Corgi AA33315 USAAF Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber - 41-24485, 'Memphis Belle', 324th Bombardment Squadron, 91st Bombardment Group, England, 1943 (1:72 Scale)
"Well, I can tell you right now what the problem is. I saw it in your faces last night. I can see it there now. You've been looking at a lot of air lately, and you feel you need a rest. In short, you're feeling sorry for yourselves. Now I don't have a lot of patience with this "What are we fighting for?" stuff. We're in a war, a shooting war. We've got to fight. And some of us have got to die!"
- General Frank Savage, from the feature film "Twelve O'Clock High"
The B-17, arguably World War II's most famous heavy bomber, first flew on July 28, 1935, before a crowd of reporters eager to see Boeing's new bomber take wing. It was dubbed the "Flying Fortress" by the members of the press in attendance because of its (at least for the time) heavy defensive armament. The prototype crashed in October, but because of its impressive speed and handling the US Army Air Corps (USAAC) decided to continue testing anyway. They ordered 13 YB-17s for further evaluation, a decision that would prove momentous in years to come.
The YB-17 had five machine guns, room for 4,800 pounds of bombs and a crew of nine. It had electrically retractable landing gear. After testing the YB-17, an improved prototype, the Y1B-17, was built with Wright Cyclone radial engines. Twelve were delivered to the USAAC's 2nd Bombardment Group for trials. One of these was soon equipped with new Moss/General Electric turbochargers that became standard on all future Flying Fortresses. The first production order was for 39 B-17Bs with turbo-charged engines, and as soon as these were under production another order for the B-17C was placed, with seven machine guns instead of the original five.
The RAF received their first B-17Cs in 1941, and were soon conducting daylight raids over Germany. The defensive armament soon proved inadequate, and the B-17's altitude was little defense against the German fighters. Orders for the B-17D were soon placed with self-sealing fuel tanks and more armor because of lessons learned in bombing missions over Europe. The B-17E and B-17F soon followed with larger tail. The B-17F was the first to serve with the USAAF 8th Air Force. After suffering staggering losses in late 1943, analysis proved head-on attacks by enemy fighters were a distinct problem. The final major version, the B-17G, added a chin turret with dual machineguns. This gave the B-17 a defensive armament of 13 guns.
After the war, several dozen B-17s lived on as fire-bombers and aerial surveyors until the last one was retired in the 1970s. Today, a few B-17s have been restored to their wartime splendor. Ten are currently flying in the United States, one in the UK and another one in France. Features extremely high level of details including full crew, rotating gun turrets, working undercarriage, and bomb load.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a B-17F Flying Fortress heavy bomber was nicknamed "Memphis Belle", and became one of the first USAAF bombers to survive a 25-mission tour of duty. Note: Due to the immense size and weight of this item, it does not qualify for the free UPS ground shipping discount. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 17-1/2 inches
Length: 12-1/4 inches
Release Date: August 2010
Historical Account: "Memphis Belle" - Memphis Belle was the nickname of a B-17F Flying Fortress during the Second World War that inspired the making of two motion pictures: a 1944 documentary film: Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress and a 1990 Hollywood feature film: Memphis Belle. It was one of the first U.S. Army Air Forces heavy bombers to complete 25 combat missions, (the first being Hells Angels) The plane and crew then returned to the United States to sell war bonds. The original airplane is undergoing extensive restoration at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, OH.