1/48 Monogram Visible B-17

Gallery Article by Fred Branyan on Feb 2 2021



This 1979 model survived 5 moves. I finally had a reason to build it in late 2019. I discovered the father of a friend I met 52 years ago as a junior at Penn State had photos of the plane on which his father was a radio operator. This is a model of tail number 44-8504, assigned to the 561st Bomb Squadron, 388 Bomb Group in the UK. You can see its history at this website--- http://388bg.com/servlet/Controller?pageType=detail&id=44-8504&dataType=Aircraft

The father of my friend was T/Sgt Aloysius P. Heaney. His crew finished their service on this plane on 8 March 45. It was shot down over Germany on 9 April 45 with the loss of 4 out of 9 crew (only 1 waist gunner).

The plane photos did not show the entire plane, so for details such as OD on the engine nacelles and insignia placement I had to rely on other plane photos on the 388th site. There are a few mistakes with this kit. The ball turret is too low, not sure how that happened, I tried to raise it. The instructions basically have you gluing it in place. I tried to jury rig a method to allow it to turn, it did not work out. The tail guns are off center I should have installed a larger floor in the tail.

Click on images below to see larger images

The model has multiple after market kits from nose to tail plus the engines. I attempted an old and a new Cheyenne turret mod neither worked out. I did use the floor from the old one. I tried to get the waist gun kit no luck. I cut out both waist windows, the R side to install an acetate replacement, the L side to allow a clear view of the R side waist gun. That one and the R cheek gun have ammo belts inside the ammo chutes. I drilled out the vent holes on the engine cowling and intercoolers. I added the blue formation lights per 388 plane photos and the recognition lights per net diagrams. The red passing light beside the L landing light I could not find a photo or diagram of. It was there per research but I am not sure how it was placed. 

All of the non standard decals were done by Stan Cedarleaf. You can reach him at

The oil and exhaust stains, and the intercoolers, were done with pastels using photos of 388 (top of wing) and modern (bottom of wing/intercoolers) photos. This was the first time I used them on gloss paint. Paints were mainly Tamiya chrome and flat aluminum. 

I am including photos to show interior/exterior details, and a few of the actual plane.

I did more research on this kit than any other I have built. If any B 17 builder needs any of it please let me know. Steve has my permission to share my email address. 

Fred Branyan

Click on images below to see larger images

The real plane

The real plane

The real crew

. .

The real crew

SSGT Heaney


Photos and text by Fred Branyan