Help support TMP

"Help Needed on B-17 Tail Markings" Topic

12 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the WWII Aviation Painting Guides Message Board

Back to the WWII Aviation Discussion Message Board

1,817 hits since 14 Apr 2010
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Harkonnen13 Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2010 2:23 p.m. PST

I'm painting some 1/300 B-17 Gs and I need some advice. I have a couple different packs of I-94 tail marking decals; I can match them according to squadron but I don't know which individual letters to use. A, B, C all in squares or triangles. Were these the same on all planes in an element (all As for example) or were they sequential (lead bomber A, others B and C for example). I've got a good selection of B-17 images but nothing that helps me with this.

Yes, I am very clueless about bomber markings.

highlandcatfrog Inactive Member14 Apr 2010 2:41 p.m. PST

The geometric shape denoted which bomb division the group was part of, i.e. triangles were in the First Bomb Division, squares were the Third Bomb Division.

The letter within the geometric shape denoted which group the plane belonged to, so the letter "A" for example could be either the 91st or 94th Bomb Groups – if the "A" is inside a triangle it's the 91st Group (part of First Bomb Division, if it's inside a square it's the 94th Bomb Group (part of Third Bomb Division).

The individual planes within an element should all be from the same Bomb Group, so all should be (for example) Square D – the 100th Bomb Group.

The difference in markings within an element would be the individual aircraft designation letter (which aren't on the I-94 sheet you're talking about). Each plane had a 3-letter code, the first 2 letters denoted the squadron (each Bomb Group being composed of 4 squadrons), the third letter was to designate the individual plane. In most groups the individual plane letter was also repeated on the tail below the group insignia.

Also note that the group insignia appeared on both sides of the tail as well as on the top right wing.

Hope this helps, shoot me a PM if you have any more questions – I've got the decal sheet you mention, and LOTS of reference material for the 8th AF.

miscmini Fezian14 Apr 2010 2:45 p.m. PST

Try these sites.

For the large identification markings on the tail I want to say that they are all the same for a group. Triangle – A would be 91st Bombardment Group.

miscmini Fezian14 Apr 2010 2:46 p.m. PST

Great – I'm slow on the reference and I picked the same example.

highlandcatfrog Inactive Member14 Apr 2010 2:50 p.m. PST

Hey, you gotta love the 91st – they lost more B-17s than any other Group. So far I've painted 22 from the 100th with about another 6 to go, then I'm starting on the 91st.

Harkonnen13 Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2010 4:07 p.m. PST

Excellent answers. Thank you, gentlemen.

Oddball14 Apr 2010 6:12 p.m. PST

Here are some very good sites to help you out:

This is a very good site for what colors were on tails and wing tips.


Another good site:


Harkonnen13 Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2010 8:35 p.m. PST

Very cool, Oddball.

rallypoint Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2010 8:46 p.m. PST

Also try link

Timmo uk15 Apr 2010 2:53 a.m. PST

Some great links there thanks. I was walking around Ridgewell home of the 381st last weekend.

KATCH22 Inactive Member16 Apr 2010 4:05 a.m. PST

Try these ….

Harkonnen13 Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2010 1:07 p.m. PST

Now I've got a whole bookmark folder full of cool aircraft websites. Not just good for my current paint jobs but also good for a couple hours of time-killing. NICE.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.