The B-17 was designed in 1935 and had, by 1943, evolved into the B-17G model, which comprised a production total of 8680 – 4035 by Boeing, 2395 by Douglas and 2250 by Lockheed-Vega.
This issue by Hasegawa features a new set of decals, but the same basic moldings which this kit had 35 years ago: lightly raised panel lines, typical fit (good), and some sink marks which you might expect in an older kit. It has 97 parts and is advertised as a skill level 3. The box is of higher quality than usual, since it has a heavier hollow cardboard stock for the box bottom with glossy card stock for the lid.
The props have sink marks near the hubs and, although the flaps have nice rib detail for the down position, I posed them up because there were four sink marks inside each one. I could have filled those, but it would have been difficult to sand them down and preserve the rib detail. The wings and stabilizers fit the fuselage well, but I had trouble lining up the engine cowlings. Care must be taken in gluing the cowls on, since they’re thin at the attach points and will melt easily with over-gluing. There’s no detail inside the wheel wells and the basic cockpit consists of a floor and seats. This block of B-17s left the factory unpainted, so I painted the interior silver using Model Master Non-Buffing Aluminum Metalizer.
The model looks like a B-17, but would be more accurate if a small portion on the lower nose were flat, and the fuselage bulkheads in front and back of the bomb bay had a rearward slant. The ball turret is split down the middle, so there’s a seam where there should be clear glass. I widened the window on the upper nose, forward of the astrodome.
The decals are what this reissue is all about – they were on register, and gave a choice of two aircraft. After trying to figure out which one to choose, I decided to do both, since I had another Hasagawa B-17G already started. The two markings choices are "Carolina Moon", a Boeing-built B-17G-75 from the 490th BG, 851st BS, 8th Air Force in 1944, and “Humpty Dumpty", a B-17G-35DL, the last one of its block built by Douglas, a 351st BS plane also from 1944. Called the "Silver Fleet" by Hasegawa, both are natural metal airplanes and, again, I used Model Master Non-Buffing Aluminum Metalizer for their finish. I shaded some panels for effect, and overcoated the models with Metalizer sealer.
On “Carolina Moon”, I used Gunze acrylic for the red trim; both aircraft had olive drab anti-glare panels requiring some masking and painting…and pulling the masking off, I lost some silver paint around them, which I had to touch up. Next time I’d either try painting the colors first or would use a different aluminum medium. I used decal strips for the deicers and touched them up with paint where needed.
The kit includes three crew figures – two sitting pilots and one standing flight crewmember. I started painting them but ended up not using them, and put in masking tape seat belts instead. The decals are brittle but will settle down with Solvaset.
Overall, the kit isn’t what you get with a state-of-the-art issue, but still turns out to be a good representation of the mighty B-17 Flying Fortress. My thanks go to IPMS/USA, Hasegawa, and Hobbico for the opportunity to review this kit of my favorite airplane.