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Academy's 1/72 scale
B-17G Flying Fortress

by Peter Kormos


Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress
KG 200


Academy's 1/72 scale B-17G Flying Fortress is available online from Squadron




This is a 1/72 scale Boeing B-17G from Academy.

The subject I chose was a plane that served in Luftwaffe's secret unit, KG200.

Among ordinary German aircraft, this unit operated many different type of captured allied planes such as P-51 Mustangs, P-38 Lightnings, P-47 T-Bolts, etc. and some B-17s as well.

These planes were used for observing allied bomber formations (sometimes attacking wounded planes that fall behind the others), train and develop new tactics against the bombers for German fighter pilots or to drop agents behind enemy lines. The B-17 I selected might have the most interesting camouflage scheme, but almost nothing is known about the origin of the plane. I was lucky to find 2-3 archive photos, but no serial number or US/German code letters were visible on these.





I bought this kit in spring of 2001, and started to work on it almost immediately. After 5 months of work, I couldn't take it any more. As I was progressing with the build, I was facing with more and more problems with the original kit.

I don't remember all the details, but the most noticeable negative points of the model are:

No detail in the gear bays. No firewall, no side walls, one could easily see into the wing cavity.

All clear parts are thick, and distorting badly. To top it, the molding blocks sometimes lean on the exposed areas, making an extra work to sand and polish each.

Fit of the clear parts to the fuselage is really bad, and requires lot of putty and sanding. In it's original form, the wing's dihedral would be too high, and necessitates to insert a spacer between the upper wing-to-fuselage joint.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

In the past 4 years, I kept trying to continue work on the model, but I always suspended it after a few weeks because of the reasons described above.

But about a half year ago, I decided to stop working on my current project, and promised that I won't build anything else until the Fortress is finished. I guess that was a good motivation, hah. :-)

Note: I did not take any in-progress photos until 6 months ago, so unfortunately I cannot show you the work done before that.

After examining the archive photos, I realized, that the original top turret (and the kit provided Cheyenne tail) is wrong for the "early G" version I selected, so I decided to buy another Academy kit, but this time a B-17F version. So I could kitbash the two versions, although it was no problem, except for the usual bad fit issues.

I liked the new tail section a lot, but unfortunately after gluing the halves together, the seam line run right in the middle of the rear view window.



So I had to cut out that window and replace it with clear sheet styrene.

I also realized, that the kit provided, covered main wheels are wrong for me, so I bought a True Details resin wheel set from Squadron. And since I was ordering, I bought a Squadron Vacuum canopy set, too. I read a lot of time, that TD wheels are molded too flat, but after some careful sanding on the sides, I ended up with a pair of tires that pleased my eyes better, and it didn't take more than a minute, or so.

On the exterior, I replaced the navigation lights, made the openings for the air intakes in the wings' leading edges, new gun barrels were created from hypo needles, ignition harnesses were added to engines, elevators cut from stabilizers and repositioned in dropped position, dressed up the turbo superchargers, made new pitot tubes and even added doorhandles to hatches and little patches to cover bullet holes.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

A noteworthy modification to this KG200 version was the deletion of the ball turret. It was a pleasing thing not to use the original parts and blank the big hole on the belly with beer can cut to size.

Over the years, I let myself shy away from vacuum canopies, after always reading: "hard to work with", "easy to screw up, and there's only one" kind of comments on the forum. But this time, I gave a try to the Squardon canopies, and I was super amazed. I was always careful, and it paid off. It was easy to remove the parts from the sheet, easy to sand the excess, and after a dip in Future, I was definitely smiling... So guys, if you think you're not a beginner, but haven't tried it, then just buy one and use it. You won't regret that!

Somewhere in the early stages of construction, I bought an Eduard interior detail set, but somehow I missed the PE set for the gear bays. So I had to sratch build the details there based on my references. Now the bays are quite busy, although some more bits could be added to get closer to reality. I also added a lot of detail to the radio room, and other internal areas, but those are lost forever after the fuselage halves were glued together. After all the seams filled, sanded, covered with Gunze Mr. Surfacer, and sanded, and puttied, and sanded, and puttied, and sanded, I enhanced the exterior surfaces with rivet detail. For that, I used the line drawings of the AJPress B-17 book, and a home made rivet making tool, similar to commercial ones.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:



Painting and Markings


All colors I used for painting were Gunze acrylics, except for the black that was a Tamiya acrylic color. Masking was achieved with a combination of Tamiya tape, artists' masking foil and microscale masking liquid.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Upper surfaces were first painted in olive drab. Then some panels, and bigger components were masked and painted in a mixture of US interior green and olive drab. Then, I used RLM71 dark green to overpaint the original US markings on the supposed locations. The fuselage mottle was painted with RLM65 light blue, and then finally the black was sprayed on to the lower surfaces.

One note about the mottle: After checking the reference photos, I noted that except for the fuselage and part of #2 engine cowling, I couldn't see the mottling on other engine gondolas. So I decided only to apply the mottle to these areas, and not to the wing's upper surfaces as other profiles state.

After a layer of clear varnish, the decals for the swastikas and nose art were applied. All other German national markings were sprayed on with the help of hand cut masks.


I'd like to thank Thomas M. Lore for the help about the model and Sándor Fülöp for checking his copy of Hikoki book (check reference section) for this plane.




Wow, after all those years, finally I finished another B-17 ... being the 3rd Fort in my collection. It was a hard project, but as far as I know, the Hasegawa offering is not any better alternative. I think the biggest challenge about this kit is to detail and paint all 4 engines one after the other. It can burn you out easier than to mask all those little windows. But now I have another Academy kit waiting for to be worked on. Oh my... what have I got into... :-) Anyway, I already know how it would look like: a plane with much cooler camo than this one, but that time in US markings...





  • Squadron/Signal: Strangers in a strange land Vol. 2.

  • Squadron/Signal: B-17 Flying Fortress in action

  • AJPress: B-17 Flying Fortress, ML 90

Note: Although I don't have it, as far as I know Hikoki Publications: "KG200 The Luftwaffe's Most Secret Unit" book has the same photos of this plane as Squadron/Signal: Strangers in a strange land Vol. 2.



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Images and Text Copyright © 2005 by Peter Kormos
Page Created 11 August, 2005
Last Updated 11 August, 2005

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