Revell AG 1/72 B-17G Flying Fortress
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New mold kit|
The B-17G was generally considered the definitive B-17 design, all changes made in the B-17F production run were incorporated into the final version. These included a Bendix remotely-operated chin turret, an innovation derived from the unsuccessful YB-40 escort version, bringing defensive armament to 13 .50 caliber (half-inch or 12.7 mm) machine guns, and in later versions, a revised tail gun position (referred to as the "Cheyenne" configuration after the modification center where it was introduced. Some 8,680 were built, and dozens were converted for several different uses:
There has been a huge amount of buzz about this kit so when it arrived in the LHS, I had to pick it up to see what it was all about. Now this is not the first B-17G ever kitted. There have been kits by Matchbox, Airfix, Academy and Hasegawa to name a few with the latter still being considered nice kits and the former a bit long in the tooth and not quite up to modern standards.
As you know, this kit is an interim B-17G before the staggered waist gun windows and with the standard tail gun position. It is obvious from the parts on the sprues that are not used that there are other variants of the G and perhaps even a batch of F models in the offing. One thing for sure is that if they do a staggered waist gun version, it will require all new fuselage halves as these are not 'convertible'.
The kit itself comes with a huge number of sprues, the engraved panel lines are well done, but a bit on the large side for some. Not as petite as Hasegawa kits, but not the trenches of old Matchbox kits. Something closer to what Airfix has with their new mold kits, but a bit more refined. There are the usual ejector pin marks on some of the larger pieces, but they will either be hidden during construction or unseen in the completed model. What did set me back were all the sink areas. They are on the trailing edges of the underside of the wings, on the separate flaps, rudder and elevators. These are mostly around the hinge areas, not easy to fix thanks to the fabric representation on these.
The detail level is incredible as just about every interior detail is provided. Much will be barely visible once the kit is finished, but you'll know it is there. There is a full bomb bay with bomb load as well. The kit can be built with the bomb bay closed, but you'll hide all the bay detail if you do so. Even the wheel wells have a considerable amount of detail that includes a large fuel (oil) tank. All the gun positions are very detailed, making each one a small model in and of itself. I should point out that the bomb bay bulkheads also include sturdy wing spars to help with alignment once those are ready to attach.
Options abound from different Plexiglas nose pieces, to different radio room transparencies and different side gun windows. You also have optional astrodomes and cockpit transparencies. The forward fuselage has large inserts for the proper cheek guns that were fitted to the aircraft, a sure sign that there will be other variant boxings. There is an optional lower fuselage radar dome to put where the ball turret goes, though I do not think that option applies to either decal option. In fact, none of the options states which markings option it is for. I'm not sure if the markings guide is accurate in that regard so you may well need some sort of photo reference to get all this with any accuracy.
The instructions are very well done and like all Revell AG kits, only use Revell paint information so mixing is required for several colors. There are 94 construction steps, so the instructions are quite cluttered. One would be well advised to check things off once the parts are assembled. Drawings are well done and provide color information throughout as well as when one has options. There are two planes in the color and markings section. Both are 91 BG planes with all the red bits from 1945. One is the box art plane "Little Miss Mischief" in a combination of unpainted metal and OD/Grey parts. Makes for a most unusual looking aircraft. The other is "Nine Oh Nine" in Olive Drab over Neutral Grey with an impressive mission tally. Decals are well printed and include a rather impressive number of data markings. The decals are nicely printed and appear to be quite opaque.
So, is this the best 1/72 B-17G? Well, if one looks at the amount of detail and options, then I that would be a valid assumption. None of the previous kits comes near the detail level that Revell has put into this one. I'm sure that there will be aftermarket sets for this, but it all seems as if it would be a bit redundant, for the kit stuff is very well done. I was put off by all the sink areas, which shouldn't be on a new mold kit from a major manufacturer, and by the lack of scheme specific options information. The $41 price tag was more than I thought it would be as well. Perhaps it is a case of reality overcoming expectations. I wouldn't go tossing those Academy and Hasegawa kits you already own if you are really into B-17s and will build a bunch. However, if you have none in your stash, this is the one for you.
Thanks to me and my now whimpering wallet following the forced removal of materials for this one.
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