WingSpan Models 1/9th Scale B-17F


Page 1

By Paul Grubich and Randy Cady

Wingspan Models is now shipping their 1/9 scale B-17 kit and will be building it and showing our progress from box to first flight. Wingspan models is striving to produce a highly detailed scale kit of this plane that includes plans for moving turrets, scale bomb bay and more.

Randy Cady and I are the team on this build with Randy doing the construction. Randy is an expert craftsman and strives for perfection in his building. For my part I am in charge of supplies and watching Randy.

The Wingspan Models 1/9 B-17 is very scale in looks and construction making this a true builders kit. Michael Kramer from Wing Span Models designed this kit over a two year period and has produced a beautiful laser cut kit that any modeler with a few challenging kits under their belt would be very pleased with.

Our construction plans include building a light yet strong framework using four RCV91-CD four cycle engines for power. We are using the RCV91 engines because of their low profile which is perfect for scale in cowl applications, see more about these and all their four cycle's here


Wingspan: ............138"
Length: .................98"
Wing Area: ...........2250sqin
Engines: .......4x - .91~1.2ci 4-stroke glow or 20~30cc gasoline
Servos: .........4-engine, 2-aileron, 2- flaps, 2-elevator, 1-rudder, 1-steering, 2-landing gear

Wingspan Models 1/9th scale B-17 kit planned accessories include:

1. Full fiberglass accessories for 1/9th B-17 wood kit
2. Electronic bomb release system that can release up to 6 bombs.
3. Detailed cockpit kit which includes nose, cockpit and radio compartment.
4. Speed control for powered turret drive system

Also planned are 1/6 scale version and a 1/12 scale version. More information can be found at

As part of this build we are testing our four RCV engines on a flying plane to get them setup for the B-17. We have found that this engine is perfect for a scale bomber project, they run very smooth and have great midrange and low end response, just what you want for a bomber that will fly half throttle at cruise. They are also very small in size and perfect for scale cowls. One more thing we found out, they are very stingy with fuel. We put another name brand 90 sized four cycle on our test plane to compare with the RCV and found it to use much more fuel and fly much less time than the RCV 91.

For a great detailed user review check out Rich Noon's report here. (review courtesy of

Your B-17 construction crew. Randy Cady on the left and your host Paul Grubich on the right. Randy Cady is the main builder and I am the gofor and the getme.

The kit arrived in a large box. Contents were packed very nicely and no damage was found.

A temporary table was set up in the garage to view all the plans and parts. The plans came in long rolled sheets.

Section of plans showing bomb bay and lower turret construction. Package of cigarettes placed to show size. Plans are very clear and precise.

Parts laid out on temporary table for inspection.

This shows an example of a fuselage bulkhead former. Standoffs for alignment should help keep things straight. The laser cutting is perfect.

Wing parts, again laser cutting was perfect.

Randy holds all the extra sheeting and forming wood included in the kit. Randy is one of the best builders I have known and he knows his material; he said the wood included is of the highest quality. All wood was uniform in color and consistency. No bad, hard, warped or otherwise imperfect wood was found at this early first look.


The Build Begins

We start off the build with the elevator. Randy added some lightening holes and a hinge support

The added strip across the elevator hinge area is to give it more support.

Left elevator framed and stab construction started

Right stab and elevator servo placement. JR low profile servo shown. The plans show the servo location inside the fuse for better weight distribution, our location is just personal preference.

Fin and rudder construction underway. Randy hollowed out sections of the rear fin forming block.

View of construction so far

Rudder and fin almost ready to sheet

Finished fin and rudder assembly. This assembly is very lightweight.

View of rudder hinge wire and control arm. The thin wire goes through the two scale hinge arms and is removable to separate rudder from fin for covering.

Main wing spar clamped and glued. This is the front wing spar and will fit into the fuselage main bombay area and secured with steel bolts for flying.

This is one of four formers that make up the bombay area. The wing main spars will slide into a sandwich of two pair of these and bolted with steel bolts for flying.

Fuse is taking shape. You can see how the former standoffs help build a twist free and straight fuse.

Picture shows top fuse from the front taken in low light. A laser light is aimed from front to back on the top formers to assure absolute straight assembly.

The fuse was very straight thanks to the built in former supports. The laser was used to make sure all was ok.

Tail assembly showing the tailwheel former and tray and the main tail servo tray.

Mid fuse section showing bombay area and bombay door servo and linkage. Randy used an aluminum rod with standard nose wheel brackets and arms. There are two arms and brackets, far one is hidden in this photo.

Nose section. Scale floor locations for cockpit and forward gunner and bombardier.

Another view of the mid fuse area showing the bomb compartment and the main sandwich formers for wing mounting.

Randy shows us how the main wing spars will fit into the mid fuse sandwich former guides. Once inserted they are secured with bolts for flying.


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