The B-17E (299-O) was an extensive redesign of that used in previous models up to the B-17D. The most obvious change was a redesigned vertical stabilizer, originally developed for the Boeing 307 by George S. Schairer. The new fin had a distinctive shape for the time, with the other end of the fuselage retaining the well-framed, ten panel bombardier’s nose glazing from the B-series design.
Because experience had shown that the plane would be vulnerable to attack from behind, both a tail gunner’s position and powered fully traversable dorsal turret behind the cockpit, each armed with a pair of “light-barrel” Browning AN/M2 .50 cal. machine guns, were added to the B-17E design. Until this modification, crews had had to devise elaborate maneuvers to deal with a direct attack from behind, including jerking the aircraft laterally, allowing the waist gunners to alternate shots at enemy fighters.
The configuration with 3-window box would also appear on the B-29, and also adopted by Soviet bombers as late as the Tupolev Tu-16 Badger, and in different form on the B-52. The teardrop-shaped sliding panels of the waist gunners were replaced by larger rectangular windows, directly across the fuselage from each other, for better visibility. In the initial fifth of the production run, the ventral bathtub gun emplacement of the C and D versions was replaced by a remote-sighted Bendix turret, very similar to the unit placed on the B-25B Mitchell medium bomber of the same period, which proved to be a disappointment in usability, resulting in the remaining E-series aircraft being fitted with a Sperry ball turret, to be used for all succeeding B-17 versions.
The new 1/72 Academy B-17E Flying Fortress ‘Pacific Theater’ theme is the latest iteration from Academy if this model kit. As with other Academy Limited Editions, the B-17E Pacific Theater features 4 different markings and the decal sheet also as usual is printed by Cartograf.
The tooling has been standing quite well the test of time. There is no flash o heavy mold lines on this model kit. The clear parts are quite transparent with no injection flow marks to write home about. The panel lines are receded and in comparison with the B-17 in the same scale from Revell, these lines are more subtle on the Academy counterpart. Academy is the only one I know of [correct me if I’m wrong] with a B-17 ‘E’ version in 1/72 and I believe in also that there’s no E version in 1/48th scale either.
The cockpit area is is very scarce but personally I don’t mind it that much because everything in there will be almost non-visible. In this regard -the cockpit- and although not the same version, Revell’s 1/72 B-17G is better appointed. The fuselage halves go together nicely as well as the wings. The rear tail gun area is molded in clear. I like the fact that the turbo charges are molded separately. This will ease painting and weathering in the area. The bomb bay comes with positionable bomb doors.