avatar_Brian da Basher

A civilianized B-17 - TWA Boeing 309

Started by Brian da Basher, June 03, 2011, 11:58:03 AM

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Brian da Basher

W.W. II ended suddenly in 1943 when Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo were fatally overcome by flatulence at the Fartz Mountain conference. War-surplus aircraft were now available for peaceful uses.

In the U.S., B-17s were quickly modified into airliners by Boeing which called the new transport the 309. Many carriers were able to add four engine reliability and range to their fleets on the cheap.

TWA was one of the airlines to take advantage of this and purchased 309s which could carry 67 passengers on their Wichita to Newark and Wichita to San Bernadino routes.


Brian da Basher


Damn fine work (as usual).  Is there a B-24 competitor in the future perhaps?


All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Brian da Basher

Boeing modified the old radio gunner's compartment into a skylit bar/lounge. While most modified B-17s had the old tail-gunner's position faired over, TWA decided to keep these and were able to fit three more passengers in what they aggressively marketed as their "Mother-In-Law class". Here's a close-up:

TWA kept Boeing 309s in service until the advent of jets in the early 1960s. Travellers of that era have fond memories of enjoying a cocktail in the skylight lounge with their Mothers-In-Law safely and silently seated far in the rear.

While there aren't any flying examples left today, TWA keeps one 309 as a gate guard at their Olathe training facility which is across the street from the offices of notable divorce attorneys Bumsford, Cutting & Cheese.

Brian da Basher

Brian da Basher

The basis for this project is the venerable 1/144 scale Minicraft B-17. It only took a little PSR and a smash-formed nose cone to convert this bomber to an airliner. The TWA livery is from the classic box-scale Monogram Constellation and it was a minor miracle those 40-plus year-old decals still worked. Windows and doors were from an Allegheny Airlines DC-9 sheet.

One goof I made was waiting to install the kit windows until after the fuselage was together. The cockpit glass wouldn't fit and I destroyed it trying to cut it to size. This forced me to use strips of clear blisterpack instead.

I hope you enjoyed this little whiff and I might get one more entry in before the deadline.
Brian da Basher


If I'm not building models, I'm out riding my dirtbike


What class is the guy in the belly turret flying on? :mellow:


Looks great, Brian - sort of a 4 engined DC-3.
The "Mother-in-Law" seating must be brutal; the area was cramped, even for the typical short skinny gunner in a flight suit. Also, is the bathroom a"head" of the MiL seating?


It is a very nice and charm model. I suppose the load is in the bomb bay.  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :cheers: :bow:


Nice job Brian, and another one of those whifs with enough of a foot in reality to fool folks.  ;D

TWA actually did have a B-17G (44-85728) converted by Boeing to an executive transport as the Model 299AB.
The aircraft was later given to the Shah of Iran.
The conversion followed the general pattern of the wartime XC-108 and CB-17 conversions.

The Swedes operated seven converted F and G models, although these only carried 14 passengers rather than 67.

Having flown in a B-17, I have to say I'm not sure where you'd put 67 people, it's not very big inside.  ;)


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Doc Yo

Jon- Maybe they're very small people.

Neat build and a fine concept-I'd be tempted to buy a seat in the 'mother-in-law' lounge myself...think of the view!

The Rat

Brian, I honestly don't know how the heck you do it, but DON'T STOP!  :thumbsup: :bow:
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John Howling Mouse

This is truly great, Brian.  Love the "Mother-In-Law" class: that's classic.  Good modelling, too, of course.  You can turn anything into something much better and more interesting.  It's a genuine talent.   :thumbsup:
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