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1/144 B-17

What If Burt Rutan Was Chief Designer

by Steve 'Buster' Keeton


Silly Week 2006

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If Burt Rutan was the chief designer for the B-17 just prior to the outbreak of World War II, would this be the outcome? I had come across this picture that an unknown artist had put out on the Internet and I said "What If?"  Can we do it? Yes we can!!!  

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This is the 1/144 scale B-17 "Bit O'Lace" from the Minicraft kit form the year 2001. As can be seen this kit was built out of box with a few modifications.  The kit wheels were not detailed at all.  So they were replaced by a set of 1/72 F-18 Hornet wheels from the spares box.  The kit .50 cal machine guns were all replace by thin steel wire. The nose gear was scratch build with paper clip wire and rod styrene.  The front canards were the original tail planes and they were secured each with a small rod drilled into the body.  The rear wing was the original main wings.  They fit just nicely into the holes where the tail planes would have fit.  A little putty and a little sanding cleaned up the joint.

The waist gunner positions were closed up and a new waist gunner positions were moved forward about 1/2 inch. The plane was airbrushed with Model Master Light Sea Gray on the bottom and with Olive Drab on the top and sides.  The engine nacelles and wing tips were painted with gloss red.  The wheels were painted flat black and then given a quick wash with thinned down flat black.

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The kit decals were used and repositioned as needed. They were placed on the kit using a small brush on of Future Floor Wax where the decal was to be positioned. Finally the entire plane was given a flat coat of clear.

Now let's see what I can do for my next "What If" project?


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Photos and text by Steve Keeton

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