Academy 1/72 B-17G Flying Fortress






One aircraft


Scott Van Aken




I cannot think of a person my age who has built models who hasn't done at least one B-17. When I was younger, my weekly pocket money came to about $.35 a week. Now that doesn't seem like a whole lot, but back then it was enough. Model makers catered to us by producing a number of models that we could buy with that kind of money. If I saved up for a few weeks, I could get the latest car kit from SMP. If I wanted an airplane, that same dollar would buy most of Revell's fighter line. However, If I wanted something to buy with my 35 cents, then I could get any one of a number of small Comet kits. These kits were all small box scale and included such winners as a B-47, S2F, and B-17. Within an hour of getting home, the B-17 would  be busy dropping bombs (actually parts that hadn't dried) over enemy territory. Sometimes these bombers actually had decals on them. If not, the locations were clearly marked on the plane and could be painted on.


Today's kits are a far cry from those plastic pocket money models of my youth. While this particular kit cost $25.00, I'm sure it is well within the pocket money range of today's 9 and 10 year olds, judging from the sums I have seen them spend on Pokemon cards!

Academy's kit is probably the newest mold B-17 series in 1/72 today. It is a good choice as the Hasegawa kit, while very nice, has a rather slim tail turret. Academy has taken advantage of the multiple-version theory and has adapted its kits to all versions of the B-17 except for the very early A model. You can see a number of excess parts in this kit that apply to the B,C, and D versions of the Fortress. 

The molding of the kit itself is quite good. The panel lines are recesses as is the norm, and detailing is crisp. There is a bit of flash on a few parts and some lumps and bumps in openings that need smoothed out, but nothing major. There is no cutting or hacking or line filling-in to do the B-17G as is sometimes the case with other, more expensive kits. You get a relatively complete cockpit section with seats, instrument panels, consoles and control wheels. There s also some detail in the bombardier's section. You can pose the bomb bay doors open and there is a proper bomb rack and walkway in there to see. Since this kit is a multi-version type, you do have to cut open the appropriate waist window on the right side to get the proper staggered gun positions. Doing an early G is not possible with this kit as you only get the Cheyenne tail position and not the earlier one. However, it can probably be scratchbuilt should you wish.

The instructions are more than adequate to build the kit with color callouts provided throughout the 8 step construction sequence. Decals are only provided for one aircraft, a natural metal bird from the 490th Bomb Group. The decals are quite well done and very crisply printed. You get the red bands for the wings and stabilizers in case you do not wish to paint those things on. However you will have to paint the tail band, so you might as well paint them all! As you can see, there is a decal for the instrument panel.

Overall, it looks like a very nice kit. Judging from the build up, it seems as if the engine cowlings look a bit odd. Perhaps a bit too square in the front. But I'm no expert and perhaps it is just the way they are painted. I bought this kit to use as a basis for the White Dog decal sheet on planes of this wing, so we'll soon see what it is like!

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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