This is one book in a line of military aircraft books from Pen and Sword in the Flight Craft series #27 Boeing B17. Now there have probably been hundreds of books published on the Boeing B17, many of which I have read. This is the first one I have read that incorporates design and development, camouflage and markings, in service and in action, B17 variants, with modeling the B17 and showcase models. This book seems to be aimed at the modeler who wants to incorporate more detail into his modeling.
The first half of the book gives a useful overview of the real thing with the design and development, to in-service and in-action, and detail of some B17 special variants. The book takes you from the first Model 299 through the B17G and all variants. The camouflage and marking section has 24 illustrated color profiles that show how varied the paint schemes and markings were of B17s, including the aircraft captured by the Germans and Japanese.
The last half of the book is dedicated to the modeler and modeling the B17. This gives details of the many models that are available, from the big 1/32 scale “E”, “F”and “G” Hong Kong Models, with its 1/48 scale sibling, to the venerable 1/48 scale Revell/Monogram in both “F” and “G” models. Then the !/72 scale offerings from Airfix, Academy, and Revell. Also 1/144 scale from Minicraft and an oddball 1/64 from Lindberg. The last part details the aftermarket parts that are available for all scales including resin, photoetch, 3D printed, and brass barrels.
The next section highlights five models that have very nice details and color photos, a 1/72 Airfix B17G by Geoff Coughlin, another by Daniel Baxter, a third by Manuel Magrinho, and a 1/48 Revell /Mongram by Mike Grant. The last one is a 1/72 Academy B17D “The Swoose” done by Brian Richardson.
The last section of the book is a collection of photos of the restoration of the B17 F “Memphis Belle” at the Air Force Museum in Ohio. They restoration started in 2005 and the project com[leted in 2018. There is detail in these photos that you might not see anywhere else.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to any B17 enthusiast and modeler because it has something for everyone. It gives an ideal mix of history with modelling references and inspiration. There are a couple facts that are not correct, first in the B17E section they mention the ball turret retracting into the fuselage, which the B17 didn’t have, (that was used on the Consolidated B24 bomber). The second they mention adding a retractable nose wheel which the B17 never had, (the B17 had a retractable tail wheel on all models).
As an aircraft enthusiast, B17 restorer, and modeler, I enjoyed reading this book an there were even a couple photos I have not seen before. Thank you to Pen and Sword Books Ltd and Casemate Publishers for providing the review book and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review it.
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