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Revell 1/48 Visible B-17G Flying Fortress Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2008 Manufacturer Revell
Subject Visible B-17G Flying Fortress Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5614 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Great to see this version of the kit available again. Pro Modeler Cheyenne turret also included Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $31.95

First Look


If you'd like to read the historical summary of this fine aircraft, check out the (non-visible) B-17G review ( here).

It is fantastic to see this kit back on the streets once again! Revell has reissued the 'visible' B-17G after decades off the market, and at an MSRP of only $2 USD higher than the non-visible kit! Wow!

In fact, this release IS the non-visible kit, complete with both non-visible fuselage halves. The complete B-17G kit is in the box. What is different is one additional left fuselage half, shot through the same molded in clear styrene.

If you've built this kit, or at least fondled the plastic, you've no-doubt wondered why on earth this kit has a detailed bomb bay, radio compartment, and other areas of the aircraft where you can't see in the standard kit. The answer is simple enough - that is all there for the visible kit. Now you can show off your interior detailing once again without paying collector's prices!

This kit is presented on six parts trees. Five of the trees are molded in gray styrene and comprise most of the airframe exterior and many of the interior compartment bulkheads. The fifth tree contains all of the clear transparencies for all of the windows and turrets on this aircraft. The clear fuselage half is provided as well. Note that the images to the right are from the 'standard' B-17G kit with the exception to the clear fuselage half and the 'exta' parts three immediately below it. All of the non-clear parts in the 'visible' release are gray styrene.

What is also interesting about this release is that 'extra' parts tree that previously appeared in the 'Pro Modeler' release of this kit. These extra parts provide the Cheyenne turret alternative for the tail gun (not mentioned in the instructions) as well as the parts for detailing the waist gun positions, including gunner figures.

Construction naturally begins with the aircraft interior. The main floor provides the structure for the cockpit and the nose compartments. The flight deck is nicely appointed with many details that will be difficult to see after the fuselage is closed up. The nose compartment houses the navigator and bombardier who, in the late B-17F and B-17G, also operated the chin turret.

The detailing in here is not bad, though a few details are omitted. Because you can see fairly well into the nose after assembly, the AMS modeler will want to add the circular fairing/chin gun access panel, add the ammo cans and belts for the 50 calibers on either side of the nose, add the parachute rack for the bombardier and navigator (you couldn't wear parachutes in there), and open up the crawlway that leads to the nose entry hatch and back into the cockpit.

The radio operator's compartment is visible now through the clear fuselage. This compartment is also nicely detailed and will look great painted up. The kit also features a bomb bay complete with bombs and bomb racks.

The tail gunner's position is reasonably detailed and represents the standard tail gun position from the B-17E through mid-production B-17Gs. The dorsal turret and ventral ball turret are also nicely done. Where the opportunity for improvement exists in this kit is at the waist gunners' positions and these are the two largest windows in the aircraft. There is nice rib and stringer detail molded into the insides of the fuselage so the hard work is done. You will need ammo cans, ammo belts to the guns, gun mounts, O2 hoses/regulators, and most importantly - the plywood walkway to keep your feet off of the aircraft's aluminum skin.

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • B-17G-40-BO, 42-97058, 360 BS/303 BG(H), BN-V, Triangle C, 'Scorchy II'
  • B-17G-25-VE, 42-38083, 322 BS/91 BG(H)/1 AD, 8th AF, LG-V, Triangle A, 'Man O War II'

As I said earlier in this review and in the previous review of the non-visible release of this kit ( here), this kit is a bargain. With the re-release of the Visible B-17 again, we have the opportunity to show off the interior. Don't procrastinate however, this is likely a limited release of this kit and we won't be seeing these again, especially at these prices, anytime soon.