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Lindberg 1/64 B-17G Flying Fortress Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review October 2011 Manufacturer Lindberg
Subject B-17G Flying Fortress Scale 1/64
Kit Number 75309 Primary Media 96 parts (73 in white styrene, 22 clear styrene, 1 thick mild steel wire)
Pros ONLY injection molded kit in this scale; shapes not bad for its age Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $19.95

First Look

Sundays in our household were pretty consistent: up at 8, off to Sunday School at 9, church at 11, out at 12:05 (our minister was precision incarnate on his sermons) and then off to pick up the Sunday paper on the way home. Our local news store, Gallagher’s, was the first place in town to carry model kits – they stocked the Aurora WWI biplanes and all of the Lindberg kits coming out at the time.

After doing something right (can’t recall what it was – may have been a good report card) my father splurged one Sunday for the Lindberg B-17G kit. This cost a lofty $1.98 at the time, which was not cheap by ‘50s standards, so it was a big deal.

I spent the next six hours putting it together. The kit had a CREW! Gun turrets that WORKED! Landing gear which RETRACTED (if, unlike me, you didn’t get glue on it)! For 1956 it was a great model!

In a fit of nostalgia I picked one up this afternoon at Ollie’s for half price. (Note that there is a “chrome” version of this kit out there as well.) While fairly simplistic by today’s standards, the kit really does hold up reasonably well to my surprise.

True, there are some serious compromises. One of the first things to notice are the crew figures, which at least show leather helmets, goggles and attempts at facial features. The pilots at least sit in seats and the bombardier and his sight are one unit (but no seat!). The upper gunner hangs from his guns and the ball turret gunner simply perches on top of his turret (which looks like an inverted upper turret). Both turrets swivel and the upper guns theoretically elevate.

The other two crew members (there are only 7 out of 10 provided) are the waist gunners, and this variant of the G has even beam windows and guns with no glass.

The wings are pretty straightforward with a moveable aileron in each and a one-piece engine with pin inserted from the back for the propeller (“old school”). Landing gear legs are one-piece approximations with a two-piece main wheel with keeper that theoretically permits rotation as well. A “keeper” holds the landing gear in position so it can hinge for retraction.

The elevators and stabilizer and the rudder all come in halves, and with careful installation each will work as well.

The interior consists of nose compartment and cockpit floors and five transverse bulkheads – bombardier’s compartment, pilots’ compartment, bomb bay front, and bomb bay rear; there is no radio operators’ compartment, details in the gunners’ compartment, or a tail gunner position (it does have the windows and guns though). The tail wheel is “trapped” and rotates to retract. (I faintly recall once it retracts you need a pencil to get it back out, however.)

But that is about it. None of the intake openings in the wings are present, and while the kit has the turbosuperchargers present they are underscale in size. The other major problem is with the windscreen which seems too narrow for the kit – slant is about right unlike the later Revell B-17F in 1/72 but the height is too low. Many other small details are absent.

But for some reason the Lloyd people have included the original design of stand with the kit. This is a big clear styrene disk with an arm and brace and a small fitting with a soft steel wire that fits into a grommet in the belly of the model, permitting it to be posed at any angle. This was Lindberg’s response to the “Revelling” ball stand from what they felt was their main competitor of the day. It permits the model to be built as a reasonably sized (19" wingspan) desk sitter for any B-17 fan which costs a LOT less than the prefinished ones offered today on the market.

One set of markings are included for 42-34083, LG-V, olive drab over neutral grey with a red tail, which should be from the 322nd Bomb Squadron of the 91st Bomb Group. I am willing to bet they are not complete as it comes with mission markings but no name.

Overall this is not in a league with the Monogram/Revell 1/48 kits or the Hasegawa 1/72 ones, but if you want a desk model of a B-17 for less than $150 it fills the bill.

Sprue Layout:

  • ‒ 2 Fuselage
  • ‒ 4 Wings
  • ‒ 12 Main wheels, ailerons, elevator half, bulkheads
  • ‒ 10 Stabilizer half, two engines, two propellers, bulkheads, chin turret
  • ‒ 9 Stabilizer half, two engines, two propellers, landing gear legs
  • ‒ 36 Elevator half, crew, machine guns, tail wheel, details
  • ‒ 19 Clear styrene
  • ‒ 3 Stand
  • ‒ 1 Stand wire