The Wright R-1820-97 engines are quite well detailed – the turbo super-chargers look nice with good hollowed-out piping and they look accurate. Less impressive are the cylinder heads on the engine fronts – they lack definition and while detail is moulded in this will need careful weathering with washes to make it stand out and look really impressive. The Hamilton Standard hydramatic propeller blades are a good shape that compare well with the photos; additionally company decals are supplied on the decal sheet – but more of that later.
Open cowl flaps are available but not an option for these to be closed – I don’t this is too much of a problem given that many B-17s can be seen parked with their flaps open. The trailing edges of the moulded cowl flaps are quite thin although will still benefit from thinning further.
Ignition wiring on the front of each engine seems is absent and is a feature of the engine and it’s a shame that HKM didn’t include this on their photo-etched fret – given the price of the kit.
The tyres come slightly weighted and I like that, saves having to buy aftermarket items – to just sand flats on tyres of this size wouldn’t look too realistic, so it’s good that a weighted look is standard. The diamond tread-pattern is there too – most wartime B-17s seem to have had this non-skid variety; it has to be said that the raised detail is very obvious and will probably benefit from reducing or maybe even re-scribing – over to you to choose!
The legs and undercarriage structure looks pretty good and quite sturdy, although I’m sure that it won’t be long before Ross does his thing and releases white metal replacement in the SAC range.
Take a look at the kit items and to me the detail looks to be very ‘soft’ and not well defined so to me these would have to go in favour of metal replacements from Master Model – simple the best and an essential additional purchase for a model like this in this large scale given what’s supplied.
These look good, nice and clear with no obvious defects and let’s hope that they fit together well into their respective fuselage locations.
Decals, instructions and painting guide
Ok, let’s start with the instructions – these are a 20-page booklet that shows pretty clearly where the parts are located – Les will have much more to say about this when he carries out the build. As suggested on the front of the booklet, you’ll probably have your own views and approach for how to tackle this large model. Tamiya and GSI Mr Colour paint numbers and references are given.
Painting guide – this is pretty poor really, in black and white and doesn’t even tell you what the single aircraft featured on the decal sheet is, so you are left to trawl through your references for info on “Milk Wagon”. I don’t think that there’s any excuse for this really as the information must have been to hand during the R&D phase by HKM.
Decals – it may be me, but I was expecting ‘A Bit O Lace’ – wrong, that’s not an option, just the one “Milk Wagon” on offer. Luckily we already have some aftermarket sheets starting to appear and a couple of these are already in your Here Now – Decals area and I steer you to Kits World for these.
Decal quality of the kit sheet again looks questionable – in their previous B-25 Mitchell kit the decals were simply unusable for all the reasons we covered at the time in our Here Now review and full build in Finished Now. The decals this time look thick, and glossy with coverage extremely restricted – very few stencils – just prop logos and one or two other small items.
HKM has given some thought to where on earth you are going to keep your finished model and has included a wall mounting – well it’s different to say the least and you can decide if this is the way to go to display your model.
To sum up
Well, this is one of the longest Here Now kit reviews in SMN and for the biggest model for sure, so in summary this is what I think. Sure, it’s great to have a large 1:32 scale B-17G and I paid about £240.00 GBP for mine and on balance this is a decent enough package. Real highlights are the surface detail; cockpit and bomb bay detailing but on the down side are: soft moulding on the engine cylinders and guns; lack of additional PE; poor painting guide and decal sheet. I think that models like this one are really pushing the ceiling on what constitutes a great model package and I think HKM doesn’t quite make it for me with this one.
It’s pretty good, certainly the most detailed in any scale and you can’t fault that, but the negative points I’ve highlighted above take the shine off when you consider how much it’s cost. I think that at this price point there should be multiple decal options included and from a manufacturer / partner at the top of its game – there are many out there. The same goes for the photo-etch (PE), at least an extensive array of items should be in here and yet all we have are some small grills and a couple of seat harnesses. A full colour and informative painting guide is a must-expect in a package like this.
If the B-17F and Avro Lancaster appear in due course I would hope that the issues highlighted here are acted on without any price increase – that’s the least we should expect.
SMN Quick summary Star rating out of 5
|FEATURE||STAR RATING (out of five)|
|Quality of moulding||***/****|