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1/350 3D Printed B-17C

I‘m glad to present our readers with a subject in a new media that could expand our hobby in many ways. These are B-17’s in 1/350 and 1/700 scale from a 3D printer. I was impressed the moment I opened the box. Each aircraft is carefully packed in bubble wrap and comes in a very colorful box. Each model has a semi-transparent resin look. Unlike regular resin, the 3D media is considerable stronger and non brittle. There is no flash or pouring blocks to cut and clean.

The 3D printing process is done in layers, so there is a sort of texture that at first glance might look like finger prints on the model. I chose to remove this print marks by using wet sanding with 600 grit sandpaper and then buffered the models with 1000 grit wet sandpaper. Except for the 1/700 OD Green B-17, the other 2 were painted using Alclad 2 Duraluminum ALC 102.

The kits does not include decals. The ones on my samples came from my spare box. I have some 1/350 scale allied stars from some aircraft included on my 1/350 Trumpeter USS Nimitz that I wont be using. If you build 1/350 scale models, chances are that you will have these decals available.

barbed-wire-division

Where do these models come from?

Well, a few weeks ago I did give a hint on this post. I did contact the eBay seller I was referring too and got a timely response from Jack and Linda Kellbach in Ohio.
Here is what Linda told me:

”As noted before, these models were initially created by Jack to fill gaps in his own collection and are secondarily being offered to others interested in aircraft in this scale. We believed that while there may not be a large audience for these, we were sure that there must be at least a few others that shared his “disease” and wanted to offer them as a way to help defer the development costs and allow us to create new models.

You had also asked about decals. While the models that we’re currently offering don’t have decals included (most of the 1/700 and 1/350 scale hobbyists generally have stashes of decal sheets of national insignias and other basic markings from their previous purchases of other kits offered by the majors), we do indeed have plans to offer decals for these that include unit and squadron markings. Of course, these likely won’t be produced by Cartograf given the relatively small production numbers.

One of the more interesting aspects of the enterprise to date has been our ability to produce relatively large sets of aircraft for some customers on demand as is the case with an individual who’s purchased 25 aircraft at a time of several different bomber types. Our turnaround on special orders like this can be less than three weeks and we’ll typically include customized packaging as part of the deal.”

Here is a current list of  World War 2 aircraft models produced exclusively via the 3D printing process. Included are the following models in both, 1/700 and 1/350 scale:

Current List of Models / Click to hide after reading -»

  • B-17C/D
  • B-17E (Early)
  • B-17E (Late Sperry Ball Turret)
  • B-17F
  • B-17G
  • Mighty Eighth B-17s Set
  • Pacific B-17s Set
  • Avro Lancaster
  • Ilyushin Il-4
  • Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik (Early 2-Seater)
  • Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik (Late Arrow Wing)
  • Petlyakov Pe-2
  • WW2 Soviet Bombers Set
  • Lavochkin La-5F
  • Yakovlev Yak-7B
  • Yakovlev Yak-9 (Early)
  • Dornier Do-17Z
  • Junkers Ju-87A (Early Model Stuka)

*Note that the 1/350 scale models are offered in both, landing gear down and retracted modes.

From the 1/700 B-17C/D Auction / Click to hide after reading -»

Although the “G” model was previously offered as an injection molded model by Pitroad and in resin by White Ensign and HP Models, to our knowledge the C/D versions have never been covered. Unfortunately, production of even famous aircraft like the B-17 (particularly in 1/700 scale!) are just too costly given the relatively small size of the audience and the other kits are now out of production and are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

We think that these beauties easily rival (and probably exceed) the quality of comparable WEM resin and Pitroad white metal products but we’ve posted some high resolution photos so you can judge for yourself. Note the 1″ yellow squares on the table surface included for scale reference. The wingspan measures just over 1-3/4″.

While the surfaces are not perfectly smooth (3D printing is done in layers), the plastic used can be sanded and painted much the same way you would handle resin or styrene. The models may still have some oil-like agent on them that needs to be removed by washing in warm water with a drop of detergent in it.

While the landing gear is represented in the retracted in-flight position, it should be fairly straight forward to add photo etch parts for a “gear down” rendition, perfect for an air base diorama.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

These models have been a nice addition to my 1/350 and 1/700 scale subjects. It requires some elbow grease prior to painting them but it was worth it. They are nice representation of the real aircraft for the scale. It is also quite evident the potential this new technology can offer to our hobby.

My most sincere thanks to Linda and Jack Kellbach for their prompt response and willingness to provide with these samples. I wish you both the best in your endeavors.

If you want to check what’s available besides the list above, look for Ebay seller Soxfox2. I just noticed that the product list is growing.

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George Collazo
George Collazo
George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.
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