B-17F Flying Fortress "Knock-Out Dropper" Limited Edition
Designed in 1935, the B-17 became a force to reckon with by 1942 when the F model was introduced. It had a total production run of 3,405 – 2,300 by Boeing, 500 by Vega, and 605 by Douglas.
This release by Hasegawa features a new set of decals, but the same basic moldings which this kit had 35 years ago: overall good fit, lightly raised panel lines, light grey plastic, and some sink marks expected in an older kit. It has 98 parts and comes in a nice box with a sturdy cardstock bottom and a nice glossy top.
Although this kit was received in good condition, one of the main landing gear was broken. I’m not sure how that could happen unless it was in the packing stage. The props have ejector pin marks on their back sides near the hubs, but most of that can be sanded out. The pilot’s and copilot’s seats also have round indented marks. The interior is sparse by today's standards, but includes a cockpit floor, rear bulkhead, instrument panel, and a nose floor which is the same as the G model, set up for a chin turret. The kit comes with 2 pilot figures and one standing figure.
There are seats for the pilot, copilot, navigator, and bombardier, plus a nav table; there is no wheel well or bomb bay detail. The wing- and stabilizer-to-fuselage joints fit well, and the engines and cowls fit better than the G model kit’s did. The tail wheel tire is molded to the tail gear, and several antennas are molded on.
The model looks like a B-17 but would be more accurate if the panel lines for the forward and aft bulkheads of the bomb bay slanted back, the bottom of the nose glass had a flat section, the ball turret wasn't split down the middle through the sighting window, and the upper nose window openings were a bit wider. I did choose to widen them on this build. I added a half-inch wide, one-quarter-inch tall, piece of styrene for a landing light backing and set it an eighth of an inch back from the leading edge.
The instructions are the same as previous issues of the kit, but Hasegawa added an additional page for the painting and markings instructions. The decals are what this reissue is all about – they were on-register, and gave a choice of two 303rd Bomb Group (“Hell’s Angels”) aircraft: Knock Out Dropper, with red surrounds to its insignia, and Yardbird II. Both aircraft are painted OD over grey.
The decals are thin, opaque, and settle well with setting solution. Overall, it turns out a nice model, but isn't what you get with the new state-of-the-art issues.
My thanks to Hobbico and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this kit of my favorite aircraft.