comments and critiques are welcome!


- Dennis S.

  Thornton, CO USA

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On 8/17/2019 at 10:32 AM, Bomber_County said:

Dennis this build is looking stunning, have been to Snetterton on many occasions for motorsport events.........

I've never been, but its on the list! I had a chap once who was going to send me a chunk of the original runway from there, but alas, he never did and now I can't get in touch with him.

As a side note, because I haven't noted it before, I have a piece of this aircraft in my collection. When the aircraft crashed, my Grandfather removed the airspeed indicator from the bombardier's panel. He eventually brought it home from Europe with him, and I now have it in my collection. I have an actual piece of 44-6888, and that brings me great joy.


- Dennis S.

  Thornton, CO USA

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Another small update!


The starboard side wing has received its base coat of matte aluminum, and after a few sessions of polishing, cursing, respraying, polishing, cursing some more, and then spraying some more, I finally had a nice base coat. I then applied AK Extreme Metals aluminum paint to a few panels and panel lines, and applied Dark Aluminum to the "hot zones" around the exhausts and turbos.

48631183056_5ee7fed726_b.jpg69267344_10103054298348842_6393572283436236800_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


48630827323_0cc15f4a2f_b.jpg69257240_10103054298308922_324606507175903232_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


48630827368_84c1432dc0_b.jpg69160428_10103054298578382_2641277309331439616_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


After the metals were complete and were allowed to dry for a little while, I applied the anti-glare panels per Eduard's excellent instructions for 1/48 and 1/72 B-17 anti-glare (This being a Douglas bird it was a little different than Vega and Boeing), and after that, her tell-tale red wing stripes.


48631328342_e87e1d5419_b.jpg69785250_10103054298378782_2874053043442155520_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


48631183031_8bec6e224a_b.jpg69356529_10103054298543452_7908832695310876672_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


After completing painting, I just couldn't help but throw the wing onto the fuselage, lay the soon-to-be-applied wing square-C decal on top, and snap a few photos with the engines and props set in place. She's really starting to look the part!


48630827343_4a2330e68f_k.jpg69184403_1124115021119314_6288490140398518272_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


48631328492_4dbed012f9_k.jpg68976969_488375801977678_5497539133649715200_n by Dennis SAuter, on Flickr


As usual, all comments and critiques are welcome! Now, where did I leave that other wing...


- Dennis S.

  Thornton, CO USA

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