B-24D LIBERATOR, PLOESTI RAIDER

Published: February 18th, 2011     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: Roger Carrano - IPMS# 45853
Scale: 1/72
Price: $40.00
Product / Stock #: 11658
Product provided by: Minicraft Model Kits

The B-24D was the first mass produced model of this aircraft which entered service early in 1943. Along with turbocharged engines and increased fuel capacity, there was a total of 10 machine guns. It was one of the heaviest aircraft in the world at over 59,000 lbs, on par with the British Bombers like the Lancaster and Halifax. Because of its ability to carry large loads of bombs and its capability to fly long distances it was chosen for "Operation Tidal Wave", its most famous mission, which was a low level air strike on nine oil fields at Ploesti, Romania on August 1, 1943. It was to be a strategic mission to destroy these oil fields in order to reduce the amount of fuel and oil for the German war machines. This turned out to be one of the most costly missions of men and machines. Over 600 crewmen were killed and 50 B-24's were downed on this mission. This mission was to become known as "Black Sunday".

Minicraft has re-issued their kit of the B-24D Liberator from when they were together with Academy with many different configurations built back then. The kit comes with six light grey sprues and two clear sprues. I was surprised with flash at a minimum and the clarity of these small parts. There are some options built into the kit such as a positionable front wheel, bomb bay doors and wheel wells that can be built open or closed. Bombs are supplied for when the bomb bay doors are open or can even be displayed in a diorama setting. Even the waist gunner windows can be left opened to show the machine guns aimed out of the window. There is plenty of "glass" so be prepared to do a lot of masking on a very small scale. Masks would be great but are not supplied. There isn't much by the way of interior detail, but in this scale, when the fuselage is closed up, not much can be seen anyway.

There are markings for three different aircraft:

  • B-24D, 41-23817, "Suzy Q"
  • B-24D, 42-40606, "Timba-a-ah"
  • B-24D, 42-40991, "Kate Smith"

I chose to build "Kate Smith" because I had never built an aircraft in that color scheme and thought it interesting. When researching this aircraft, I found that this aircraft never flew on the Aug 1 mission due to a mechanical failure; I also found that the serial number on the decals is incorrect. The correct s/n is #42-40654. I decided to build it anyway and overlook these small errors because the aircraft was scheduled for that mission anyway.

What impressed me the most was the way the wings were designed to fit to the fuselage. There would never be a need for filler of any kind if all kits were designed in this fashion.

The directions are straight forward and easy to follow with very clear diagrams. But I do have a few complaints: First there are large gaps for this scale when assembling the engine nacelles. Some plastic was missing which caused a large gap and had to be filled with a small piece of plastic stock and putty to re-shape the contour; Secondly, there were some gaps when assembling the wings together but Zap-A-Gap took care of that; Third is the fact that this kit is a definite tail-sitter and more weight than can be fitted is necessary. I would suggest a clear piece of plastic mounted on the rear underside to hold it up or build a base and place the tail skid on a "bump".

I would recommend this kit to anyone and with a little experience this kit can become a nice addition to any 1/72 scale collection and the price isn't too bad when considering decent quality.

I would like to sincerely thank Minicraft for allowing the IPMS/USA review team to review this kit.

  • Assembling engine nacelles
    Assembling engine nacelles
  • Kit sub-assemblies
    Kit sub-assemblies
  • Fuselage interior
    Fuselage interior
  • Fuselage interior
    Fuselage interior
  • Masking clear
    Masking clear
  • Prepped and ready for painting
    Prepped and ready for painting
  • Finished model
    Finished model
  • Finished model
    Finished model

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