1/32 Verlinden- B-17F Flying Fortress

"Waist Gunner Down!"

Gallery Article by H. Davis Gandees on Oct 6 2020



This kit has been in my stash since I purchased it at the Atlanta IPMS Convention in 2005 for $35, now over $100 if you can find one. Like most dioramas, it captures a split second in time of an event, better I think than a photograph. With his sculptured figures, Francios Verlinden perfectly captured an event in the subfreezing cold, hostile skies over Germany. A piece of flak or bullet fragment struck the gunner in the head and his stunned co-gunner has come to assist. 

Spent .50 rounds on the floorboards indicate the gunner has fired at an enemy aircraft and 2 kill crosses under his waist gun window testifies he is good at his craft. 

Events like this happened hundreds of times during the 8th Air Force bombing campaign against Nazi Germany during WWII.

Records show 8th AF gunners shot down more German aircraft than the fighter pilots. There were several 5 kill aces, one with 9.
8th Air Force Aerial Gunnery Record
6259 Destroyed
1836 Probable
3210 Damaged

Click on images below to see larger images

So, this vignette is a tribute to all the WWII aerial gunners and their instructors. There is a 30-minute WWII training film shown occasionally on late night TV, “Rear Gunner” with Ronald Reagan and Burgess Meredith that shows how the aerial gunners were trained. Lots of propaganda, but it was 1943! Watch for it.

The model was a pleasure to build although I have little experience with resin, but I did know to wash all the parts to remove the release wax residue that doesn’t take paint well. Also, wear a dusk mask when sanding/grinding as the resin dust is unhealthy to breathe. The figures are separate heads, torsos, arms and legs and a flak apron for one gunner. They were painted with Testors paint and given a final flat coat. The floorboards were warped and uneven in thickness, so I made new ones from sheet styrene. Also, the waist window sliding hatch rail was replaced with styrene L-channel and a clear window fitted. The B-17F interior was natural metal aft of the radio compartment and the floorboards were rubber covered. Tamiya Silver leaf and Semi-gloss Black paint was used. The M2 Browning .50 was made up of 11 delicate parts. The yoke mount sprang from my tweezers never to be seen again, so a new one was made. 

The barrel was drilled out and the gun painted with Gunmetal and enhanced with powdered graphite. The fuselage exterior was painted with Tamiya USAAF Olive Drab and a national insignia and kill markings were sourced from the decal scrap box and finished with a final flat coat. While searching for decals, I came across the decal of Rita Hayworth (from the “Look, No Hands”, P-47 sheet) a must have pinup, that was mounted over the waist window. Wanting to add a finishing touch, I found 25-lathe turned .50 rounds by Master-Model of Poland online. They were dipped in clear lacquer and picked up and positioned with a toothpick on the floorboards. The vignette is mounted on a walnut base and a brass data plate will be mounted. Verlinden Products appears to be out of business, but I highly recommend their beautifully sculpted kits that can still be found. 

H. Davis Gandees

Photos and text © by H. Davis Gandees