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Jessie The Jeep

My B-17G 'Hang The Expense' is now grounded, and heading for a museum.

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January 16th. The four ply discs have all had two thick coats of grey cellulose primer painted on. They need to harden off overnight before a sand and further coats of primer to get rid of the worst of the wood grain.

 

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A further thin ring has been added to the front of the crank case, again based on the details that are on the 1/12 scale kit.

 

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A few more small lumps and bumps have been added to the crankcases.

 

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and the bolts around the edge of the crankcase had holes drilled for them and the bolts screwed in place before the whole thing was given another coat of primer. A few small corners proved difficult to sand, so these may just be filled with some thick primer carefully brushed into place.

 

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All four crrankcases are now pretty much ready for assembly to the cylinders. I need to mark out a jig to align all the nine cylinders around the crankcase, and also mark where the pushrod tubes need to go. Once the cylinders are glued on, I can then look to adding the ignition harness and spark plugs.

 

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January 17th, after painting the ply discs with primer again, I marked out a building jig for the cylinders. The 1/4 inch MDF has a small servo screw at the centre, screwed in from the rear, which holds the crankcase at its centre point. A second screw locks the crankcase in place and stops accidental rotation. The circle was divided into nine, and centrelines drawn. A cylinder was then marked with a centre line, and placed over the baseboard in the correct position. The top was then drawn around to mark its position. This was repeated for the other eight cylinder positions.

 

The MDF was then given several coats of release wax before the first crankcase was fastened on. The bases of all the cylinders were then sanded to key them before gluing. A small amount of green Zap was added to the mounting flange, before placing in position and applying a little kicker. Once it had taken hold, a little more Zap was added each side of the mounting flange for additional strength. The remaining gap would be filled with a small fillet of polyester filler.

 

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Woo Hoo! The first engine is unscrewed from the jig and looks great.

 

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It wasn't too long before the other three engines were assembled and brought inside for a photo.

 

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Filling around the bases of the cylinders was quite a long job. I wanted to avoid sanding, so the amount of filler applied was limited, and carefully blended around the base with a wet finger. Once dry, any low spots were gone over again. A little tidying was done with the minidrill and a round burr.

 

Once that was done, out came the primer again, and the cylinders were painted. It took a surprising amount of paint to do all the fins, but they look great now.

 

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Fantastic work! Great skill as well as patience. It sounds like it's going to a good home and will be enjoyed by many people for a long time to come. Well done.

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What another great example of the real skill and craftsmanship there exists out there. whether in 1:1, 1:6: 1:35 etc

 

I just love to see the work that people are prepared and able to do, I just wish I had a 1/10 of the skill and patience.

 

I look forward to seeing more of this build and the final product take its place in the museum.

 

Well done:saluting:

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so now I have little interest in going back over old ground and challenges

I can empathise with that comment, the times I have been asked to make something for someone when all I want is to move on to the next idea.

 

I look forward to the updates on this thread, you do good work sir, I salute you!:saluting:

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I've been following this on facebook and always am amazed at your skill and dedication. :clap:

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Thanks for the comments everyone. It's been a grand project to be involved with, not just for achievement of building the B-17 in the first place, but also for being able to visit some of the places the real aircraft flew from and to. Also I was young enough when I started it, that some of the air and ground crew were still alive, and I was able to write to them about the model and real aircraft. On our honeymoon, we stayed in Seattle with the wartime pilot's sister, and because her husband was an advisor to Boeing, we got free tours around the Boeing plant and the Museum of Flight. I have copies of some of the navigators mission logs, including the raid to Rjukan in Norway to attack the 'Heavy Water' plant.

 

In September 2001, I took the B-17 to Norway for a model show, and we displayed very close to the 'Heavy Water' plant. The local newspaper made a big thing about the bomber returning to Norway. In a very real way, it did; because in the nose of the model, is a small piece of twisted aluminium recovered from the B-17's crash site at its home base. So 58 years after the original raid, a real piece of 'Hang The Expense' was back on a mission over Norway!

 

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The B-17 flying at sunset in Norway.

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The model has certainly lasted longer than the fullsize. B-17 '035' was delivered to the Army Air Force at the start of September 1943. It was only the forth B-17G built. After theatre modification, it was flown across the Atlantic and delivered to the 100th Bombardment Group. The crew were also assigned to the 100th BG following heavy losses on the Munster mission of October 1943. They flew their first mission at the start of November, and the aircraft was written off in a take off crash on November 26th 1943.

 

They eventually completed their tour in July 1944, by which time they had become a Pathfinder crew, and stayed on flying extra missions until additional Pathfinder crews had been trained. Their last mission was to Schweinfurt, a target that cost the Air Force heavily the year before. It was the Navigators birthday that day, and he said in a letter that finishing his tour was the best birthday present he ever received.

 

January 18th 2012, holes were drilled around all four crankcases for the ends of the pushrods. The holes for the spark plugs were also drilled.

 

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The pushrods themselves are made from 2.5mm mains electrical wire, complete with insulation. The holes in the crankcase are drilled for the copper core of the wire.

 

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Once cut roughly to length, the copper core was pulled out of the insulation. It was then rolled under a piece of wood, to straighten out the various kinks in the copper. It was then replaced into the insulation.

 

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Once trimmed to length, a couple of drops of cyano held the wire in place, and these are the first of 72 pushrods!

 

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Part way through the first engine. Repeating the cutting, straightening and gluing too, took quite some time.

 

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The first engine done, and what a difference it makes!

 

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All four engines with their pushrods, and it only took four and a half hours! Also seen in the red are the beginnings of the ignition harnesses, also from copper mains wire.

 

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Virtually all of January 19th was taken up making the ignition harnesses. To start with, the junction boxes were sanded to the correct length and primed. They were then attached to the cylinder heads with clear silicone.

 

The leads came next, and the master lead which links the ignition ring to the junction box on top of the cylinder head, was the first stage. A small piece of insulation at each end represented the fittings.

 

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All four engines had these first leads added before I then went back and added the short lead from the junction box to the front plug. The hex fitting of the plug was also represented with a small collar of insulation.

 

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Ignition wiring and crankcase painted now, though the ignition ring needs a light spray over in dark grey to tone it down.

 

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The engine cowlings have also had their undersides sprayed grey yesterday. The grey is too light for the correct neutral grey colour, but was done to match the rest of the nacelles. When I first painted the B-17, I mixed the underside grey. After the crash repairs, the mix wasn't as good and dried lighter, leaving the underside a mix of shades. They should be ok with a little weathering which will darken them down.

 

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After a light flat back, the olive drab was sprayed, starting with the demarkation line between the two colours. The paint is Flair Spectrum, or what ever the new name is for that stuff. Having used a lot of Warbirdcolors recently, I'd forgotten how nice the Flair Enamel was, and how far it will go because of the amount of thinning it will take.

 

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Having used both paints on warbirds, my personal favourite is the Flair for giving a more realistic WW2 finish. The Warbirds paint is just a bit too smooth, even and satin for my liking. Slightly out of focus ( oops ), the flow coat has just been finished. After this picture was taken, I curved the olive drab down in a more gentle arc having had a quick look at a photo of the original plane for reference.

 

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This shows all the cowls before the OD paint line was adjusted. I took the picture, then had a niggle in the back of my mind, which is when I went indoors and checked the reference photo. The next stage was to mount the dummy engines to the ply disc, and install that into the cowlings at the correct depth so the propeller clears the front edge of the cowl. I also weighed the engines yesterday, and they each weigh 1 lb 9 oz.

 

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January 22nd was spent stripping down rather than building up. My Jeep and its trailer were pulled out of the garage so that I could get the aircraft trailer doors open. Once inside, I began to strip out the B-17's 3W engines. These will be sold shortly.

 

Here's three bare firewalls. A wooden spacer will be screwed to the firewall to support the ply disc which will be glassed into the cowling. Small screws will then pass through the ply disc and into the spacer, holding the cowl and dummy engine in place.

 

The mission symbols along the fuselage are authentic to the model, and were added after each flight. The red bombs are every fifth mission which makes counting them easier. A dot above the bomb marks the end of a season. The two with the red/white/blue stripes are for the Norway missions.

 

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The sleeping bags pad the outer wing panels and one tailplane during transport. The other tailplane is attached to the rear fuselage as seen in one of the images on page 1 of the thread.

 

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep

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Three of the engines cleaned up of their exterior oil. There are two short 3W-60's and one 3W-40.

 

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The other 3W-40 has been bolted to a test stand. I want to run all four engines and video them for the sale adds, so potential buyers can see them operating, and so I know they do still run.

 

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The engine on the right has now been dirtied down with an overspray of a dilute black/green. This takes the newness off the freshly painted finish.

 

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The ply discs were cut over sized because I didn't know what diameter was needed. The diameter is determined by the depth the engines need to be inset into the cowling so the front of the crankshaft is slightly proud of the front lip of the cowling.

 

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