|PRICE:||$8.99 on sale|
|NOTES:||Reissue of a rather old kit.|
The Boeing B-17 series of bombers really need no introduction. Widely regarded as the most beloved of the big bombers employed by the USAAF in WWII, the Flying Fortress is one of the finest aircraft of its’ time. The ‘G’ model was the produced in the largest numbers and saw service with both the USAAF and the RAF.
This is the venerable 1/64th scale kit originally released by Lindberg back in the late 1950s. Not much has changed at all since it first came to the market. I will say that this current boxing looks fabulous on the shelf as the packaging really jumps out at you. A sturdy two-piece box printed in full color is where you find the kit residing. Molded in white it is molded with fine raised panel lines and small rivets. The ailerons and horizontal stabilizer are all movable as are the three turrets (nose, to and waist locations). The turbo-superchargers are molded to the wings but there are no vents on the leading edge of the wings. The main gear and tail wheel are designed to be retractable. The main wheels and gear are more ‘speculative’ than accurate. The props are able to spin but appear to be a tad bit small to my eyes. The cowlings are one-piece affairs and have the engines molded inside of them. The engine detail is very shallow and is the weakest part of the kit itself in my opinion. Being box-scale, it would be a nightmare to replace them. You do get a fairly complete cockpit and nose/bombardier area. The navigator’s room and the waist gunner areas have no detail at all. You also get seven figures in various poses and a large clear base/stand to display the model on once you complete it.
Surprisingly, for a kit of this age that has seen many years of production, the molds have held up very well. There is only minor flash to speak of and, while not cast with a high level of fidelity, what are here are both clean and without any warpage. The clear parts are even nice and, well, clear! Speaking of the clear parts the turrets have no framing molded to them. So, if you want to replicate this, get out your references, some tape and a super sharp X-Acto blade. Also of note is the windscreen. Lindberg cast the framing as part of the fuselage halves. So this makes masking the canopy a breeze. The stand is also molded clear and lends itself to some creative painting possibilities.
You get two small decal sheets with the kit. The colors look fine although I fear the individual yellow numbers may be slightly translucent. The rest have good register and opacity. Markings are, technically, supplied for five aircraft. ‘Thunderbird’ from the 303rd BG is the most well-known of these. Sadly, the markings are incorrect as it should be BN-U and not BN-G. Furthermore you are missing the smaller yellow ‘2’ and ‘U’ for the tail and the 2nd nose art decal for the starboard side as ‘Thunderbird’ had the same nose art on both side. The 2nd option (and offered in this kit more recently) is LG-V supposedly from the 322rd BG. However, I was not able to verify this. The call number is associated with a PT-19 in WWII. The remaining three options are all spurious and leave the builder many possibilities to make up. You are given individual yellow call numbers 0 thru 9 to make up your own aircraft number. There are multiple nicknames that you can apply to whatever nose art you chose to put on the model.
The instructions are from the earlier release kit #75309 and are borderline acceptable and not at all remarkable. Furthermore, the color call-outs are inaccurate as they would have you paint it dark tan over dark grey. The FS numbers are supplied for each color but no paint manufacturer’s numbers are given. However, they do suggest that you use Testors paints to complete the model. Topping this off, the only decal placement given is for the 2nd option, LG-V.
Rounding the package out is a nice 12x24 inch poster of the box art. It’s been painted in a more evocative style reminiscent of the 1960s era box art. I rather like it (as does my oldest son) and will look nice once framed.
Overall, this makes for the best presentation that I have ever recalled this kit being given. That being said the decal issues are a serious misstep by Round 2/Lindberg. As this is an odd scale you are left to creatively scrounge your own markings to either complete ‘Thunderbird’ or create your own on a computer. In this day and age this lack of attention to detail is unacceptable. Add in that the ‘Nose Art’ is nothing more than figments of the builder’s imagination and you are left with a bit of letdown. The use of the prior release’s instruction sheet that has incomplete decal placement for what is given and incorrect color recommendations is also unacceptable. These two mistakes take some luster off of an otherwise fantastic release of this oldie but a goodie. Kids will really like this release while it may leave older modelers a bit miffed at the decal/instructions snafu. Recommended but be prepared to do some work to accurately depict a real aircraft’s markings.
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