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brahman104

HK's B-17F - 18/9 we have a nose!

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My pleasure DB, one can never have enough B-17 pictures!

 

So I'm back from my 6 weeks in the US. I was lucky enough during that time to visit/see 5 different B-17s - 

 

B-17F Boeing Bee in Seattle,

B-17E Desert Rat in Illinois,

B-17G Yankee Lady in Oshkosh,

B-17G Aluminum Overcast in Oshkosh,

B17G Picadilly Lilly in Chino.

 

I got a once in a lifetime flight in Aluminum Overcast which was absolutely brilliant, and over waaaaay too fast. It did give me some small insight into what it might have been like to be on these things during the war, but nowhere near what they had to go through day in, day out. I was lucky enough to meet and get a book signed by a B-17 gunner named Art Unruh, who flew 50 missions out of Italy with the 15th AF. Not many of these guys left so it was very special to be able to chat with him!

 

MAxlaoz.jpg

 

Yoj1AzU.jpg

 

While this and the ride in Aluminum Overcast were beyond amazing, by far the most educational visit for me was to the Desert Rat. For those that don't know, a gentleman named Mike Kellner and a team of dedicated volunteers have been slowly rebuilding a very rare XC-108 which was an E model modified to carry cargo. It will be displayed in its original configuration and they are absolutely meticulous in their work. If you live near Illinois or are passing through I would definitely recommend a detour.... you won't be disappointed!

 

I thought I knew a lot about B-17s..... turns out I'm not even on the tip of the iceberg! Mike and a lot of the guys are also avid modellers, and have built the HK kit. I know everyone (me included) always focusses on the nose shape issue, but there are a few more significant aspects that I will now be addressing as part of my quest.

 

Firstly, I didn't realise that the top of the rear fuselage runs parallel with the fuselage centreline, instead of tapering down equally with the underside. This is true for the shark tails (lucky me for my C!) but not for the E onwards..... have a look at the centreline diagram below....

 

gWEx8El.png

 

And on the real thing....

 

CF00o46.jpg

 

ChG4RNS.jpg

 

CALQNsa.jpg

 

 

It's difficult to determine exactly how far the HK kit is out, but there is definitely a taper under the vertical fin.

 

gZl8I02.jpg

 

What does that mean? Realistically, as I have done for my C model, a new rear fuselage. Is it worth the effort? Not sure yet, the investigation continues.

 

Once I can do some drawings I'll post them here. We've also agreed that the fuselage appears to be oversize by about a factor of 1.07, which means direct overlays of the dimensions is not straightforward as myself, Fencer and Kent have already shown. More to follow on that later.....

 

The other big glaring fault (well glaring, but hiding in plain sight) is the outboard nacelle height in reference to the leading edge. I draw your attention once again to the centreline diagram....

 

r5ovF5C.png

 

Scaled up roughly, the top of the outboard should be approximately 10.5mm higher than the inboard. The kit shows more like 13-14mm depending on how you measure it. 

 

Even judging by eye, you can see what I mean...

 

PmBzol1.jpg

 

Q0aQm7T.jpg

 

The kit has the CL of the propellor on the CL of the leading edge, when it actually sits below....

 

CHIGx6X.jpg

 

gpEflCa.jpg

 

I know the kit's main gear is depicted "weight off" and the mainwheel is too small, which is why it always appears to look like it's on it's "tippy toes," but the outboard nacelle really add to the overall "off" look. I have no idea how to correct it yet, but needless to say I can't unsee it now so I'll have to do something about it!

 

The journey continues!

 

Cheers, Craig

 

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Hi, Craig

Great research tread continues. I also found the same, comparing HK B-17 against photos and drawings. I printed a full 32nd scale size profile photo, mentioned above, with overlayed 3D nose contour (they match just perfect) and check HK parts to clarify what can I do to improve overall look of the model. I think I found appropriate way to make few cuts with minimum influence in "out of the box" edition. I think the wing is another BIG story of sad findings. The profile and thikness will probably be one big issue. Engine nacelles position and axis angle, seems, too. As for me, I already drew the "line" where I'll have to stop not to fall into total scratchbuilding. I simply must use most of this three-hundreed-dollar "firewood"!

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9 hours ago, Fencer-1 said:

Hi, Craig

Great research tread continues. I also found the same, comparing HK B-17 against photos and drawings. I printed a full 32nd scale size profile photo, mentioned above, with overlayed 3D nose contour (they match just perfect) and check HK parts to clarify what can I do to improve overall look of the model. I think I found appropriate way to make few cuts with minimum influence in "out of the box" edition. I think the wing is another BIG story of sad findings. The profile and thikness will probably be one big issue. Engine nacelles position and axis angle, seems, too. As for me, I already drew the "line" where I'll have to stop not to fall into total scratchbuilding. I simply must use most of this three-hundreed-dollar "firewood"!

 

Very true Fencer!

 

It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to find everything wrong with a kit and then we never get anywhere! Thank you for your response and it has reminded me to stick to the original intent of this thread - to come up with a reasonable correction for the nose, not to make a 100% dimensionally correct B-17! I will definitely tackle the outer nacelles, as it will be worth it for my C build as well, but the tail really doesn't look that bad when you consider the corrective work involved!

 

By the way, how is your nose section going? Have you got one printed yet?

 

Cheers,

 

Craig

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Hi, Craig

 

I'm still working for detailing the nose section in 3D to minimize hand work in the future and intend to print test parts in the beginning of September.  I'm also thinking how to add elegancy to HK plastic in other places. There are some other projects in the work I hope to show here soon. 

 

Regards,

 

Alex

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18 hours ago, Fencer-1 said:

Hi, Craig

 

I'm still working for detailing the nose section in 3D to minimize hand work in the future and intend to print test parts in the beginning of September.  I'm also thinking how to add elegancy to HK plastic in other places. There are some other projects in the work I hope to show here soon. 

 

Regards,

 

Alex

 

Sounds like it's going great Alex! I, and I'm sure many others, are looking forward to seeing the results of your hard work.

 

I've decided to take a different track. As I said in my last post, the concept for my E and F models (which will be built someway off in the future) was to come up with a reasonable compromise between reality and the HK parts. As many have done before me, I was heading down the track of "everything wrong with the HK kit." Instead of fighting it, I decided on a new approach......

 

As noted earlier in the build, I had already removed this section...

 

tGIepB7.jpg

 

I began to think to myself, "Why go to all the trouble of completely redesigning the nose, thereby having to redo everything in the nose and cockpit too?" Yes, I've had to do that on my C as the fuselage is shorter, but if I could use the nose transparency and even the kit windows and nose and cockpit floors etc, it would save me an awful lot of time redoing parts which you pay a lot for, and aren't really that bad to begin with. My new concept being to establish the kit contours along the part separated above, then blend in a new cockpit windscreen, instrument panel, #3 bulkhead and have in run from behind the top turret, forward to the nose piece. Essentially, this will hopefully be a "drop fit" of sorts to facilitate a pretty straight forward conversion. The lower half of the nose below the centreline will remain unchanged....

 

So how do I do that? Well remember the modelling genius Paul Budzik? He has a very good video out about using Hydrocal to "cast" fuselage profiles for bulkheads, rather than use a not very accurate contour guage, so that's what I did...

 

On the fuselage side I hadn't cut up yet, I established the "cut line" using electrical tape.

 

gOPoFg5.jpg

 

I then set up the hydrocal directly onto the fuselage, hoping like hell I could remove it later without breaking it....

 

wod4gm8.jpg

 

Turns out this stuff is absolutely amazing and captures even rivet detail on the skin AND amazingly didn't crack into a million pieces when I gently prized it off!

 

fHK07FX.jpg

 

I then very carefully sanded and removed the material back to the line and voila! A perfect replication of the HK fuselage contours!

 

du8QzGT.jpg

 

p2Hx7Nc.jpg

 

h3V1bBC.jpg

 

With this captured, I'll start from scratch drawing up a new nose that hopefully captures the "essence" of the nose, but using the kit's dimensions. Sound simple? We'll soon see!

 

Cheers,

 

Craig

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Amazing!  You certainly aren't any stranger to major surgery as far as plastic is concerned.  I however, am not that "dedicated" so I chose to do my B-17 in 1/48 starting with the old Monogram G kit.  At least I'm certain that it's fairly close to being correct...it looks a lot more "in-proportion" than does the HK kit (any of their B-17's); not to mention considerably smaller.  Having said that, the only thing I've managed to do to mine is relocate the right waist window forward three fuselage frames.  There is a build in the Non LSP works forum but there's not much there as I'm frightfully slow.  Right now, I'm reinstalling all the fuselage form and stringer detail that was lost when I ground it all off because of the window relocation.  I've got a LOT more to do though....

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10 hours ago, Juggernut said:

Amazing!  You certainly aren't any stranger to major surgery as far as plastic is concerned.  I however, am not that "dedicated" so I chose to do my B-17 in 1/48 starting with the old Monogram G kit.  At least I'm certain that it's fairly close to being correct...it looks a lot more "in-proportion" than does the HK kit (any of their B-17's); not to mention considerably smaller.  Having said that, the only thing I've managed to do to mine is relocate the right waist window forward three fuselage frames.  There is a build in the Non LSP works forum but there's not much there as I'm frightfully slow.  Right now, I'm reinstalling all the fuselage form and stringer detail that was lost when I ground it all off because of the window relocation.  I've got a LOT more to do though....

 

Thanks Jug! I'll have to swing by the non-LSP section and check yours out....

 

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So to show you guys this is still a WIP! :)

 

I needed to buy a set of outside calipers to establish the true outside cross sectional dimensions of the kit in order to line up my hyrdocal profile. With that done, I simply had to work out where on the line the #3 bulkhead sits, trace the shape from the factory drawings and "merge" it into the kit profiles. 

 

That was probably the easy part. I'm now working away at trying to blend the cockpit lines into the cylindrical profiles of the nose. As you can see in the screen shot, I've been using the cockpit enclosure drawings resized to what I have done so far. As we know, if you were to scale it properly, it wouldn't fit the kit.

 

GBvnOmu.png

 

Apologies for the red. I'm not angry, I just had that layer colour selected...... :D

 

And here's another screen show the side profile of the cockpit windows and how I need to bridge the gap to blend into the fuselage. 

 

OfbGCzD.png

 

Alex's (Fencer) work so far may have you believe that this is pretty easy to do, but there's a lot going on here and I am very much an amateur ;)

 

Anyway, I'm still chipping away at this in between work on the C. I find it good to step away from it every now and then to make sure I'm not doing anything stupid. The plan is still to rough it out first to make sure it fits, then look at adding things like windows and other details once I'm happy with the dimensions. Hopefully more to show soon.

 

Cheers,

 

Craig

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Houston, we have a new nose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

After much confoundment with creating wall thickness to be able to print, I finally have something physical to show you!

 

3KMdksv.jpg

 

Despite my best efforts, the printing software blatantly refused to print the "eyebrow" section above the windscreen. I checked it out on Rhino before and it seemed all good. Sometimes these things just do what they want! Amusingly, as soon as I detached this piece, it was more than happy to print it separately!!! :blowup:

 

Anyway two big questions.... 1) how did it turn out? and 2) did it make a difference to "the look?"

 

Well here's the pictures. Note this is a trial run to see it I had the dimensions and shapes right. I'll go back now and add the windows, then the final print will be in the Photon :)

 

e1XNOKZ.jpg

 

OHdcqL8.jpg

 

1axsr4S.jpg

 

6k0wJxK.jpg

 

hK4KXTw.jpg

 

1sPJP7J.jpg

 

I don't know about you guys, but I reckon it looks a lot more B-17 like to me! Already you can see the inclusion of the correct #3 shape is making all the heartache of the CAD work worthwhile ;)

 

Over the next few days I'll cut the other side out and then mock it up complete and next to my other unbuilt kit. But for now, I'm happy that I have a workable solution to fix the nose issue with minimal disturbance to the rest of the kit. There you go, it CAN be done!

 

Cheers,

 

Craig

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wow wow and thrice wow

 

that is well and truly bringing the 3d printing revolution to the hobby in a very tangible way

 

can we give you a list of kits we want corrections / updates for now?

 

:ninja:

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