B-17G Waist Interior and Fuselage Assembly
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 next installment covers the waist interior and fuselage assembly, which is from the ring mount around the ball turret through the Cheyenne tail turret, and closing up the fuselage. I originally thought it might be more instructive to work up the armament first, but after reviewing the kit more with some experience, I elected to skip the all of the cool-looking 50s and describe them when they get installed. Instruction steps 15 through 25 are used to construct this subassembly.
As I continue assembly, I am more and more impressed by the engineering of this kit. HK has done an excellent job planning the molds. To date, I have done very little cleanup on anything…if I take care to trim very closely off the trees. This isn’t to say I haven’t been trimming and sanding, but it is much less than most. So far, dry fitting of the fuselage has shown almost perfect matching.
A word of caution here – be very careful to make sure that all the locator pins and sockets, channels and bulkheads, and openings line up properly. You can imagine how I know this. If you are careful, you will be reward by a very solid assembly. My earlier decision not to glue all the midsection parts tightly paid off by giving me a little bit of play in the whole assembly when attaching it to the port fuselage. This is not a criticism of the construction of the design at all. HK molded very solid channels and receivers for the bulkheads, etc., and having just little bit of wiggle room really helped with seating the parts. Wicking a little CA into the joints after placing the midsection into the fuselage made for a very pleasing solid fit!
Five guns were assembled and mounted in this stage. My first review of the instructions, combined with my own vast experience of breaking off parts, implied that I should somehow find a way of mounting the gun and their clear parts after painting and decaling. However, HK very nicely solved this problem by providing a way to glue the gun receivers and ammunition belts to the clear parts. The clear parts can be masked and painted as usual. After painting, the barrels can be inserted from the outside to complete the gun. The ammunition belts are molded to the guns’ locations with good draping and bending. The cartridges and belt details on the parts are well done. The MG assemblies are little jewels, with triggers, cross-hairs, and dampeners that fit snugly.
The Cheyenne turret in the tail is excellent. Assembly is straightforward, and the seat, gunsight, and ammunition belts are correctly positioned according my limited reference library and the online community. A one-piece canopy for the emplacement sits just below a tightly-fitted and moveable rudder. The seams in the rudder pocket of the tail are more prominent than other places I’ve worked with so far in the kit, but they won’t be visible unless the rudder is highly deflected.
An area of assembly that I viewed with some concern was the turtleback over the cockpit, bomb bay, and radio compartment. I was concerned about edges, joint strength, and no ability to apply pressure from the inside to align the surfaces. However, I discovered that a spline is molded on the back of the join edge of the turtleback, providing a great glue surface and alignment guide. If you wish to super-detail the interior, it might be possible to leave the turtleback removable to show off the inside. You may also choose to add more detail to the interior before gluing the turtleback down. The cockpit glazing fits nicely into channels for easy gluing. You will have to try very hard to pop the parts into the recesses of the interior. I found this delightful, as I have done just that plenty of time. All of the other windows and such are easily installed form the outside into similar channels.
Future™ heresy – out of curiosity, I measured the thickness of some of the clear parts. They are molded to very-near scale thickness! Given this property and their already excellent clarity, I elected to not add thickness by dipping the parts. So far, things are going well.
I provided some in-progress shots. There will be much touch-up, and I am reluctant to get too carried away with too much painting until I have a better feel for what is visible.
I have no big surprises to report. In fact, overall I am very, very happy with the minimal amount of cleanup. I continue to have a strong sense of excellent fit and quality about this kit; it is a super-detailers dream. I was looking at the bomb bay catwalk and thinking, “I wonder if I could sneak in a rope rail on the catwalk.” I am having a great time with this one. So, until the next report on the nose section and the rest of the fuselage…
Thank you again to Mr. Neil Yan of HK Models and the IPMS Reviewer Corps for this opportunity!
Additional notes on Photos
- All the interior parts are installed before the fuselage halves are joined
- Detail shot showing ammo belt detail and cross-hairs, barrels to be installed post-painting
- Turtleback almost in place; note edge of turtleback with molded-in shims or channels to help with positioning
- Turtleback down, starboard glazing in, note clarity without Future treatment