The B-17 was the plane that contributed most to destroy the German military industry.
From 1942 until the end of the war this aircraft flew over Germany in broad daylight, most of the time without escort - and was met by the world’s most experienced feared air force.
You just have to admire the incredible courage of these bomber crews!
The result of the raids deep into German territory, however, was horrifying losses.
But thanks to an incredibly robust construction of the B-17, surprisingly many crews managed to get home,
even with totally shattered aircraft.
There is not much to choose from if you want to make a 1:48 model of a B-17G.
The only thing that exists is the 40 (!)
years old Revell/Monogram model.
Not only are the model 40 years old and
a far cry from today’s modern models,
but the R/M model is also one of the earlier versions of the B-17G (probably
production block 15 or 35).
B-17 was continuously developed
through its whole production time. Improvements and changes happened
all the time, not just at the drawing board, but also on the different production site.
The B-17 was produced three places
(at Boeing, Vega and Douglas).
"Miss Conduct" was a Block-90 from Boeing (made summer 1944) and much
of the R/M model must therefore be modified before the plane becomes "Miss Conduct» B-17G-90-BO 43-38525.
The most obvious is rebuilding the waist windows and tail tower.
"Miss Conduct" was delivered to the
418th Squadron, 100th BG (Bloody 100th), 8th AirForce (Mighty Eigth) the
9th September 1944 and was heavily damaged by Flak and German fighters
in October but managed to get back to
its base at Thorpe Abbots (Norfolk, England) where she was repaired and soon ready for new missions.
In March 45 she lost two engines to Flak over Germany but managed to make an emergency landing in Belgium on the
Miss Conduct survived the war and was flown back to the U.S. in summer 1945.
Examples of the damages a B-17 could sustain and still come back to her base
The crew posing before Miss Conduct
Building "Miss Conduct"
The Waist Section
In the Revell/Monogram model, the waist-windows are positioned opposite each other. Each window is divided into three parts with Type E Adapter machine gun.
"Miss Conduct" on the other hand, had waist windows without any crossbars and with a machine gun mount with K-6 (or K-7) adapter in the bottom centre
In addition, the windows were staggered, enabling the gunners to operate the machine-guns more freely.
I, therefore, have to move the waist window on the starboard side forward.
I made a new window (cut from a 0,25mm plastic sheet) and a new machine-gun adapter
See pictures below:
The interior colours
After they stopped painting the aircraft in March 1944 (they saved at least 250 kg (500pound), which could be used for ammo, bombs or fuel), the interior painting varied quite a lot.
The most common (which I would use on "Miss Con Duct") are the following:
Inside: The nose, cockpit and radio room: Zinc Chromate (ranging from yellowish to olive green)
The walls of the centre section: Unpainted aluminium but the ribs in Zinc Chromate
Floor: Painted plywood. Congested on the floors are coated with rubber. The floor directly under the pilots was unpainted aluminium
Inside the turret (top and bottom): Dark green (matt).
Wheel wells: Zinc Chromate
I used the PE from Eduard to make the cockpit more true to life, even if all the small bits and pieces are a pain to get in the right position.
See pictures below:
Upper Gun Turret
Cockpit area is starting to look good now that the double machine gun tower (Upper Turret) is in place.
The grey boxes on the floor and on the tower are ammo boxes.
The yellow containers are oxygen.
The tower was operated by the
The Nose Section
I have destroyed many small windows, spilling glue on the clear plastic pieces.
To avoid this, I dipped the small windows in Johnson's Pledge (Future) and placed the windows into the frame.
Pledge becomes crystal clear when it dries, and it works great as glue as well.
After 24 hours I strengthen the bonding with a few small drops of CA glue, gently laid on with a toothpick.
Now is time for the nose section.
Five of the aircraft crew had their place here:
Pilot, Co-pilot, Bombardier,
Navigator and Flight Engineer who also manned the Top Turret..
The Bombardier and Navigator manned the machine guns in the nose
Lower Ball Turret
Lower Ball Turret (the machine gun tower under the belly of the aircraft) is attached directly behind the radio room and is in effect a part of the front waist section.
One can hardly imagine what it was like to spend hours in this small turret with two 12.5mm machine guns in his lap, while 20mm grenades from a German fighter or 88mm Flak grenades explodes around him.
The Ball Turret Gunner crawled into the ball after the plane had taken to the air and did not come out again until they were safely out of the hostile area.
The Tail Wheel
The tail wheel in the Revell /Monogram box has very few details and is not
very similar to the original tail wheel
on the B-17.
After making and mounting a support arm and making the canvas sheet between the wheel and the floor of the tail section, it was a little better.
It is, after all, limited what can be seen when the fuselage is glued together.
The tail section is so narrow that the tail gunner had to crawl on all fours on the floor on his way to the gun tower in the tail.
The Landing Gear
The landing gear in the R/M box is not very good and I used the metal landing gear from Scale Aircraft Conversions instead.
The landing gear on the B-17 was in unpainted metal.
The wheels will not be attached until after the plane is painted.
The Wheel Wells
The wheel wells are not very accurate, far from it.
On the B-17, you can see the big supercharger channels in the wheel wells.
R/M has taken a convenient shortcut and made a "floor" just below the opening and the main wheels should be fixed to this “floor”. It is not possible to correct this without having to create a whole new well. I have therefore placed something that can impose as the
supercharge channels in the bottom of the well, but otherwise retained the structure of R/M.
It is after all limited what you can see when the main wheels finally are in place
Cockpit windows in Revell /Monogram box have always been a headache to get nicely placed on the model.
f you look at pictures of models that have been built, it is very often that the cockpit windows have a very bad fit.
If you follow the R/M manual, this is not so strange.
The manual tells you to glue the window in place after the fuselage is glued together. This is a recipe for disaster.
Other producers, (such as Squadron) proposes to cut off the cockpit roof, glue the window in place and then glue the roof on again.
I wanted the side windows of the cockpit to be open.
This makes it easier to see into the cockpit and it gives more "life" to the model.
I therefore opted for a different solution: I used the window in the kit and cut it in four parts.
Then I took away the opening in the side window and glued the windows directly on each half fuselage.
When I put the fuselages together, it actually looked quite all right.
The interior is now in place and it begins to look like a B-17:
It would be a pity just to hide all the nice interior stuff behind a solid fuselage.
I therefore got hold of a clear fuselage side (port side) which I intend to use.
It is always nice to have the propellers rotate when you take pictures of the finished model. It makes it a lot more realistic.
The problem is to have all four engines running. I could have used the Airfix electric motors, but it would be a little too complicated in a four-engine bomber.
I, therefore, settle for something I learned from Tim Sprosser (an Australian who builds amazing models).
He places the propeller shaft in a brass tube and lubricates with graphite. The propeller has almost no friction and would start spinning with a little help from a vent.
I used a 3-4mm brass tube and glued it into the engine. Then I used a brass rod that fits into the tube and glued it to the propellers.
It works nicely. The "engine" to the right in the picture is full throttle with little help from a hairdryer.
The first thing that strikes me with the R/M-model is all the missing details.
Panel lines, grids, inspection hatches and rivets.
A sharp knife, a ruler, a stencil and blueprint of the aircraft helps me address some of these issues.
I always use the back of the knife blade when I carve up lines.
It is much more stable and makes a proper line in the plastic that can illustrate a panel line.
To make it more realistic, I traced a deeper line between the wing and aileron.
I also cut out the landing flaps to give place for the landing flaps from Eduardo.
The landing flaps from Eduard.
Always a terrible puzzle to get everything glued in the right place.
But with patience, it looked fairly good in the end..
Preparation for painting
I use Krylon Fusion as a primer. The Krylon bonds very well with plastic and forms a good basis for the aluminium paint. It is also so thin that it does not fill even the finest lines in the plastic.
The main problem is that Krylon Fusion should be used in Airbrush and not directly from the spray can.
This means that the contents of the aerosol have to be transferred to a suitable container which can supply the airbrush. This "decantation" can be an exquisite mess, at least if you do not have the right equipment. But with rubber gloves and the possibility to be out in the open, you might handle it without any problems.
Be sure that you use a container that will not melt when you get the Krylon in it.
If in doubt, try it out. It can easily be a disaster if a plastic mug with Krylon Fusion melts in the middle of the workbench.
Installation of the Engines
The four engines are glued in place. I have used PE from Eduard. Brass tubes are fitted as a propeller shaft, so the propellers which are mounted on a brass rod can be inserted when the aircraft is completed.
First coat of Alclad
The Aluminium Alclad is airbrushed on the wings.
This should work well as a base for further painting.
Codes and Markings
Codes and markings on the B-17 changed a lot in the war's last two years.
It is therefore important to decide the exact date for the painting.
I choose to paint the plane as it presented it selves in February/March 1945.
The aircraft had been in service for six months, and the recent changes in the markings were carried out on Bomb Group and Squadron level.
The 100th BG markings
Black 90cm (36 inches) wide diagonal band on the right wing upper side and the on left wing underside.
Black horizontal rudder. White D in a black square on the tail and the tip of the right wing (aircraft with camouflage paint had dark blue D
in a white square).
The various squadrons were marked with different colours from late 1944. The 418th squadron had red spinners and red noseband.
This band should be 30cm (12 inches), but in practice, it varies from 10 - 30cm (variations were the rule, not the exception in the 100th BG)
Some may have seen the B-17 with large letters under the wings. This was the squadron and the transmission code, so-called BUZZ letters, but it was not adopted by the 100th BG before June 1945.
The aircraft had "anti-glare panels" in front of the cockpit and inside of the engine covers. These were painted in Olive Drab which quickly faded because of the heavy UV radiation at high altitudes.
The fuselage was of unpainted aluminium. All damages (and it were many) were fixed by the ground crews. Damaged panels and rudders were replaced (often taken from Hangar Queens). Planes could sometimes look like a "patchwork".
I will try to add this to the plane by using different aluminium colours on some of the panels.
The vertical rudders, elevators and trim tabs were drawn with "silver dope" over an aluminium skeleton. The colour of the dope faded quickly, and the rudders appeared with colours ranging from white to light grey.
Decals the wrong size
When studying the markings and codes,
I discovered that the famous "Square D" tactical marking decals both in the
R/M-box and from Kids-World had the wrong size.
The size of the square should be 48`x48` on tail and 66`x66` on the wing.
The decals in from R/M and Kids-World corresponds to a size of 51 `x51`. In other words, they fit almost to the tail, but were far too small for the wing.
The solution was to paint the square, and to find (and make) letters that correspond to the square.
Painting the wings
The paint on the B-17 had a nasty tendency to fade. I always make the colours on the models lighter, to correspond to the scale (in this case 1:48). Since the B-17 operated at high altitude, they were constantly exposed to high doses of UV lights, which caused the paint to fade. I, therefore, made the colours even more “faded” than usual.
Revell /Monogram have not been particularly good at adding rivets on the model's surface.
This is no surprise because the rivets are small and there are thousands of them. To try to make the model more realistic, I tried to add rivets from HGW Models.
The rivets are silver and incredibly small, about 18 rivets per cm which corresponds to a rivet per 2.5 inches in 1:1.
However, to put rivets on the aluminium painting made them completely invisible. On the black (or dark) surfaces, however, the rivets were clearly visible.
Navigation and landing lights
In my experience, it is never very good to paint the navigation lights.
It looks like paint – and not lights, no matter what I do.
This time I had an idea: I noticed that the grandchildren were playing with small plastic balls in all possible sizes and decided to rob them.
Some small green and red balls did the trick on the wingtips, and a clear ball was suitable as a lamp in the landing light.
The blue plastic balls were perfect as navigation and formation lights on the stabilizers and tail.
The most important weathering of the B-17 is without doubt the exhaust and oil leaks that spread across the wings with the airflow.
This is where the majority of the model builders do it wrong.
The Wright Cyclone engines had a nasty tendency to leak oil and exhaust gases.
This spreads with the air flow backwards in a certain pattern.
Exhaust and oil spills from the exhaust pipes on the underside of the wings go almost straight backwards apart from the inner engines where the exhaust turns slightly towards the fuselage.
The exhaust emissions are much more visible on the inner engines, probably because the exhaust pipes are placed further from the wing on the outer engines.
On the upper side of the wings, the situation is different.
All oil spills and exhaust leaks on the upper wings come from leaking engines.
The airflow bends the streaks towards the fuselage, more from the inner engines that the outer.
On the upper wings, there are vents from the supercharger and intercooler systems. These vents release hot air – not exhausts!
When the oil and exhausts leaks pass over these vents, they are thinned and forced away from the surface
As you can see, engine No. 4 is ripe for an overhaul; it spills more oil than the other engines.
I used several colours and methods to paint the exhaust and oil spills.
Firstly, I used "Rust Streaks" especially on the vents around the engines and the panels along the exhaust pipes. These areas were so hot that the panels were often "burned". Rust colour matched well for this.
Then I dry brushed a "light" black colour (the same as I used to paint the black tactical markings on the wings). This brushing was with a very dry brush (it's incredibly easy to put on too much)
I also spent some graffiti which I brushed very carefully on places I felt it was needed.
Finally, I sprayed the exhaust streaks with Airbrush absolute on a very low pressure using Vallejos Satin Vanish, very thinned and added a few drops of black.
The R/M-model is not exactly a high precision model.
It needed a lot of filling, filing and sanding.
And then there's all that needs to be created and added to the fuselage:
The Cheynne tower in the tail must be built.
The clear nose dome does not fit well and require a lot of adjustment.
Cockpit windows (front) must be taken out and fitted again.
The windows I used were from the originally R/M kit and (of course) did not fit into the clear plastic side.
The rear gun tower of the R/M model was of the old type (before 1943)
From spring 1943, all B-17 was flown from the production plants to United Airlines Modification Centre in Cheyenne (Wyoming).
Here the planes were fitted with a new and much more effective
Rear Turret (named after the city in which it was produced).
I had to modify the rear of the model and I got hold of a Cheynne Tower in 1:48 from Koster Aero Enterprises.
There are a lot of antennas of different form and shape on a B-17.
On the R/M-kit, only a tiny plastic antenna to the top of the fuselage was available.
My experience is that plastic antennas and pitot tubes breaks at the first opportunity.
I therefore always replace such antennas with metal.
Brass rods of thickness 0.5 and 0.8 mm are very suitable for this.
A needle heated over a candle easily makes a hole in the fuselage or wing and a little CA-glue keeps the brass rods effectively in place.
By the way, it is always wise to sharpen the antenna at the end.
The particular antenna on top of the nose
("a Horned Antenna") is part of an instrument landing system (Dark Landing Equipment) which was mounted on both new and old B-17 in 1944.
I made the horned antenna of a bit of beer can.
The machine guns in the nose tower have gotten flame suppressors.
These were used on many planes because the muzzle flame could damage the Perspex glass when fired at maximum elevation.
I later learned that the 100th BG did not use the suppressors, and I therefore removed them after this picture was taken.
One problem with building B-17 antennas is that they vary from different production blocks.
This applies primarily to the antenna wire from the tail fin, which many believe goes to the radio mast on the top of the plane (like in many fighters).
This is not so on the B-17
There are two wires that are attached on top of the tail.
They go to either side of the radio room. The right antenna (which is the longest) runs through a bracing attached to the root of the radio mast.
All B-17 also had a "trailing antenna".
It was attached on the left side behind the
The antenna wire which is stretched under the tail is a "Marker Beacon".
The photograph to the right shows clearly how the antenna from the tail goes through the attachment at the radio mast
Picture to the right:
The trailing antenna which was winched out during long range missions
The propellers are finished and ready to be oiled and inserted into the engines.
The spinners are painted in the
red squadron color of 418th Squadron
The plane is now beginning to take shape and it may be appropriate to bring in the crew.
Ten men dressed for minus 40 degrees Celsius, sandwiched together with up to 4.5 tons of bombs and ten machine guns.
Masking, Priming and Painting of the fuselage
The tail stabilizers are glued on and any cracks are sealed and sanded.
The decision about how much of the clear side should be painted has to be taken and the fuselage is masked accordingly.
It is now ready for priming and painting.
Two blue formation lights are attached at each tail rudder.
Three blue formation lights and one white identification light on top of the fuselage.
In addition, there were lights on the tail fin and a red, green and yellow light under the belly.
Nose Art and
There is an incredible amount of data, pictures and information about the B-17 during the war in Europe.
Apart from literature and reference books, most of Mighty Eights Bomb Groups have their own Facebook page.
The Bloody 100th which "Miss Con Duct" belonged to, is no exception. They have a very active group of incredibly knowledgeable persons and veterans of the war.
One of the problems this group helped me to solve was the Nose Arts on this particular aircraft.
In almost all cases, the B-17 had only Nose Art, and that was painted on one side of the fuselage under the cockpit.
418th Squadron, had usually the picture (often of a light dressed young lady) on the port (left) side together with the Mission Markings (the number of bombing missions).
But in the Bloody Hundred, regulations of this kind where not taken too seriously.
Some of the 418th planes had Nose Art on the right side - contrary to the "rules".
The first picture I found of “Miss Conduct” had clearly the nose art on the port side, which was according to regulation. But, it had no Mission Markings, which was rather strange.
I search further, and found a new picture that 100thBG has catalogued as "Miss Conduct".
This was a picture of the starboard (right) side with a completely new lady painted on the nose.
There were also Mission Markings on this side.
I was told that this was "the Co-Pilot Girl"
(CP has their place on this side of the plane) and the person in the picture was Co-Pilot
The only solution to this was that "Miss Con Duct" had ladies painted on BOTH sides of the nose - a bit unusual, but even more interesting - and typical of The Bloody Hundred.
The manufacturers of decals was totally unaware of this (I'm not particularly surprised), so it was up to me to find nose art for the CP side.
Luckily I had some old decals which I used to reconstruct the lady on the starboard side.
The red squadron identification colour is in place around the nose.
The "anti-glare" coating is applied in front of the cockpit.
On the tail, the "SquareD", the a/c number and the radio call sign (A) is in place.
I have also laid extra rivets on the black areas.
The black parts are painted with black paint mixed with about 30% white
The Main Wheel
The last to be glued to the aircraft are the main wheels.
The model of the the Old Warbird is finished,
as she looked in March 1945
In some of the pictures, I've added the flight tower at the home base Thorpe Abbots (England) to create a natural environment for the aircraft.
The spinning propellers are achieved by the help of a hairdryer
The backgrounds are wall decals mounted on a cardboard
Miss Conduct in the air is partly arranged with invisible fishing lines, partly with the help of a photo editing program.
I hope you enjoyed this website!
Thank you for visiting!
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments
Below: some "time-machine" pictures: