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HK B-17...C!!!!!!!! 14/5 powering forward

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Craig - I have to say this is astonishing work - really pioneering..


I love so many things about it - the goal; an early B17 and an ambitious conversion, the approach; leading edge technology (or is that bleeding edge :coolio: ), the execution; trying and adapting, the honesty & transparency; you just tell it how you do it, and how you openly encourage people to try it too


such a refreshing and inspiring thread ...


..she is also going to be a very unique looking bird and I suspect the only D model for a while yet ..






Hahaha, bleeding edge! At times it may very well be just that!


Thank you so much Peter! I have to say the main inspiration for this project has come from watching your tiger cat come alive. Your efforts, and many others on this site continue to inspire me to push my modelling abilities to the edge. With your endless raising of the bar, I guess you've made a few of us want to go that step further and try something, maybe even a little reckless, that we may not otherwise have done.


It's so good that we're all learning things off each other on here... let the show go on! :) 

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Well, after a few weeks in the digital age I suppose it's time to get back to some "real" modelling!


For the cockpit and indeed the entire nose section to progress I really needed to get on with the instrument panel. I wanted to use Peter's exceptional air scale decals and etched bezels for this and after I had the profile shape of the instrument panel I had to work out what went where. The layout is completely different from the G and indeed it seems between even C models which is where my reference came from. 


Due to the amount of instruments and not having enough decals on hand (I also used a few of the kits ones, you can see the difference between the two!) I went for a "generic" look with at least something to show in each instrument face. I'm sure it's highly inaccurate but for how much you'll actually be able to see of it through the windows I think I can live with it!




So you can see in the above photo the instruments laid out onto their backing. I had previously decided to mount the bezels onto another piece so as to show depth, but that piece looked way too thick and it seemed as though you'd be looking way down the dash to see the dials. I also wanted to simulate glass so I tried using a piece of clear styrene sheet sprayed flat black with the instrument "holes" masked out and then tried to attach the bezels using matt varnish. 


This idea turned out terrible. So terrible infact that pulled all the bezels off and soaked them in thinners straight away and couldn't even bring myself to take a picture of it!


I decided the only practical way forward was brass, with the bezels soldered on. First of all I needed to cut all the holes, but my makeshift punch set wasn't really cutting the mustard so to speak so I opted to drill all the holes out. To do that in really thin brass I had to first clamp it between two pieces of aluminium and drill all the holes using my mill and a laser centre for accuracy.




Because some of the decals weren't exactly in the same place as the original piece, there was some minor "off centre" adjustments to do for each hole (you might be able to make out the arrows for the correction directions).


It took quite a while, but eventually I had all the holes drilled and no deformation to the brass!




Then the moment of truth, how close did I get.....?




Not entirely perfect but it'll do!


The next challenge was how to solder each bezel on. For those that haven't played with these, they are exceptionally fine brass renderings and they are three dimensional. My first thought was to place each one over the hole and tape down three sides while soldering the first side, then repeat. That just turned into a whopping great mess and the tape burnt. Then I tried tinning each bezel, then finally the MUCH better way of tinning the whole face, so all I had to do was coat each bezel in flux and set it on top.




Once again, looks a right mess but I'd committed by now so no turning back, surely I can clean it up later right?




And after no small amount of filing and sanding.....




And one last check to make sure everything still lined up........ 




I'm sure there's a much better way to do this, but I think this should look okay under a coat of paint....


There's some kind of control box at the right hand end of the panel on the co-pilot's side that I'll add next and some more little switches and things out of styrene, but that will have to wait till another time.


More to come.....





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With the instrument panel nearly done I thought it was about time to attach the whole bulkhead to the cockpit floor. This will allow me to start installing stuff on the periphery of the cockpit and hopefully soon secure those loose ends of the control cables to the aft bulkhead (front of the bomb bay) once and for all!


Before I attached the two main structures together I had to add some detail and paint to the lower portion, seeing as the underfloor part of the cockpit had already been painted. I have also been giving some serious thought to putting in working lighting in the actual position of the dome lights. 


I have come across some really nifty little LED's from a mob called "ngineering.com" (as in "N" scale). They have some really cool stuff if you ever want to check them out.




These little "nano" sized incandescent LED's are about 1.3mm wide by 2.5ish mm long, so soldering them is heaps of fun. Come to think of it, even getting them out of the packet is heaps of fun! :) Being an LED, they have an anode and cathode, so they need to be soldered the right way, not melting them in the process.





They also don't like getting too much voltage or current, so you must be very careful before you try them out. Anyway, I made a little dome style enclosure and then ran the wires though 0.025" stainless tube. Here's the difference between off, 




and on....




These little guys are ultra bright, so I actually placed a clear styrene disc over the top and lightly sanded it to give a diffused look. Once inside the fuselage this should light up the whole area quite nicely! :)






The instrument panel still has a fair bit to do, but it's starting to come together. The only kit parts in this entire assembly are the two control columns. I can't even use the wheels, as the early forts had a different shape! I will use the centre pedestal and pedals, as they are pretty good and not really worth the effort to scratch build replacements. 






Stay tuned! :)






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Thanks everyone for the kind words and positive comments! I'm glad you're all enjoying the show as much as I'm enjoying the project itself. Luckily the Easter weekend is around the corner so I should be able to get a bit more done, but unfortunately after that I'll be away for a few months so things will be a bit quiet on the B-17 front. Rest assured though, enforced time away from the bench is sometimes not a bad thing, and usually means I'm chomping at the bit to get back into it!

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G'day guys,


Just got time for a small update. Unfortunately reality has set in and with the realisation that I probably should be trying to finish my 1/48 Chinook commission build before I do any more on this. I really don't like building models for other people, unless they don't know they're coming, something about working to a deadline or the perception that they are waiting on you takes a lot of the fun out of things doesn't it?


Still, I am using the build to try things I can then put back into the B-17, such as the animation side of things. Here's where I'm at with the chinook if anyone's interested. Apologies, a little off topic :)






Anyway, back to the big girl herself! One of the things I've been meaning to do for a while was have a crack at building a new master for the prop blades, as clearly the F and G style paddle ones won't do here (as will the shape of the cowlings, but that's for another time!). Now given the thickness of the prop, there was zero chance that the 3D printer would handle the job, and I was after a very smooth finish, for the bare metal finish later on. So the concept was to take a kit blade, rework it and cast 12 copies..... hopefully.


I'm assuming they were pretty much the same in diameter(?). Here's the rough outline....




Getting a bit closer, just tweaking the shape...






And here's the finished (more or less) product next to a kit prop. Still a bit of cleaning up to do on them but it should work okay :)




I'm also eagerly awaiting the arrival of a stack of litho plate to play with some hopefully I can do something remotely resembling Peter's magic on his tiger cat......


Till next time and thanks as always for looking in.




Edit: a few of you may have noticed the air bubble in the root of each blade. Rather annoying but still workable, I cut a hole in one side of each and filled them with some spare resin, once they sand back, no one should know the difference and now at least they'll be as strong as the rest of the blade :)

Edited by brahman104

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Great work Craig!  The props really do look the biz now


something about working to a deadline or the perception that they are waiting on you takes a lot of the fun out of things doesn't it?


Oh yeah!  Its the business of commission really. Its not really the case with my current commission project as there have been no actual deadlines put forth, but I know of what you speak of. This is ESPECIALLY true when your commission project is one you personally are not passionate about.................another problem I do not have with my current commission project, but its all too familiar when doing that kind of work.

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