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  #451  
Old 09-02-2016, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by John Dell View Post
Shane, I'd be very interested in seeing any B-17 blue prints you get. Are you getting them from the Smithsonian? I hear they are very pricey from there.

Here is a couple nice links on the fifth engine test beds. There were two of them and they were officially designated the Boeing 299Z. Some of the engine mounts were pretty ugly, others didn't look too bad.

Boeing 299Z B-17G

History You Can Model: Boeing Model 299Z - the Amazing Five-Motor B-17


I always thought the one from Connecticut should have been restored as a 299Z instead of a B-17G.

And speaking of "Liberty Belle", she will rise, like a Phoenix, from the flames.

Aero Vintage Books

John the ones I'm getting are probably the same. they are from the collection at a museum here who HAD to have all factory blueprints for maintenance of their B-17 up until they sold it. they are all digital formats and when obtained ill let you know.

The gentleman is looking for a nice set of files of the De Havilland DH-88 Comet designed in Pepakura if possible. is their anyone who can make some up for me? ill get them a full copy of the same B-17 blueprints as well as a reward.
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  #452  
Old 09-12-2016, 12:13 PM
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I’ve been making progress on my revisions to B-17F “Tinker Toy”. Doing some more digging I’ve found other very useful photos and information.

At this point it would probably help if I gave a little background history of “Tinker Toy”.

“Tinker Toy” was one of three of the distinctive Lockheed Vega B-17Fs that were among the complement of B-17s initially assigned to the 381st Bomb Group in April 1943. Lockheed Vega B-17Fs differed from those built by Boeing or Douglas. They had the cheek gun nose window placement reversed as well as having the port side window elongated and slightly bulged out. I’ve also noticed from studying photos that these B-17Fs also had oversize national insignia as well as olive drab paint that tended to be on the lighter side. Another unique feature of some of these B-17Fs was a cartoon of a character named Strato Sam that was painted on the port side of the fuselage aft of the radio room. The link below tells the interesting story of the origin of these cartoons. The photo showing Micky Mouse as a gunfighter is actually a photo of the XB-40.

https://rcafno128squadron.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/b-17-and-ventura-art-of-randy-mccraw.pdf

“Tinker Toy” eventually came to be known as a jinx ship in the 381st. She had the grim distinction of bringing back the first dead crewman and seemed to be a magnet for battle damage. Interestingly though, she survived the brutal Schweinfurt/Regensburg mission without a scratch even though the 381st lost eleven B-17s. It was on the October 8th 1943 mission to Bremen, Germany that really cemented her bad reputation. A German fighter attacking the bomber hit it in the cockpit with 20mm cannon shells, decapitating the pilot and wounding the copilot. The cockpit was completely covered in blood and brain matter but the copilot, with the help of the Engineer/Top Turret Gunner flew the plane home, ground looping it on landing. The plane was such a bloody mess that the top turret gunner couldn't stand in his turret without slipping. After this deadly encounter the aircraft was eventually lost less than three months later on the December 20th, 1943 mission to Bremen, Germany. An attacking Bf 109 collided head-on with the plane, killing all but three of the crew. The 381st medical officer wrote that “Tinker Toy” was viewed with a mixture of horror and pride on the base. Also, there was not a single crew which, having flown a mission in “Tinker Toy”, did not have at least one member, and usually more, lost in another bomber in a subsequent mission.

I’ll try tomorrow to go into some more detail as to what I’ve determined about her markings and appearance as well as her movie career.

Thank you Cami for the nice complement. My attention to detail can at times border on the fanatical. Since I was a child, I have always been obsessed with B-17s. I think the photo below well illustrates my obsession. That stack contains every book I have on the B-17 and the units that exclusively used them.

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  #453  
Old 09-12-2016, 04:38 PM
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The least we can say John is that you seem to be pretty well documented!

Cami
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  #454  
Old 09-12-2016, 04:51 PM
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ViperPilot ViperPilot is offline
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John,

I see from your Photo that you have a copy of Flying Fortress by Edward Jablonski; I purchased my Copy from a School Book drive in the 70's, and it is one of the most cherished Books I own. Reading about the Bloody 100th and Robert 'Rosie' Rosenthal was one of the highlights.

Alan
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  #455  
Old 09-12-2016, 05:10 PM
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Texman Texman is offline
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Your not obsessive, or fanatical. You are "detail oriented".
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Respect the Paper, RESPECT IT!
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  #456  
Old 09-12-2016, 08:45 PM
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3Turner 3Turner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Dell View Post
I think the photo below well illustrates my obsession. That stack contains every book I have on the B-17 and the units that exclusively used them.[/SIZE][/FONT]

I'm jealous.....the B-17 is my favorite plane....and I don't nearly have as many books on the B-17 as you do.
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  #457  
Old 09-13-2016, 09:05 AM
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John Dell John Dell is offline
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Yeah, “pretty well documented” is a good way of putting it. The stack would probably grow another foot or so if I included all the books I have on the 8th Air Force. Flying Fortress by Edward Jablonski was my first B-17 book. I received it as a Christmas gift in 1976 so that stack of books has been forty years in the making. Two of the books were published in 1943 and several just came out in the last few years. I frequently check online to see if anything new comes out. A good source for used and out of print books are these two websites…

http://www.abebooks.com/?cm_mmc=ggl-_-US_AbeBooks_Brand-_-Top+Brand-_-abebooks&gclid=CLK2ssnT0rcCFZBj7Aody1IAeA

http://www.alibris.com/?utm_source=criteo&utm_medium=retarget&utm_term=na &utm_campaign=lowerfunnel

I’ve found quite a few gems at decent prices on these sites. One can never have too many books.

Back to “Tinker Toy”. Photographically, “Tinker Toy” was fairly well documented. I’ve found about a dozen pictures of her taken at various times in her career. Unfortunately, all but one were taken from the front. The photo in Claims to Fame is the only one I’ve found that shows the tail. None have surfaced that show the entire aircraft. Below is probably the best known photo of “Tinker Toy”. This was taken right after the grisly October 8th 1943 mission to Bremen. The men are pointing to the entry holes made by the 20mm cannon shells that killed the pilot. You can also see the distinctive Lockheed Vega nose window arrangement. My model represents (to the best of my ability) “Tinker Toy” as she appeared during this mission.



So what I do in a case like this is to look for photos of other B-17s in the same unit. This way I can make an educated guess as to how the various unit markings would have been applied. The 8th Air Force adopted the system of using two letter squadron codes from the RAF. The 381st was the only unit to change their codes early on in their deployment. “Tinker Toy” belonged to the 535th Bomb Squadron whose squadron code initially was “PL”. This was soon changed to “MS”. So when “Tinker Toy” arrived in England in May of 1943, she received the squadron code “PL” and the individual aircraft letter “X” on the rear fuselage in gray paint. The “X” was painted forward of the national insignia, the “PL” aft of the waist gun windows. The national insignia at this point was an insignia blue disk with a white star. These markings didn’t last long. Along with the change to the squadron codes, the national insignia was modified. One either side of the blue disk were added white rectangles and the entire insignia was surrounded in red. Below is the latest version of my kits fuselage showing the painted old painted out codes with the new ones applied.



Studying photos of other 381st B-17s, it seems it was most common to simply paint out the old codes and apply the changes to the national insignia and the new codes, in white, over top. The individual aircraft letter was then only carried on the vertical stabilizer. Also around this time the white triangle with the insignia blue “L” was also applied. Photos I’ve seen also show that the markings within the 381st were applied in varying degrees of quality. Some of them were down right sloppy. I figured since “Tinker Toy” had a tendency to attract battle damage, this down time would of allowed for the new markings to be applied with some care.

When I started the kit I did have photos of both sides of the nose but taken at different times. The port side had the name as well as the mission markers and fighter claims painted on. The photo I had of the starboard side showed just the name. I have since discovered a later photo of the starboard side showing it too had the mission markers and fighter claims. So I updated my kit art.

More tomorrow, thanks for your time.
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  #458  
Old 09-13-2016, 11:24 AM
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Don Boose Don Boose is offline
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Outstanding historical research, as always, John.

I am going to stick with Pacific Fortresses, but I love reading about the ETO and MTO birds.

Don
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  #459  
Old 09-13-2016, 11:52 AM
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Those 5AF guys in the PTO during the Early days of the War really put out an effort, making do with what they had, knowing that the pickings were going to be slim trying to keep aircraft flying, and just finding them in the 1st place.

Colin Kelly, Harl Pease, Jay Zeamer, Weldon Smith, the Cactus AF... major props to them.

Alan
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  #460  
Old 09-14-2016, 08:15 AM
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John Dell John Dell is offline
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That’s OK Don, I’m still working on the Zeamer B-17E.

I previously mentioned “Tinker Toy” had a movie career. As she was on the Lockheed Vega assembly line, she was formed part of the backdrop for signer Deanna Durbin in the film “Hers to Hold”. Even though I am a huge classic movie fan, I have never seen this movie let alone any Deanna Durbin film. So I started doing some digging around the internet. I tried to track down a DVD of the film but I’ve only found English copies that won’t play on U.S. players or they cost too much. Does anyone here have a copy of this film? Eventually I found the “Deanna Durbin Devotees” forum. They have a photo section listing all her films and there were some very interesting photos in the “Hers to Hold” section. See link below.

http://www.deannadurbindevotees.com/t58-hers-to-hold

There are a couple of nice photos of Deanna Durbin posing with B-17s. The one that really interested me was the shot of her smiling up to one of the Strato Sam cartoons I had mentioned. I’ve attached it below alongside an excellent shot of the Lockheed Vega production line. Now I know what that olive drab patch of paint was for.



Unfortunately I have no way of knowing if the B-17 in the photo is “Tinker Toy”. But I would still like to add the cartoon to my model as it does represent a direct link to the history of the aircraft. The big problem is I can’t make out what Strato Sam is saying. So I signed up to join the “Deanna Durbin Devotees” to see if I could get a higher resolution file of the photo. So far I’m still waiting for them to accept me into their fold. I guess I am not worthy. I plan to send them an email spelling out what I’m looking for and why. I’ll let you know if I get a response.
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