B-17G Flying Fortress "Flak Eater"

Published: June 10th, 2013     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/144
Company: Minicraft Model Kits
Price: $18.99
Product / Stock #: 14683

OK, it's a 1/144 B-17G. I have 1/144 B-17Gs in the stash from Crown, Revell, and Academy/Minicraft. Nevertheless, I've never gotten around to building any of these, so this one is the first of several B-17Gs I'll be doing as I get around to it.

First reason to like this kit - they've completely redone the clear parts. Trust me, this mold has been around the block a few times, and these clear parts are much better.

Second reason - the decals. Cartograf makes excellent decals, and Minicraft gives you markings for two pretty interesting B-17Gs.

The Aircraft I Built

This B-17G is not done with the kit decals. Just before I started this project, I attended IPMS Las Vegas "Best of the West" contest at Henderson, NV. I picked up a set of Kits-World decals for the B-17. The provided decals would have been just fine, except one of the aircraft on the sheet has a personal connection.

"American Beauty" 2S*G, serial 42-98008, was crewed by Virgil Brummett of West Peoria, Illinois. Virge was flight engineer and top turret gunner on this aircraft. He worked with my father, and I got to build him the Airfix B-17 from a photograph he provided. When I saw this sheet on the vendor's table, I HAD to have it. I've also done a review of these decals for IPMS/USA.

Building the Model

This is an older mold, but Minicraft has kept it in good shape. One of the indicators that it's not brand new is that it only requires 6 steps in the instructions to finish building the kit. And two of those steps are for either in-flight or stationary versions. You get props with blades for the stationary one or prop hubs for the in-flight version, and you cut one of the struts on the gear legs to tuck the wheels up.

The parts fit nicely, with almost no need for putty. I did have to fill the joints for the wings/fuselage, but the fuselage halves and wings required only a little scraping to give a decent seam. The push-through horizontal stabilizer fit pretty wel, too.

So now it was time to begin the painting.

Painting

Fairly simple, except for the canopy masking and the anti-glare panels on the 4 engines. I used Testors Metalizer Aluminum overall, but masked the entire canopy and painted it later. I then masked the 4 anti-glare panels on the engines and on the nose in front of the cockpit. There's a photo of all that masking down below.

I put a coat of Future (yes, I still have a bottle of Future) on the entire aircraft, and prepared for markings.

Decals

I put the Minicraft decals on first. These are all of the windows, including the waist gunner positions and the sides of the nose. If you wanted to, you could use decals to do the cockpit, too. Considering the lack of detail in the average 1/144 cockpit, that's not a bad idea.

The Cartograf decals provided in the kit are a superior product. They went on well, allowed me to move them, and then stayed where I put them. Well, except for one nose window, which wanted to float instead of stick. I also used the stars and bars for the wings from the Minicraft markings.

After the windows, etc., had a chance to set up thoroughly (about 2 days), I followed up with the "American Beauty" markings from Kits-World.

Another coat of Future, and I was ready to finish.

Final Assembly

I always save the fragile parts and fiddly bits until last. Even then, I sometimes manage to detach or break something during final assembly. Not this time, though. I added the clear parts, the tail wheel, the landing gear, and the props. And it was finished.

I left off the guns, as Virge said that unless they were prepped for a mission, the guns were removed so the armorers could clean them.

Overall Evaluation

Highly recommended. This is a really good kit, especially considering the age of the mold and the size of the model. Fit was good, and I had fun doing this build.

Thanks to Minicraft for the review kit and IPMS/USA for letting me review it.

  • Instructions
    Instructions
  • Markings 1
    Markings 1
  • Markings 2
    Markings 2
  • Assembled 1
    Assembled 1
  • Assembled 2
    Assembled 2
  • Painted 1
    Painted 1
  • Painted 2
    Painted 2
  • Minicraft window decals
    Minicraft window decals
  • Decals 1
    Decals 1
  • Decals 2
    Decals 2
  • Complete 1
    Complete 1
  • Complete 2
    Complete 2
  • Complete 3
    Complete 3

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