This collectible B-17 represents one of the iconic aircraft of World War II, Boeing's Flying Fortress. Painstakingly built from Philippine mahogany by our skilled craftsmen with a wealth of detail, this 1/54-scale model B-17G, the definitive version of the Flying Fortress - makes a great gift for any pilot, aviation buff or history fan.
The B-17 was not the fastest, highest-flying bomber of World War II, not did it carry the largest bomb load. What it could do, and proved it time after time, was take astonishing amounts of damage and return its crew home. While the Flying Fortress served in every theater of the war, it is the missions over Europe that brought the four-engine Boeing lasting fame.
The history of the B-17 dates back to 1934, when the Army Air Corps began seeking a replacement for the twin-engine Martin B-10. Boeing developed a four-engine model based on the XB-15 and its Boeing 247 airliner. Competition for the contract came from the Douglas DB-1 and the Martin Model 146, both twin-engine designs.
Boeing's Model 299 showed dazzling performance for the time, flying from Seattle to Dayton, Ohio's Wright Field at an average speed of 235 mph, comparable to fighters of the day. At Wright Field, Army officials set to determine the B-10's replacement with a fly-off between the three contenders. On Oct. 30, 1935, Maj. Ployer Peter Hill, an Air Corps test pilot, along with Boeing test pilot Les Tower took off for an evaluation flight. However, a gust lock had been left on the aircraft, causing a crash on takeoff that killed Hill and Tower.
The Model 299 did not complete the evaluation and Army officials ordered Douglas B-18 Bolos as the B-10's replacement. Top Army officials were impressed with the Boeing's performance, and ordered 13 YB-17s in 1936 for further evaluation.
By November 1941, orders had totaled 155 aircraft, but production would soon accelerate. By war's end, more than 12,000 B-17s would be produced.
The first B-17s to see combat was the B-17C, with each design iteration adding more power or weaponry. The final version, the B-17G included a chin turret to help defend against head-on attacks, an area in which the bombers were especially vulnerable.
The B-17 was 74 feet long, with a wingspan of 103 feet, and was powered by four Wright R-1820 cyclone engines of 1,200 horsepower each. Top speed was 287 mph, with a maximum range of 2,000 miles with a 6,000-lb. bomb load. Later models of the B-17 bristled with .50-caliber machine guns, several in powered turrets.