B-17E, F, and Early G: Part 1 - First Look and Interior
When this huge box arrived, I was excited as it was large (26" x 14" x 6 ") and heavy. It came with no box art, instructions, or decals so I borrowed a set of instructions from HK’s first issue from a friend and also received a PDF file of the new, unfinished instructions. At first glance the kit looked impressive, but it has some of the same problems as the last issue. There were still many injector pin marks on the interior fuselage, and the fuselage parts needed to be washed prior to starting the build because they had a heavy residue on them.
Since this issue is supposed to build a B-17E or F, there are a lot of extra parts. It looks like you could also make an early B-17G. You get 3 complete nose sections along with their clear parts and interior equipment, a stinger tail gun compartment, several instrument panels, “toothpick” props, and extra wheels, among other things. Each sprue was individually bagged. The shape of bulkhead #3 (front of the cockpit bulkhead) is not correct, as it should be flattened on top forward of the windshield. I was hoping this would have been corrected since the first issue had the same problem, but I’ll bet it would be costly to change.
I opted to do an early E model, since that is what I am most familiar with. I decided to begin the build with the two fuselage halves---which is putting on the nose and tail gun compartment first. I built the interior per the instructions, which were confusing because there were so many choices. The doors on the interior bulkheads are molded in, so you can't leave them open. The forward and aft bulkheads of the bomb bay should have been slanted aft in the fuselage, but the kit’s aren't. Since I plan to display this model in a hanging pose, it will be built with the gear down, bomb bay doors open, and doors and hatches closed.
One sprue did not have a letter on it, and others are missing some of their numbers. The left side of the bomb bay is part N15, but there were no numbers for it on the instructions. The rear bulkhead for the bomb bay was marked L2 on the plans, but it’s really L3.
I found the bomb fins to be tricky and took some finesse. The stringers in the aft fuselage are parallel instead of tapering closer together as they go back toward the tail. The tail gun floor is not correct as it has a hump in it, when it should be straight, and it was hard to figure out where it should go. Part number Bb7 (waist step) was too long and would have protruded through the door opening so I cut it shorter. A tail gun sight is shown on the .50-caliber guns in the tail, but the real sight is a ring and bead set-up on the exterior.
There were ammo belts for the nose guns marked XX on the instructions, but I couldn’t find them. The model has the nose compartment deck rise at the very front and go above the nose bulkhead number one, when it should have ended below the frame on the bottom. The overall fit has been good, but make sure the injection sprue gates are cleaned all the way off the parts.
Now, off to the wings, engines, and etc., so stay tuned!