Minicraft 1/144 PB4Y-1 Liberator Kit First Look
|Date of Review||March 2012||Manufacturer||Minicraft|
|Kit Number||14664||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice detailing throughout||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$16.99|
The B-24 Liberator was a mixed blessing to the war effort. It was produced in much larger numbers than the B-17 even though production didn't begin until after the start of the war. Thanks to Henry Ford, the first real aircraft mass production line was established in Willow Run, MI and B-24s were reaching all theaters of operations.
Despite their greater availability, bomber crews preferred the B-17. Even though the B-24 was faster, more modern, and had greater capabilities, it was also less stable and much more work for the pilots. Cartoons from the period indicated that B-24 pilots could be spotted at the pub because of their one massive bicep required to keep the aircraft in the air. The Liberator was not only flown by the USAAF, Navy crews operated the PB4Y-1 which oddly enough did not distinguish between the wide variety of B-24 variants. The Navy flew a variety of B-24s from the B-24D through the B-24M but all bore the singular designator of PB4Y-1.
Minicraft has reissued their 1/144 scale Liberator and still looks good for its age. This is actually (if I recall correctly) the Crown B-24 kit which has been on and off the market for some time. In fact, years ago Cobra Company released a couple of conversions for this kit (which are still available according to their website).
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on two parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts. There is no sign of flash on this example so assembly should be straightforward.
The cockpit is simple but the instrument panel and seat belts/shoulder harnesses are provided as decals. Aside from a choice of landing gear up or down, there are no options in this kit though it doesn't lack for nice exterior detail. One of the shortfalls in the detailing are the four engine cowling faces - there are blanks where you'd see the radial engines (also fixed by Cobra Company).
Markings are provided for two examples:
- PB4Y-1, 923, VB-102, US Navy, 1944, 'Easy Maid'
- PB4Y-1, B77, Unknown Training Unit, 1944
These Minicraft 1/144 B-24/PB4Y-1 kits provide a nice canvas to render a wide variety of color schemes worn by these aircraft without requiring much shelf space. The Easy Maid example provided in this release is definitely one of those. If you add some of the aftermarket details that are available out there, you can really have some fun with this kit.
My sincere thanks to Minicraft Models for this review sample!