Boeing Fortress Mk.III

Published: March 26th, 2020     
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Reviewed by: Marc K. Blackburn - IPMS# 42892
Scale: 1/72
Company: Airfix
Price: $42.99
Product / Stock #: A08018
Product provided by: Airfix

The Kit

In 2016, Airfix released to wide acclaim, a B-17 G. Rather than giving a summary of the bomber, I will just say this - Airfix chose to create a variant used in the RAF. The kit is based on that new mold and is a variant of the B-17 G. The British adapted 85 B-17 G's to be used for weather monitoring and electronic warfare. The kit has markings and profiles for two RAF aircraft plus stencils common to both aircraft. The biggest difference is that this variant is missing the ball and chin turrets. The G model's distinctive chin turret was replaced by a radome.  Ten sprues are in typical Airfix light blue plastic and packed together in one bag. Instructions are in a booklet of new type with CAD drawings. Colors listed as Humbrol line. It is easy enough to find equivalents if you use other paint brands. Given the state of the mold, there is very little flash.  

Assembly

As with most aviation kits, you begin with the interior - the cockpit and the various compartments. With the possible exception of the cockpit and bombardier's position, once the fuselage is sealed, very little of the details can be seen. You can also opt to build the bomber either in flight or on the ground. I chose to depict the bomber on the ground, with the bomb bay closed. The various bits and pieces for the interior went together without any issues. Given the scale, the interior is well detailed, but once the two halves of the Fuselage are put together, you really won't see anything.

Unfortunately, when it came to put the two sections of the fuselage together, I had issues. I am not sure if it is operator error, but it was by far the most frustrating aspect of this kit. The interior bulkheads fit into one half of the plane just fine. I cleaned the opposite sides of the bulkheads of paint, but there was huge gap on the top of the B-17. After extensive sanding and some surgery, I was able to get an okay fit, but needed to use putty to the fill the gaps. It was annoying. Moreover, the clear pieces that went on the front of the fuselage did not fit snuggly and required some adjustments. Not very happy with the fit.

Considering the challenges of the fuselage, the wings went together with relative ease. The interior bulkheads for the nacelles with the landing gear fit well and the landing gear struts fit right in without any issues. The engines popped in, but the shrouds were a bit fiddly. Over all, there were some fit issues, but nothing that I thought was out of the ordinary for a newer model. The wings are joined to the fuselage through two spars as well as a series of tabs which is by no means unusual with modern kits. The fit between the wing root and the fuselage was snug. The gap was slight, but nothing that cannot be mitigated.  

Finishing

Since this an Airfix kit, the color call outs are in Humbrol Paints. I substituted Tamiya Paint, using Flat Black, Flat Earth, and Dark Green. To help facilitate painting, I also purchased the appropriate set of Eduard masks. Given the amount of glass, this proved to be an indispensable tool. I put a coat of gloss after every layer, to protect the paint before I put the next layer on. After a final coat of gloss, the decals went on. There are two color schemes and a common set of stencils. Airfix decals have improved in quality and they went on without any issues. The last step was putting the various antennas on and the kit was done!

When I was a kid, hands down, the B-17 was my favorite airplane. To this day I still have a soft spot in my heart for this iconic airplane. When the base kit came out, it was greeted by rave reviews. For this scale, it is indeed a nice kit. All that being said, my nickname of this kit was the beast. As mentioned earlier, the fit issues for the fuselage were so frustrating that if this wasn't a review, it would have ended up in the bin. I followed the instructions, test fit things, and found nothing but issues. While I can still recommend this model, be aware that there might be issues.

My thanks to IPMS, and Airfix for giving me the opportunity to review this kit.

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