Minicraft 1/144 PB4Y-1 Liberator Kit First Look
|Date of Review||September 2013||Manufacturer||Minicraft|
|Kit Number||14687||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Rare version of a the famous B-24||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$18.99|
Look! Up in the sky! Is it a B-25? A B-17? No, it's a B-24 Liberator! Consolidated Aircraft's B-24 Liberator has the distinction of not only being able to fly higher, farther and carry twice the bomb load of the aforementioned and better known B-17, but it also was the most produced U.S. aircraft in history, with over 18,000 units built during World War 2. In addition, the B-24 served with all major branches of the armed services as well as Canada and the United Kingdom. It also may have been the longest serving U.S. World War 2 era bomber as well; research suggests that it was finally retired from active duty with the Indian Air Force in 1968.
Minicraft Model Kits has recently released one of the U.S. Navy's earlier versions of the B-24, namely the PB4Y-1, in 1/144 scale. The PB4Y-1 was an interim series of modified B-24 USAAF bombers that provided long range-coastal reconnaissance and submarine hunting duties for the Navy while they awaited a fully naval variant to reach full production.
There are four parts trees (two grey styrene, two clear styrene) containing 52 individual pieces. Flash, although minimal, was present on the fuselage, engine nacelles and wing sections.
Understandably, detail in this scale is sparse but Minicraft does make an effort to add some appropriate scale scribing to the engine nacelles and wheel hubs.
Assembly begins, like the real PB4Y-1, by modifying the fuselage of the aircraft (which appears to be a contemporary Minicraft B-24J release) to accept an earlier all glass-style nose.
From there assembly moves from adding the cockpit and gluing together the fuselage halves to building the wings, adding the engines, landing gear and wheels, to adding the final touches of the turrets and remaining clear pieces.
Some things I would like to have seen in this kit, even in this scale would have been (1) a bulkhead behind the cockpit, (2) rotatable gun turrets, and (3) clear "prop-discs" to model the aircraft in-flight.
- Rotating propellers
- Landing gear can be positioned up or down
- Boxed in wheel wells
The crisp decals including are made by Cartograf and offer the modeler the choice of building one of two PB4Y-1 aircraft; number 32032, which was lost in the Bay of Biscay while sinking U-508 and number 32309, a member of the Naval Modification Unit based in Pennsylvania during 1948.
A simple kit overall that would be a great introduction to model making for the younger generation.
My sincere thanks to Minicraft Models for this review sample!