1/48 Monogram B-17G diorama Part 2
“Little Patches” from the 91st BG/401st BS
by Todd Perry
Weathering and flak damage was the next step and included a mixture of plastic thinning, dry brushing, chalks, and paint washes to achieve a natural, realistic appearance. Antennas, lights, turbo chargers, and landing gear were added to complete the aircraft.
Constructed from an old kitchen, this solid oak display base measures 32” x 34” and is self-supporting if necessary by adding legs which mount under display base. Woodland Scenics provides excellent artificial surfaces such as grasses, dirt, rock, trees, and bushes. With these products I was able to re-create the hardstand of Little Patches to the actual scale and likeness as the actual area around Bassingbourn, England in 1944/45. This diorama is an exact replica (re-created from actual photos) of “Little Patches” hardstand as it was during the war. Line shack (utility shed) is scratch built from balsa wood and weathered. Also includes fully detailed interior which includes, bunk beds, work bench, old metal stove, grinder, vise, broom, shovel, coffee pot, wood floor, and a tin roof also weathered for accurate appearance. I also added a switched 6-volt light inside the shack to illuminate interior, with a glass ½ roof to see inside. The fence is also scratch built as well as the horse drawn dump rake, constructed from spare parts, wire, and thread (harnesses). Information for this horse drawn dump rake was sent to me from a fellow in England, who went to his local museum and gathered info and photos for my project and sent them to me. All 1/48-scale figures of farmer, ground crew, and crewman are originally Verlinden figures with some modifications for proper poses. As a final addition to the diorama a 1/48 scale Bandai Jeep was used as well as a generator cart from Monograms 1/48 WWII airfield accessories. The generators were used as soon as the bombers landed to keep the batteries and electronics fully charged for the next mission.
I had previously obtained a photo of Little Patches parked in its hardstand, and was my goal to recreate it exactly like the photo taken in 1944. Also added was a fence and wheat field adjacent to her hardstand. This also raised a challenge of building farm machinery common to the area. A gentle man in England sent me some photos of machinery, one of which included an old horse drawn dump rake, which I created from balsa, spare parts, wire, and some thread. This was added to the wheat field as well as wheat bundles for realism.
Bernie Rogers, a former ground crewman with little patches sent me a scaled detailed drawing of the line shack (maintenance shed) inside and exterior, as well as photos. This enabled me to scale an exact replica of the line shack from balsa wood. Detail also included a fully stocked interior, complete with bunk beds, workbench, wood burning stove & chimney, vise, table grinder, fire extinguisher, broom, shovels, and toolbox. Actual scale tin was used for part of the roof; glass was used for viewing purposes on opposite side. A 6-volt battery operated light allows you to see details in the line shack. After shack was completed it was weathered to conditions standard and attached to diorama.
The aircraft was then attached to the base, including a Bandai 1/48 scale jeep and a total of 15 scale figures painted and positioned to bring this diorama to a life-like setting. A full B-17 crew is present, including ground crewman, a farmer and his dog, and photographer.
Little Patches has
captured a very special time in our world’s history, as well as the young men
who flew in these aircraft to preserve and protect our great nation at a time of
turmoil…this is dedicated to them.
I really enjoyed this kit a lot and found it very challenging by
researching and studying photos and prints of this B-17G and incorporating them
into extra detail and accuracy for this plane I was depicting. Also would
recommend for anyone (even children) looking for their first big aircraft, as an
“out of box” kit it is very well presented and construction is rather simple
and well drawn out in the instruction sheets, but for others, such as myself who
were after a little more detail, it offers countless areas and items that can
easily be re-worked and updated! Skill rating on this kit is a two or three
which can easily turn into a more experienced level four or five with the help
of detail sets and a lot of scratch building, it all depends on what your after
in the finished product. This has been one of my favorite kits to build and even
has inspired me to begin looking at another B-17 in the near future!
Squadron/signal publications (#16) Walk Around B-17 Flying fortress,
Squadron/signal publications (#63) B-17 In Action, Squadron/signal publications
(#6561) Fighting Colors “B-17 Flying Fortress” in color, Plane Names &
Fancy Noses (The 91st Bomb Group (HEAVY) by: Ray Bowden. A lot of extra research
was done on the web and web sites covering this aircraft and the 91st BG.
B.L. Deyerle(flew first mission in Little Patches), Ray Bowden, Paul Henritzy (navigator/ Little Patches), Sue & George Shook, Ken Rowley (father was co-pilot/ Little Patches), Wally Foreman, Joe Harlick, Ken Ingignoli , Mike Banta, Paul Chryst, Sam Harris(radio operator /Little Patches), Leonard Contreras, George Parks(original crewman/Little Patches), Jack Paget, George Fredrickson (bombardier /Little Patches), Harold “Hal” Johnson(co-pilot /Little Patches), Sam Newton ( crew /Little Patches),Bernie Rogers (ground crewman/ Little Patches), Steve & Allison Pena (Curators/Tower Museum, England, and to many others, who’s help and dedication to this project made it possible.
My project now having
been completed… I am spending more time involved in finishing “Little
Patches” research, and contacting new leads that might provide additional
information on her as well as finding new veterans that once served among her
thin walls! New photos of little patches are still coming in occasionally, and a
lot more hopefully will be found that have not been shared since the war. This
is extremely important area to me, as this is what keeps the memories and
stories alive and available for future generation to enjoy, as we enter an era
that soon will be lost of our entire serviceman and woman who protected and
fought for our freedom. These men and woman need to be remembered and their
These awards are very special to me, as I have long awaited the achievement of “Best of Show” plaque at many shows. This is a very difficult award to obtain for modelers and one that is cherished once received. A lot of hard work went into this project, and now having won these 3 awards in just a short time leads me to believe I have finally created something special that I want to share with the public, and they would like to see. During the past few months I have received numerous complements on my achievement, and also many modelers that insist I take “little patches” to the IPMS Nationals show in Virginia beach this year to get some exposure and to share with such large attendance to this event. Modelers dream of having something special to show at the IPMS National Show, and now with the research and time spent on this project, I among others…believe I have a model that would have a good chance of placing at Nationals. Fine Scale Modeler, and also Modeling Madness have also inquired to me for reviews and photos of Little Patches for their magazine and website.
The IPMS National Show
would be a dream come true for me as I have thought about it many times, and
hoped one day that I could attend and compete along with the worlds best
modelers. Little patches has opened a whole new level of model building to me,
and a finished diorama that I would be proud to be able to show at such a
prestigious event. My goal is to be able to take Little Patches to Virginia
Beach, Virginia and compete in this years IPMS Nationals on July 31 through
August 3rd, 2002.
To finish Part 2 of this article, I thought you'd enjoy hearing about my recent meeting with George Fredrickson, the bombardier on "Little Patches" in 1944.
May 25, 2002 was a very exciting day for me, as a few years earlier George Fredrickson(WW2 Veteran/crewman: assigned to little patches in 1944 as Bombardier) invited me to see him at his ranch in Concordia, Kansas when I completed my "LITTLE PATCHES" diorama (explained more in part 1)...well the day finally came ...and we arrived around noon.
George was very excited to meet me and see my long awaited project. We were warmly welcomed and treated like family! We all introduced ourselves and George and I began going through my photo album/scrapbook of the B-17G "Llittle Patches" Ser#42-31678. I had started compiling my scrapbook a few years earlier and kept up to date throughout my project whenever something new came my way! George was astonished by the amount of actual photo's and information about his aircraft ,many of which he had never seen before!
We talked for an hour or so and then George and his wife Wanda insisted they take us out for a late lunch in town.
To our surprise George had arranged a meeting at the Concordia, Kansas museum...so everyone could meet us and see the model of "Little Patches" that George had been assigned to in the war. It was a very special time, as we got to meet the museum curator as well as alot of George's friends, as well as a few new people who were in town to look through the museum and also received a bit of an old history report on a very special man and his plane!
George also autographed my personal crew photo and then we picked out photo's that George wanted copies for himself as a few he had were very bad copies, and the high quality photos really pleased him! It also was a deeply moving day as there were many times throughout the day George got a little emotional by photos, the model and sharing memories with me. This also upset me in a way as I was not there to stir up bad memories, but help share with others what men just like George Fredrickson went through to keep freedom alive. I also presented George with a very special plaque which included actual photos of the diorama as well as actual photos and group insignia and also a squadron patch....one of which he did not have yet.
Our meeting was special and George hated to see us go, but I promised George and his wife, I would return and visit more with them during this summer (2002), which I plan to do again in the next few weeks in July 2002 as he only lives about 2 1/2 hours from my house.
This was what this project was all about.......for George and all the other men who were there and fought through horrible conditions at times, but yet always went back when called.....they are what inspired this diorama of a B-17G named "Little Patches"
Thanks George & Wanda Fredrickson
Photos and text © by Todd Perry