Movie "Memphis Belle" repainted


David Tallichet's B-17 finally got a well deserved facelift. Tallichet's "Memphis Belle" was used in the movie of the same title and the markings have now been painted to appear just like the real one which is located in Memphis, TN. on Mud Island. The "Petty girl" nose art was applied by Ron Kaplan who did an excellent job. Now the rest of the markings was needed to finish the job. As you will see in the following photos a step by step progress is illustrated. Still yet to be painted is the Dark green blotching which is partly done because of patching and repairing holes as well as a form of camouflage, the props and wheel covers.



Photo 1

Sunday, day one. After assessing the job, I started on the starboard side with the kill markings. There is no perticular reason why I started there, It just felt like a good place to start.


Photo 2

After the names "Virginia" and waist gunner S/Sgt. Nastal were applied, I jumped to the nose and added the bombardier's name.

Note that the mission markings were applied before my arrival and put on the wrong location. They were sanded and the panel was re-base coated. We did not have any of the original paint that was used, so it was sprayed over in OD green which should have been the color in the first place but according to my paint chips, it was closer to Khaki. Again, I was not responsible for the base coating.


Photo 3

The staging area for the nose. The day was rather gloomy and humid. The Memphis Belle calendar was used as a reference for some names and placement. It contains photos of the Belle in various states of individual markings. Other references used were several books on the 91st BG and B-17 as well as photos supplied by Bob Morgan.


Photo 4

Monkeying around with Mark Scott to see how accessible everything is to paint.

Note again the markings incorrect placement.


The serial numbers on the tail were next and access to the tail was via cherry picker. Vinyl stenciled numbers was measured and two coats of paint applied.


Photo 5

The following week on Monday and Tuesday

The code letters DF*A were plotted out as well as the National insignia taped. Two coats of yellow paint was applied by brush. Reference materials did not give size and dimensions of the letters, so counting panel lines and rivets was the way I decided to replicate the placement of these elements.

Mission markings on the port side were applied Tuesday. A long 12 hour day!


Photo 6


The 4 blue backgrounds for the National insignia's have been sprayed with Imron and are now being masked off for the white stars. Plotting the stars was a difficult thing to do, especially upside down for the underside of the starboard side wing. The formula for plotting a five point star reminded me of a much hated algebra class back in my school daze.

The flaps are in need of painting and I rallied to paint them many times but priority was to finish the marking first, then maybe they could be done.


Photo 7

The finished stars.

The mission markings were applied today to the starboard side. Another 12 hour day. Starting to get fatigued but still on schedule.


Photo 8

Port side finished.

I don't know the significance of the snake.


Photo 9


Now for this I had to call on on Brent Perkins verbal description on the size and placement. Out of all the reference material use, none supplied me with a detailed photo of the tail markings. I hope its close to the original.

In most cases, the original photos of the Belle had various names and markings applied at different times. Even when it returned to the states for its war bond tour, some of the names were not painted on until latter.


Photo 10

The finished starboard side nose. The name Dinny Janie added just below the plexi nose. The gray camo under surfaces should have come up to the pitot tube.


Photo 11

A detailed look of the port side nose with the name of the mascot dog Stuka on the hatch door.

Rain storm imminent.

A vinyl data info block was made up and adhered to its place. Upon studying photos of early B-17F's, it was apparent that vinyl was used before stencils like the later G versions.


Photo 12

The name MOM and two swastikas applied to the top turret. Just after these photos were taken it started to rain.

As luck would have it, the whole detailing took 4.5 long days. A lot to do in just a short period of time. I had a 4pm flight out, so I had to wrap things up by painting red rings around the fuel access panels atop of the wings.


Photo 13

Right behind the B-17 was a B-25 and this C-54 that was being prepped for a movie.


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