B-17G First Impressions
Thank you to Mr. Neil Yan of HK Models and the IPMS Reviewer Corps for the opportunity to review a wonderful new model release in large-scale aircraft. This report is the first in a series of reviews that will highlight the construction of this soon-to-be-released subject. The reviews will cover first impressions, the midsection interior, armament, waist interior and fuselage assembly, nose section, engines, props and undercarriage, major assemblies, and final conclusions.
This review series will be a little non-traditional. I will be describing construction from a general target audience perspective. I am not a B-17 expert, just a modeler very excited to tackle this ground-breaking offer. You will hear of my experiences as such a modeler, my thoughts, and my ideas as I go through the build, hopefully allowing you to decide how you might do a better job, what you should detail, modify, and so on. In short, you will learn from my mistakes! You will not see a review of ad nauseam rivet-counting, panel dimensioning, tire tread criticisms, etc., nor will you find an aircraft history. There are many, many folks out there who are much more knowledgeable that I am. But I am having fun and will be sharing what I find.
Quite honestly, my first impression of this kit is daunting. The sheer size takes a bit of getting used to, with a 39.3 inch wingspan and 30.3 inch length. The engraved details appear to be just right on bare plastic. The clear parts seem to be nearly optical grade, with little distortion. This clarity, coupled with a separate turtleback piece over the main crew compartments, should allow some excellent opportunities for additional detailing and/or display. I will comment more on this in later reviews. The review kit is a production set of 29 sprues holding 600+ parts, with excellent draft instructions. The instructions at this time have very detailed drawings covering 71 major assembly and subassembly steps. A small photo etch fret with seat harnesses and air intake screens is scheduled to be included. Decals were not available when the review model shipped, but will represent aircraft 337756, Milk Wagon. The kit includes something I have never seen for a display option: a wall mount!
There will be much airbrushing for this kit, and I mean a LOT of airbrushing. I believe this is the first time in my building experience that I may need to pay attention to the weather. My airbrushing booth is too small to handle many of the parts; much of the painting will be done outside. But this may turn out to be a major plus; many, many components – e.g., engines and props – that are normally molded as one or two parts are often broken out into many easily painted individual pieces. This should make for minimal masking. It may also be possible to add in many clear parts toward the end of construction. The wings have strategically located and molded struts and ribs that should provide a good balance of light weight and rigidity. I am certain there are other neat design features that I will discover as I go along.
Coming up, on to the next stage, the midsection interior (cockpit, bomb bay, radio and nav compartments)…
Thank you again to Mr. Neil Yan of HK Models and the IPMS Reviewer Corps for this opportunity!
Notes on Photos
- Fuselage paneling details – inset photo of Piccadilly Lil, Chino Air Museum, 2005, compared to HK fuselage, illustrating comparable level and scale of surface detailing
- Fuselage halves – note interior and exterior detailing
- Wing halves – note interior molded-in struts and wing root ribs
- Clear parts clarity – Nose glass positioned over instructions – note clarity