Jump to content

HK B-17...C 5/4 sweating the metal


Recommended Posts



After nearly 5 very long months moving all around the country for various courses today I finally made it back to the bench. I don't know about the rest of you but I always find after such a long break I end up beginning on quite a different approach to the plan I had had in mind when I last worked on the project.  


When I left off I was going to keep all 3 pieces of fuselage separate for some time yet and continue to tackle the cockpit and bomb bay. Today, on getting back into it, I decided for some reason instead that I'd switch to cutting out the rear gunners windows, the hole for the bathtub and the rear entry door. I also decided that I would actually attach the printed parts to what was left of the original kit fuselage in order to start refining the shape.


Given the nature of the printing, all the parts are made up of a series of fine lines, which is less than ideal when trying to achieve a smooth finish. To that end I was toying with the possibility of subjecting the parts to a process known as "acetone vapour finishing" which appears to smooth the exterior of the parts and give them a nice glossy finish, provided you don't leave them in the box too long. There's plenty of videos on youtube explaining the process which seems pretty straight forward.


In the end I decided not to go with this as I was worried the parts may become soft and even shrink unevenly which would be highly inconvenient, so I figured once I had got the pieces glued together and  formed into their final shape, I would apply a few coats of fibreglass resin which will hopefully smooth out most of the lines and allow me to sand it all back for a nice smooth exterior.


That's the new plan anyway.... so on with the photos...






Pleasantly, the parts mostly mated up to the kit parts pretty well, considering I was using a combination of line drawings and the kit parts for dimensions, not to mention the printing process itself


The size of the gunners windows, rear door and the hole for the bathtub are all guess work based by comparing photos to the above two references. Probably far from accurate, but good references are pretty few and far between for the early model birds....




I ended up with a bit of a gap on the bottom. Not terribly worried about that at this stage, should be easy enough to deal with later on. You can also see that the rear door, and the two windows give excellent opportunity to see inside, I think much better than the later models so it will be worth doing a good job on that when the time comes....




This is where it starts getting interesting...




We all know about the shape issues around the nose and hopefully my new one combined with the new instrument panel has gone some way to correct it. The down side is that you are left with this rather large step that needs to be dealt with and blended properly. Not really sure how exactly to attack this one yet, given that the difference in width is greater than the thickness of the original plastic so sanding alone is not an option. I'm probably going to cut a bit more of the kit plastic back and fashion a kind of "transition" piece. If anyone has any ideas on this I would more than welcome suggestions...








Once again, pretty happy with the initial mate up of the printed parts. They were also attached using normal tamiya plastic cement with a very solid bond. It also seems that all the work I put in to the cockpit underfloor area will be highly visible, especially with the light on, so good to know I didn't waste the effort! :)


Apologies that it's not the most earth shattering update, but I know some of you have been asking about it, so I just wanted to reassure you all that it's alive and well and hopefully progressing a little more frequently from now on!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is such an awesome project. Good to see you back at it Craig, that's some great problem solving you've done. Keen to see how you tackle the nose.




Thanks Jim! I was actually just down your way for the last 6 weeks... glad to be back up in the warmth now though! I'm pretty keen to see how I tackle the nose too! :)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Evening all!


Stumbling on with the cockpit area and it is proving even more difficult to capture the quintessential B-17 shape than I had imagined. In my head when I made the nose section, the 3d printed nose had a nice flat spot on the top that should have come close to reflecting the photo below. Looking at what I have, I'm not sure it's enough. This is also my first foray in the apple version of paintbrush, so hopefully a few of the comments on the photo make sense.....




Initially I tried to establish the basic cockpit windscreen frame and build it up with styrene and putty. The plan being when it was dry to slowly cut it back until I arrived at the correct shape.




Looking at what I was going to try and do, I'm pretty confident I was going to totally stuff it up and not come to anything close to the right look. Then I had a better look at the top photo and realised the roof of the cockpit, aside from not having any eyebrow windows, is actually quite high, which it isn't on the HK one. As is stood the windscreen was still going to sit up too high and have a massive step in front which was going to look awful.....






It then became apparent that I could make the roof thicker by filling all the spaces for the windows and shifting the whole lot down further. So to that end I filled the window openings with 1.5mm styrene and for the first time decided to give the "Liquid sprue" that chuck504z3 uses to great effect a go.


Clearly, he does it well and I do not  :shrug: . However, as horrible as it looks right now, the whole point is to give me an essentially solid surface to locate the new cockpit windows in, and therefore hopefully address both the roof height and the shape of where the nose meets the lower cockpit windscreen.




Oh yes and I cut out the nose windows and tailwheel as well, none of which are very important right now, but having the locations established I can potentially begin to detail the interior of the nose.


I can give no assurances this is going to end well, follow at your peril....



Edited by brahman104
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, this is hard core modelling. I totally do not have the stones to do what you are doing.





Hahaha, thanks Jim! Realistically I don't either, but I usually act first then try to figure out how I'm going to get out of the situation I've put myself into. I find if I don't, I end up procrastinating forever and not doing anything! :)


I've only just caught this one.


What a great build. Probably the most serious work I've seen on this kit.  :goodjob:


Hi James, thanks for looking in! I certainly hope I can guide this to a successful outcome....


Terrific, going to be a showstopper when finished.


Thanks mate, well it might very well stop the show, maybe not entirely in the way I intended! :)


fantastic - love what you are doing with this Craig


..looks like you are going the right way about solving what look like a complex set of problems!


great stuff :popcorn: :popcorn:




Thanks very much Peter! It's great being back at it again. Glad to hear your approval of the reshaping process. Aside from drawing up a whole new cockpit in Rhino I really couldn't see another way to tackle it! At the moment it's very 'chicken and the egg' scenario, I have to correct one bit so I can correct another, so I can go back and correct the first bit! As long as I'm taking one more step forward then I am back I'm still progressing right? I hope this liquid sprue doesn't take too long to cure......


Just awesome mate, I just love this sort of modelling and talk about having a unique(and corrected) version of this amazing plane on your shelf when finished.


Keep up the great work





Thanks Anthony, I have a penchant for finding the most difficult way of doing things, then realising much later that there very well may have been an easier way to do it, but I'm sure having fun and if I get a B-17 out of it at the end, well all the better!


Fearless modelling, Craig! I've got my fingers crossed for the outcome here.




Thanks Kev! You might need to keep them crossed for a while here. And your toes too :)

Edited by brahman104
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...