1/48th Revell/Monogram B-17G "Yankee Lady"

Discussion in 'Start to Finish Builds' started by Builder 2010, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. Builder 2010

    Builder 2010 Member

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    Just a note of caution: When I do a build thread, I try to do more than just a show and tell, but give more information about techniques, challenges, goofs and solutions.

    When living in our Bucks County, PA townhouse in the early 1980s, not having a basement required me to build models in our 1-car garage. In the summer I'd have the door open and the young boys from our cul-de-sac would come and watch (including my daughter and son). One of these went on to become a modeler and military history buff. He's now 50 and for his 50th birthday had a ride in the real B-17G Yankee Lady. He went out and bought the kit, only to realize that he'd never actually build it. We're living in Louisville, KY now while he's still back in Eastern PA. He called me and asked if I could do a "Myles Original" and he'd pay a commission. My spouse forbid me from collecting money from him, but he did pay for all the supplies. I told him to take the kit back and I'd re-buy it here from our wonderful hobby shop, Scale Reproductions, Inc. Full-line great LHSs are becoming rare in the USA, but here in River City we still have several.

    Along with the kit I bought Eduard's Wright R-1820 radials, Verlinden's B-17G upgrade kit, Eduard's painting masks, and Kit's "Yankee Lady" decal set. My older grandson (now 15) built this kit as his first model when he was 9 and covered it with aluminum foil. It was a tough kit, but he's become a good modeler. I'm aware of the age of this model and will try to manage the fit challenges. I plan on painting it natural aluminum with Vallejo air brush metal aluminum plus some other shades.

    The Verlinden set includes lots of little resin bits to replace the molded in turbo-chargers, details in the bombardier's compartment, new main struts and tail wheel, plus PE enhancements including window framing, bomb bay doors, forward crew door, and 50 cal. Browning MGs.

    I started the build with the turbos since they demanded surgically cutting out the molded ones and looked like the most challenging mod so I did it first figuring that if this went well, it would bode well for the rest.
    [​IMG]
    The turbos consist of 3 resin parts and 2 PE. They have a fatter side that should face between the engines. The PE parts are the outer vanes and a little clamp that secured the Convection Cooling duct that looks like a weather vane on the outside. I also drilled out the waste gate a bit so it looked more "pipe-like". I've gotten some good reference pics to show the weathering and color of these prominent details. A nice melange of blacks, browns, oranges, and tans. I believe this is "Yankee Lady's" turbo.

    [​IMG]

    Before starting the engine work, I modified the kit tail wheel struct to accept the Verlinden parts. You must cut the kit's part at the swivel joint and butt glue the resin bits to it. I didn't want just a simple butt joint since it's a load bearing joint so I drilled for a 0.021" brass wire to reinforce the joint.

    [​IMG]

    When drilling holes for reinforcing pins like this, I will first located the center by eye and mark it with a sharp point such as on a divider. This will ensure that the drill doesn't wander off-center.

    [​IMG]

    This assembly will be painted and installed later. Now comes the engines. I don't know how many of you have built these little 1:48 radial masterpieces, but they're not for the faint-hearted. It took well over a week to create them, but they're so worth it. The Eduard engine block resin casting is a work of art, and I have no idea how they create the masters to do this. Even the spark plugs are visible.

    [​IMG]

    The engine consists of the block with cylinder jugs, front crankcase, separate push rod tubs, cowl flap ring, cowl and a prop governor and oil sump castings all in resin. There's a PE sheet for each engine consisting of ignition harnesses, engine trim ring, oil line, and prop governor conduit. There's also a small piece that serves as a belt that goes around a pulley on the prop governor. That piece was ridiculous and after trying to install it, gave up and used E-Z Line which is an elastic Lycra material that glues beautifully with Cyanoacrylate (CA) cements. I built one engine completely to get a feel for it, after which I built the remaining three together.

    The engine castings come attached to a huge sprue block. I first attempted to remove this with a razor saw, but got cold feet and worried that the cut would go wild and I'd have a mess. I have a Taig model maker's lathe and decided to try to part off the waste using a very narrow parting tool. I figured if I could cut it slowly and carefully enough it might work. The engine casting has a nice 0.298" hole in it to accommodate the kit's plastic lug that supports the engines. I was able to machine a mandrel to hold the engine by this hole and cut of the scrap. It worked very well and produced a very smooth, square cut that required very little sanding to true up.

    [​IMG]

    Brush painting colors used were all Tamiya acrylics:
    Crankcase, front cover, prop governor and oil sump - light blue gray mix
    Lower cylinder barrels - Dark Iron
    Cylinder heads - Flat Aluminum
    Cylinder baffles - Flat Black
    Ignition harnesses - Chrome Silver
    Push rod tubes - Semi-gloss Black

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to add a "reply" since this is getting too long and inefficient due to all the scrolling.
     
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  2. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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  3. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Very nice start
     
  4. Builder 2010

    Builder 2010 Member

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    The first light blue that I mixed was too dark so I went back and lightened it a bit. I've seen these engines in various shades of light blue and grays. I thought the prop governors was a magneto and wondered why there was a belt drive attached to it. I did some research finding R-1800 service manuals and found that it was the governor and the belt was for control use back to the flight deck. I misplaced one of these tiny castings and it showed up two days later. It must have dimensionally shifted to the alternate universe that regularly absorbs small model pieces. Go ahed... prove me wrong. I've watched parts fall right in front of my only to disappear and re-appear a day later in the same place.

    I got out of order on the first engine and installed the governor and sump BEFORE I did the push rod tubes. This was WRONG. You will have great difficulty installing the tubes behind them. The Tubes must all go on before any additional parts are installed. It was with the first engine that I changed from the PE "belt" to the E-Z Line. This PE part was to terminate in two partially drilled holes on the baffle. It was ridiculous to glue it there. Even with the E-Z Line, it was very hard to get them to glue AND be of the correct tension. On the remaining engines I through drilled these two holes and passed the EZ-Line out the back. This let me put on tension and glue them easily. In this picture you can see this "belt".
    [​IMG]

    Next came the ignition harnesses. There were two main pieces running down the engine's right and left sides, and then two separate lines to the #1 cylinder which is blocked by the prop governor. On the first engine, I ran the wires to the rear plugs incorrectly around the cylinder to the rear plugs. I learned by looking at prototype pics and more carefully reading the Eduard instructions that the rear wires go over the cylinder top through a notch in the baffle. I also learned that you put a bend in the tiny wire tip that helps adhere the lead to the "plugs". I'm glad I did one engine first as a pilot so I didn't repeat all these errors on all the engines.

    There are five sprues of resin cast pushrod tubes so after I lost a couple to the ether, I was encouraged that Eduard included extras. They're also very easy to break since they sort of snap into indentations on the engine block and the rocker arms. WRONG! There are exactly enough to do the four engines. If you lose or break any, you are out of luck. I ended up being 11 short. On the first engine when I didn't even realize there were five sprues, after losing/breaking three, I made my own out of 0.032" bras rod. The Eduard rods measured out to 0.028" so mine were a bit over-sized. After painting they aren't noticeable. I thought it was better to be a bit bigger than using 0.021" rod. All of the resin rods were a bit long and needed about 0.030" trimmed from the end (about 1/64"). If you didn't trim them, and just tried to force it, they break in half. Resin is much harder and less forgiving than styrene. To make the brass parts I needed to round the ends so they'd fit into the indentations and seat properly so I held them in a pin vise so I could file the ends.

    [​IMG]

    I air brushed the semi-gloss black on the resin parts, but had to go back and touch them up with a very small brush since the tweezers took off some paint, and the brass replacements needed painting too. All of the tubes are in place in this pic, but not yet painted.

    [​IMG]

    For the first engine, I had annealed the PE by heating to dull red and letting it air cool. I've had trouble in the past with Eduard PE breaking when bending. In this instance, not only was this unnecessary, but it was actually detrimental. I made the brass much too soft and more difficult to work with. After I started bending the tabs on the wire ends, putting in the wiring went much faster. You need really good tweezers, and in my case (since I'm 71) really good magnification. Once the wiring went in, these engines look really cool.

    [​IMG]

    There's a little builder's plate decal that goes on the oil sump. And then there's that ring that surrounds the cylinders. This was one area where the annealing really hurt since it deformed the brass. The ring CA's to little cast tabs that extend out from one rocker on each cylinder. You start at one end and work around to the other. I carefully scraped the paint off each lug and removed the paint from the back of the ring (which I already painted when on the fret). Paint to paint CA joints are as strong as the paint's adhesion to the substrate. In other words, VERY WEAK!

    [​IMG]

    The arrow and tweezers points show the lug's location. Note: those are high quality jeweler's tweezers that I bought explicitly for pulling out splinters. MicroMark quality isn't usually good enough, but I have a lot of them too.
     
  5. Builder 2010

    Builder 2010 Member

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    Continuing on...

    [​IMG]

    Here's an upgraded engine compared to what's included in the kit. No comparison.

    [​IMG]

    Rings and decals on, so it was time to put the cowls on.

    The cowl flap rings have a couple of PE lug rings glued to it. These ring lugs them glue to the back of the engine onto similar lugs as seen in the engine's front. Then, the cowls themselves glue to the cowl flap rings. In this way, the finished assembly has that same "floating" appearance that the real engines do.

    This being said, it was very challenging to make these joints and I was afraid that they may be too weak and was exploring ways to strengthen them. After completion I feel my concern was misplaced. When all 9 lugs are glued there is sufficient strength to hold the cowls onto the plane. I'm going to have to hand carry the finished model back to Philadelphia so it has got to hold together.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    To assemble the first one, I needed assistance from #1 grandson who was building a Trumpeter 1:350 USS Hornet ship model. I held the engine on the lugs and he applied the CA with a micro-brush. For the remaining three I found that using a drop of medium CA on each lug I was then able to place the engine into position and hold until the glue cured. That went well. I filed any excess glue off the cowl flap ring ridge that would interfere with the cowls setting down properly, and then glued on all four cowls.

    [​IMG]

    As usual with these kinds of builds, most of my work is now hidden especially the careful painting I did at the back of the engines where the exhaust ring lied, but I don't care. They look spectacular and are now safely off the bench waiting for the rest of the plane to be finished before painting. Since the cowls are glued on, I'll have to mask the engines. I do this using the wet tissue method. There are three styles of cowl flap rings so these engines now have specific places to go. The rings with the bulge at the bottom go on the outboard positions since the exhaust stack comes straight out of the bottom. The other two engines have a side notch to clear the stack that comes out of the side and runs around the wheel well before reentering and leading to the turbo.
     
  6. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    We know it's there and it looks great
     
  7. Builder 2010

    Builder 2010 Member

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    Engines done onto the PE bomb bay doors. If you want to display the model with the bomb bay open, you can use these etched doors. They have 6 PE ribs that are CA'd to the PE door. Before gluing them you need to pre-shape the PE to the model's contours on the molded bomb bay. In this case annealing may have made it easier to shape, but it also made it easy to deform while working with it. Again, I scraped all paint off of the adjoining surfaces. I actually thought about soldering these ribs with my American Beauty Resistance Soldering Unit, but decided against it. Had I not painted anything, I might have attempted it.

    [​IMG]

    I'm not happy with the quality of this part, but the paint should hide most of it, and it will be hard to visualize this area on the displayed model. And with this assembly, we're caught to date. On the workbench is also a Haseqawa F-22 Raptor that my #1 grandson started several years ago. He got bogged down on the decals since that's his least favorite part so he asked me to finish them up. It hasn't had clear flat put on yet. But that's coming soon.

    [​IMG]

    And while all this is going on, I'm building a rather large 39' X 15' O'gauge model railroad. The project currently being done is building a large plaster over cardboard mountain that's in the back right corner. It's big since it 40' away from the camera in this pic. While plaster is drying I'm working on plastic kits. It's great to be retired! The railroad project started in 2012 and there's still a way to go. Most structures are craftsman kits, scratch-build or scratch-built original designs. It has 350+' of track, 27 switches and 15 locomotives.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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  9. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    Jeez, don't let Jan (Lucky 13) see this, he'll never leave you alone
     
  10. Builder 2010

    Builder 2010 Member

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    Fubar, you are referring to the model railroad, not the F-22, I'm assuming. If so, a word about that. It's been a life long desire to have a big model railroad. I had a modest one as a pre-teen/teenage. Then there was a 35 year hiatus where I didn't have the space (or money) to get back into the hobby. In '95 I got back into O'gauge railroading and designed a layout for our home in Pennsylvania. It had a 25 X 25 foot basement. in 1999, just before construction started, I was moved to Henkel's world headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany. The house we were given to live in had a basement so I asked the company if I built a layout there would they pay to move it back. The Henkel folks are nice people and they agreed so I built the layout there with a design I knew would fit back in our USA house. In 2002 I was moved back and started construction of a larger version. In the midst of that construction (Jan 2009) I was laid off from the national home builder with whom I was working at the time. We decided to retire (age 64) and moved to Louisville, KY to be near my daughter and her family including my two grandsons. This house had a fabulous basement, an L-shaped room with each leg being 45 feet. I was able to enlarge the railroad once more. Being near the grandkids has been great since they have helped in construction throughout. The oldest is now 15 and is getting less time to work on it, but the youngest is 12 and still gives me some time.
     
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  11. SANCER

    SANCER Active Member

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    Dear Builder 2010 have shown a great start with these engines. I can see that too are a lover of the details; It will be very instructive to accompany you in the process.
    And the current space for your trains is great !!, I envy the hours you should spend your grandchildren enjoying them.

    Saludos cordiales amigo :thumbup:

    Luis Carlos
    SANCER
     
  12. Builder 2010

    Builder 2010 Member

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    Thanks to all. There's not a day that goes by that I don't appreciate what I have. I love the details, but not so good at weathering. I have trouble "messing up" something that's pristine. It's a mental problem.
     
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  13. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    You're a busy man doing stellar work. Keep it up! Looking forward to updates.
     
  14. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Great work so far - looking forward to watching the build progress.
     
  15. JKim

    JKim Well-Known Member

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    Great stuff... the engines look beautiful!
     
  16. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Great work so far!
     
  17. Builder 2010

    Builder 2010 Member

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    A couple more notes on the F-22. I finished the model today for my grandson. The model had been sitting around so long that some parts were missing, one being the port inner gear door. Also missing were some of the little door hinges to hold the nose gear doors. For them, I just glued the doors to the airframe directly and you really can't see that inner main gear door position unless you really try.

    After gluing all the stuff on except for the canopy, I took it outside and gave it a shot of Dullcoat. I forgot to mask the HUD so it's no longer clear. The front landing gear, like real USAF modern fighters, is very fragile and can barely support the plane's weight. It should probably be die cast. It's one reason why I'm a big fan of 1:32 scale. Speaking of 1:32, boy, would I like to see an F-35B in that scale.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next, I'll be back on the 17.
     
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  18. SANCER

    SANCER Active Member

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    It looks good that F-22; I hope do not cause subsequent problems !! [-o<
    In my case I leaped 1/72 to 1/48 !! ... but is likely to try some memorable and legendary military aircraft in 1/32 ...:-k

    I am also anxious for the progress of your B-17 !! :thumbup:

    Luis Carlos
     
  19. Tony Hill

    Tony Hill Active Member

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    Stunning work.. I'm a big fan of the lathe for all sorts of jobs!
     
  20. Builder 2010

    Builder 2010 Member

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    Thanks Fellows. The F-22 in 1:32 would be huge! It's a big plane, but it's so elegant that it doesn't look so. The F-35B in 1:32 would be spectacular especially with all those doors that open to work the fan. I would hope withhold too much praise until you see all the stuff I don't do so good.

    Continued work today on the main gear. Instead of the magnet wire included with the Verlinden kit, I substituted black iron wire of these same gauge. It was 0.016" and the holes were a #78 Driil...tiny. Only after I finished them up did I realize that I mounted that brake accumulator thingy upside down. DOH! While I could have ripped it all apart, I spent a lot of time putting on that tricky little "Pipe Clamp" and it would have been a mess to get it off. Only you guys will know this happened. It's also why I was having trouble getting those things to fit properly on the strut. Should have seen it. When something doesn't fit as it's supposed to, it's often "operator error" and not something wrong with the model. BTW: the pipe clamp is made out of "Wine bottle foil", a very handy malleable material to do fine stuff.

    [​IMG]

    Part of my reason to go with the black iron wire was to avoid having to paint it black, but as you can see that rationale is now moot since I have to air brush the structs aluminum and them will have to paint the wire anyway. I could just scrape off the paint and that might be less difficult than painting...we'll see.

    Next, the Verlinden plans called for removing the plastic locking struct and attaching it to the resin strut. This, as I noted yesterday, seemed iffy, especially since the resin strut hhad hinge detail already molded on that was finer than the styrene's. If I wanted to mount the styrene to that I would just be a small round rod butt glued to the resin. If I wanted a stronger joint, I would have to shave off the resin details. I chose a 3rd option...scratch-builded new locking strut out of brass and actually pin it to the resin hinge. It was a good idea in theory. In practice, although I got it done, it was touch and go.

    I first drilled the resin hinge with the 0.021" drilled all the way through and then sliced down the hinge's middle with my fine-toothed razor saw. And then one half promptly cracked off. Resin is very brittle! To make the rods themselves, I found some brass of the correct diameter and then had to make the clevis end. I do this by squashing the end into a vice grip until it's near the final thickness. I then work it the rest of the way with jeweler's files. The saw kerf was 0.012" so I to bring the rod end down to that number. I then used a jeweler's center punch (bought from MicroMark) and then drilled it with the same 0.021" drill.

    [​IMG]

    Since the first strut already lost one-half of the clevis, I could solder the hinge pin into the eye, and trim it to required lengths. To do this delicate soldering I use an American Beauty Resistance Soldering Unit (RSU). The RSU works by passing a low voltage (3 vac) high amperage (50+) current through the pieces of metal which are almost instantly brought to soldering temperature. Of course, the larger the pieces the longer it takes. There's a rheostate to adjust the power for different amounts of metal to be soldered. But the beauty is the Tweezers used to provide this heating. You can clamp the parts together and heat them with one hand. Power to the handpiece is turned on by a foot switch. You hit the switch, heat the joint, apply the solder and then release the switch, but you don't let go of the tweezers until it's cooled.

    [​IMG]

    I needed to solder the lugs that comprised the lock link's hinge point. I used some small brass tubing for this part that was the correct diameter. I made a miniature lap-joint in the two parts by filing gaps in both so they almost overlapped completely. I left the tubing long, solder it, cut off the excess and then file it to proper thickness. Another plastic part attaches to the middle joint and that won't be replaced with brass (unless I have to).

    [​IMG]

    In the above, both lugs were in place in the second strut. This one broke a lug also when I attempted to get the pin through the joint. Good ole' CA got them both glued solidly. Here's both struts completed.

    [​IMG]

    And here's the new strut compared to the plastic one. I tried the gear into the plastic mounting plate and they fit properly.

    [​IMG]

    And with this, this assembly too went into the little box with all the other add-ins. I'll start working on the flight deck and forward compartment next session.
     
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