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Pre-Flight Check
Constructive criticism forum moderated by Scott Murphy.
Hosted by Rowan Baylis
B-17G "Chowhound" Build
TotemWolf
#288
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Oklahoma, United States
Member Since: February 11, 2013
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Posted: Thursday, August 31, 2017 - 10:09 AM GMT+7
They say that solving puzzles will help keep your brain young and thus improves your general health. If that is the case then this build is going to add ten years to my life.

I worked on the pieces and subassemblies that will go into the nose and cockpit area so that they can be painted and then put into place for final assembly. There is a lot of flash and pin marks to be removed for every part in this kit. Once I worked my way to bulkhead 3/instrument panel, I had to figure out exactly what can be placed before I place the assembly on to the deck and what might need to wait for fear of breakage. I will have built this aircraft in my mind a dozen times over before I finish the actual build. That’s good though. Not only will it help me build the best model I can; I will learn so much about how and why I do certain things the way I do them.

Prep of the control yolk was pretty straight forward. Just seam lines and one pin mark on each yolk that needed attention.
After I discovered the problem in the instructions, the bombsight just needed a little cleaning. They have improved the details of the bombsight so two of the PE parts are not needed as they are nicely molded on the new part.
Other than the VERY niggly PE parts the chin turret control also was no problem. I did have trim the base of the controller to make it look correct as it will be in the stored position.
The instrument panel required a good amount of prep. I had to sand down the molded panel details but also remove the rudder pedals. To ensure the right amount was removed I had to dry fit the assembly and measure the bottom of the panel. If I did it right the rudder pedals should now fit just right. On bulkhead 3, a couple of the details were removed to make way for PE parts.

I’ll post pics after I have all the prep work done.
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 08:20 AM GMT+7
I went ahead and opened the forward exit.

I also painted the front deck and started to assemble some of the basic components just so I can get an idea of what I will be working with in regards to the area under the cockpit. After dry fitting it into the fuselage this is what can be seen.


It looks like most of the area will be obscured. A few details maybe needed near the door itself, but at scale, fully assembled even that will not be seen much at all. So I will move back to the nose interior and cockpit for now.

I removed the kit nose section ammo box and the details on the center controls in order to install the PE. I went ahead and removed the cockpit emergency exit doors I had incorrectly placed. The whole thing, along with the ammo box was primed and painted. Next all the PE parts that go into the area are put in place before I can even start working on the kit parts.

I think I’ve gone cross-eyed getting all the tiny, fiddley levers in place. They do add a nice touch to the controls. I just hope it’s worth it when the plane sealed up.


While reviewing the parts for the rest of this step I found a callout for kit parts 49 and 50 to build the Norden bombsight. I could not find part 49 anywhere on the sprues. I couldn’t even find the tab where it should be. On the PE instructions it shows both parts as well. A closer look at the illustration in the instructions let me see that part 49 is not shown. After some digging online I found out that the parts are now molded as one piece but the written directions have not changed. So the newer kits only have part 50 even though part 49 is called for.

TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Saturday, August 26, 2017 - 03:15 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

Just floating an idea here: You could paint that bulkhead black and just put the ends of the O2 bottles on it. That would fool the eye for no more than can be seen through the hatch. With the two hanging from the floor, visibility would be limited as well.

Some B-17's had the engine fire extinguisher bottles located there. These are seen on several of the currently flying birds so people tend to include them in all builds (those that detail that area anyway ). But the engine ext system was deleted from the early G models. When the system was initially reinstalled, the bottles were in the right wing root. The bottles were not located under the cockpit until the G-80-BO block (43-38074 and on). Not relevant to "Chowhound" but just in case someone pops up with a photo showing those bottles.

Is the cad rendering you have posted of th HK kit?


Yep, that's right along the lines I was thinking.
I will try fitting the wings see how much more I can push it back. I might place like half a bottle on the 'bulkhead' or something.
Also I have not removed the door yet so I'm not even sure what will be visible. Even without all of the equipment in the nose or cockpit you can't see much detail in the area through the deck openings so even something as simple as panting of details might work from that viewpoint. Even more so when the gear in both areas is added.
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Saturday, August 26, 2017 - 03:04 AM GMT+7
As far as the ammo cans, this comes from page 122 of a Sperry manual on the turret.


Quoted Text

"Two ammunition cans, which are a permanent part of the turret ball, one for each gun, hold approximately 500 rounds of belted ammunition apiece. In some late modifications of the turret the ammunition cans are placed outside the turret, mounted to the hanger assembly, to give the gunner more room; flexible chutes carry the ammunition belts from the cans to the turret and guns. But most Sperry Ball turrets still have cans installed right in front of the gunner. They cannot be removed from the turret and must be loaded from the outside."



They may or may not have been in the 'Chowhound,' more than likely not; but as the turret area is so sparse on the kit I may leave them just to hide the weak representation of the turret mechanism.
KPHB17FE
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Posted: Saturday, August 26, 2017 - 02:53 AM GMT+7
Just floating an idea here: You could paint that bulkhead black and just put the ends of the O2 bottles on it. That would fool the eye for no more than can be seen through the hatch. With the two hanging from the floor, visibility would be limited as well.

Some B-17's had the engine fire extinguisher bottles located there. These are seen on several of the currently flying birds so people tend to include them in all builds (those that detail that area anyway ). But the engine ext system was deleted from the early G models. When the system was initially reinstalled, the bottles were in the right wing root. The bottles were not located under the cockpit until the G-80-BO block (43-38074 and on). Not relevant to "Chowhound" but just in case someone pops up with a photo showing those bottles.

Is the cad rendering you have posted of th HK kit?
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Saturday, August 26, 2017 - 02:10 AM GMT+7
I found some more reference material that will help.

TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Saturday, August 26, 2017 - 02:04 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

......... One more little detail, that bulkhead you have under the turret floor should be back at the bomb bay. Unless you are just doing that for your convenience. Not a slam, just if you want to add the O2 bottles, they won't fit.



Yeah, I think I might have to put it there because of the wings. Once I'm close to the final assembly I may see if I can do something about that. The more I get into the build the more compromises I am going to have make. In the end what I want is something that will look as good as possible and as real as possible in scale from the viewpoints allowed, but will still be fun to build.

Having said that please keep making suggestions. I will defiantly use what I can.
KPHB17FE
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Posted: Friday, August 25, 2017 - 11:36 PM GMT+7
A couple of minor inputs if I may: The doors between the pilots seats were removed from combat aircraft. A little detail on that, they were not two separate doors but rather a bifold door that hinged on the aircraft right. And combat B-17's did not have the external cans on the ball turret. Yes, I know some of the aircraft flying have them but there aren't any WWII photos showing them in use and several veteran ball turret gunners I have spoken to had never seen them before. One more little detail, that bulkhead you have under the turret floor should be back at the bomb bay. Unless you are just doing that for your convenience. Not a slam, just if you want to add the O2 bottles, they won't fit.
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Friday, August 25, 2017 - 03:05 PM GMT+7

Quoted Text

Autopilot components:

Converter:

(img removed)

Servo:

(img removed)

Amplifier:

(img removed)

Gyro:

(img removed)

Shield:

(img removed)



Wow

Some of those are going to scale down to just a couple of mm. I might doing some sculpting.
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Friday, August 25, 2017 - 02:47 PM GMT+7
I had a good day at the bench and on the computer today. I did some digging and found some good reference photos; unfortunately none of them except one very unclear shot showed the area near front crew door. There were a couple of schematics plus what Karl posted that will help me later when I start to tackle that area.

I decided to go ahead and open up the doors from both the nose section and the cockpit to the emergency exit. Here are a couple of before photos that show what they looked like in the kit. The nose section just had and fake curtain over the opening.


Here’s the cockpit with the opening cut out and scratch-built doors installed, also one of the nose section opened up.


After dry fitting the deck and looking at where the door would open I realized I would need to extend bulkhead 3 and place a bulkhead under the cockpit just beyond the cockpit entrance.

I should now be able to work out exact what will be placed in the area when I get the deck in place in the fuselage.
Next I’ll paint the deck and start completing the cockpit and nose section.
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Friday, August 25, 2017 - 02:41 PM GMT+7
Thanks that added to the little bit that I found should help fill it in perfect.
KPHB17FE
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Posted: Friday, August 25, 2017 - 02:28 PM GMT+7
Autopilot components:

Converter:



Servo:



Amplifier:



Gyro:



Shield:

KPHB17FE
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Posted: Friday, August 25, 2017 - 02:11 PM GMT+7
Directly across from the entry hatch were these autopilot components:



Here is drawing of them as viewed from the hatch:



Here is a view looking aft from the navigators position. You can see a couple of the AP components (the gyro has a heated blanket covering it) as well as the oxygen bottles under the top turret area. The black box aft of the AP components is the Radio COmpass receiver. The box to the lower right of the photo (A/C left) contained the voltage regulators:


TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:46 AM GMT+7
Well I ran into my first good size roadblock. I want to have the front emergency exit door open on the aircraft. That is the one you see the flight crew climb into in movies like “Twelve O’clock High.” Of course this is on the bottom of the aircraft just beneath and flight controls, and on the kit there is NO detail there. In fact it is completely hidden. I don’t mind building the interior from scratch but I need some good references. Does anyone have any? Thanks for the help in advance.
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 01:43 PM GMT+7
Well I’m back to it and things are plugging along.
I’m got the ball turret mechanism finished. I started to work on it last week and I did get the ammo dispensers put together but had to stop there. I did some research on what the mechanism looked like in an operational B-17. Without completely modifying the model it would have been impossible to replicate the exact look, so I settled for the best I could do with what I have. Also once the plane is complete what can be seen from the doorway in the windows will be very close to correct. There are two more small pieces of PE that were added to the dispensers after this photo but I didn’t think it was worth getting another photo. Once it is in place and before closing up the fuselage I will get more pictures.

I also managed to start working on the chin turret. This is what the guns looked like.

….. and yes those pin marks are visible when the turret is complete. Why couldn’t they just put them on the other side where they would never be seen? You have to love “That 70’s Plastic.”

I went ahead and used the PE barrels and flash guards. They are placed on a 0.8mm core that was glued to the gun via on hole I drilled after removing the stock barrels. In the end I think it came out alright. I don’t think the extra cost for brass or resin would make enough difference to justify the price since I had already paid for these.

I have starting prepping the deck for the cockpit the nose section. I have it ready to start adding a lot of extras. So that’s where the build is heading next, and by the looks of things it should be a fun ride.
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 02:31 PM GMT+7
Ok so I finally got back to the bench.
I finished the little bit of PE that I needed to complete for the radio compartment itself. I also throw on some detail paint, and the decals for the doors.
Now everything is glued in place and the first part of step 3 is done.
Next I’ll start working on the ball turret area.


Jugg-Head
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Posted: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 08:15 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text


Watching with interest. I have started one some two years ago. I've got bogged down but it's not abandoned yet. I've got involved in a few parallel builds as well, but it didn't work for me. Now I'm trying to clear my unfinished business and "Chow Hound" is at the top of the list.

I wish you good luck with this build

Gabriel



Ditto!

Tommy
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Monday, August 14, 2017 - 10:14 AM GMT+7
Well one more day of work is done. I finished the front radio compartment bulkhead apart from a few touch ups of the paint. The deck is done and I have started the seat.

I will try to get a little more work done over the next few days but I will be busy. I hope everyone is enjoying the blog and thanks for your support.
Szmann
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Netherlands Antilles
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Posted: Sunday, August 13, 2017 - 10:28 PM GMT+7
Nice! The radios are looking much better than the ones provided by the kit. KUTGW.

Gabriel
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Sunday, August 13, 2017 - 02:12 PM GMT+7
I made some headway with the radio operator’s compartment today. I get all the parts primed and painted.

After I took this picture I realized that the floor beyond the bulkhead should have continued in the same paint scheme. I will fix that.
I also managed to get the desk started to include the radios and some of the wiring. I will work on the rest of it when I get back to the bench.


TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Saturday, August 12, 2017 - 02:09 PM GMT+7
Not much to report today.
I did some more sanding and prep on the plastic for step 3. I worked on some more of PE.

TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Friday, August 11, 2017 - 03:59 PM GMT+7
Well I did manage to back to the bench for a bit today after all.
As I said yesterday I worked on some scratch built oxygen bottles and a fire extinguisher, so I will cover that first. The walk around bottles are completely missing from the kit but the PE sets come with the mounting brackets for them, so that means handmade bottles.
First I tried making them from styrene rod but it proved harder than I thought to round the ends smoothly on something that short. That led me to use Milliput. I rolled it out and cut it to length. It ended up being very easy. For the pressure gauge on the top of bottle I used the Milliput push into a drill gauge. After smoothing off each side I gently used and rod of the same diameter to push the disk out.




I will sand and clean, prime, paint and assemble them later on.
I also made a quick mockup of the fire extinguishers onboard the B-17. Here’s the original

… here’s what the kit comes with,

…. and then my rough porotype.

Today a started prepping the parts for step 3. That meant more putty. Like here on the back of the seat.

I also removed the radio operators ‘desk’ and filled the hole.

I also bent a bit of the PE. I still have a lot to do on this step including some more research.
The fun is just beginning.

TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 02:48 PM GMT+7
Some of today's work.


Although it is not very visible the inside is green zinc chromate. It is enough that it gives it some depth when you look into the front of the ball. There is also a safety belt inside. I do still need to touch up the paint on the MG's a little.

In order to get the halves to fit, I ended up having to sand both sides flat as they are not cast smooth. I may still have to go back and put some Mr Surfacer on the seam. It's not bad right now but it can be seen if you look for it. Plus I know it's there and that bothers me. I will come to it in a few days and see how it looks. Sometimes you just have to walk away.

I removed the barrels from the MG and then drilled a hole about 0.5mm deep and 0.9mm wide. This was just enough to give the end of the barrel a place to set and help get them straight. With the PE collar on the guns just fit into the holes on the ball. Of course I had test fit them before I even removed the original barrels.

I also made the parts for several walk around oxygen bottles. I will need them for the next few step in the build. I also built the parts for a fire extinguisher. I will finish putting it together and if comes out right I use it for all the extinguishers in the plane. I will post of them and talk about how I made them tomorrow if nothing else.

I will try to do some more work tomorrow but I may not have much if anything to post.
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Wednesday, August 09, 2017 - 02:49 PM GMT+7
The finished wheel (for now).
TotemWolf
#288
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Posted: Tuesday, August 08, 2017 - 07:54 AM GMT+7

Quoted Text

For some reason I can not see the photos of your work. I can see the gal in the wing and the photo of the actual tail wheel but none of the others. Have no idea if it is my computer or something about the way they were posted.
.................



I hope that corrected the problem. It was on my end not yours.