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  1. I seem to have ever document about CP39-645, but not the original Type Specifications. Can anyone help? AlanG
  2. I'm about to give specific historically-accurate information again, so if this disturbs you stop reading - or tell the person reading it to you to stop. The original "Witchcraft" was a B-24H-15-FO (Ford), 8AF 467BG 790BS Q2-M 42-52534. She flew 130 missions without an abort or combat casualties. She did return to the U.S. but was subsequently scrapped. The Collings Foundation aircraft is a B-24J-85-CF (Consolidated/Fort Worth) 44-44052. It was accepted by the USAAF in August, 1944, then transferred to the RAF in October, 1944 as Liberator GR.VI KH191. It was abandoned by the British in late 1945 in Khanpur, India. There are about a zillion ways to tell a Ford "H" from a Consolidated "J" (and a Fort Worth "J" from a San Diego "J", as well.) However, to avoid anyone getting TMI Rash I'll end here. EXCEPT! Fred Jack, Ford built the B-24E (basically a D), the F, H, L, M and eventually a few N's at Willow Run. Of course, as with all things B-24 the complete story is a bit more complicated than that, but the above should do for now. I hope this will inform some, concern others, and generally muck up the ethers. AlanG
  3. I've spent a bit of time going over Jeff Verswyvel's in-box video review of the this kit over on Hyperscale as well as some additional closeup photos Jeff was kind enough to send my way, and have the following observations. Please note that these comments are based upon what I could determine from photos - not handling the plastic - and thus may be open to further discussion. Turrets While the nose Emerson and tail A6C are correct for "My Akin?" - a Block 185-CO - the nose turret is NOT correct for either "War Goddess", a Block J-105-CO, or for "Going My Way", a Block J-175-CO. Both of these aircraft had the A6C nose turret such as fitted to the tail. The Consolidated J's started mounting the Emerson nose turret beginning with Block J-185-CO. The tail turret may or may not be correct as many B-24's had the shields over the guns on the tail removed since it didn't have the draft problem of the nose. The top turret just looks "wrong". It appears to have to be somewhere between the round dome top of the A3C with the glass sighting panel of the A3D. The A3D had a very distinctive rise of the top going from front to back to accommodate both better headroom and to maintain a very strict +/- 3 degree angle relationship with the later lead-computing gun sight (although this is actually more complicated than I've just stated). The A3D also did not have external metal straps the kit seems to show. Hey! It's the B-24! What did you expect?? "War Goddess" should have the older, rounded dome of the A3C, but both "My Akin ?" and "Going My Way" both mounted the A3D "High Hat". Jeff Verswyvel was kind enough to send me a photo of the turret from the side, but it still looks wrong to me, not appearing to rise high enough in the back for the A3D nor low enough for the A3B/C. Thus, the top turret in the kit may not be correct for anything. Nose glass The box art correctly shows "My Akin ?" having the slightly bulged bombardier observation window addition unique to the 15AF located between the main bombardier sighting glass on the lower front nose and the navigator's observation window. The kit's front fuselage does not have a flashed-over cutout on the inside of the fuselage for this bombardier observation window mounting and I didn't see anything on the clear parts tree that resembled these bulged windows. This would be an excellent opportunity for a vacformed window. I've not taken the time to do a detailed examination of photos of the kit with the above exceptions. It is highly likely there are a number of much smaller errors, but overall it still looks like a magnificent example of the manufacturer's art. Alan Griffith, author "Consolidated Mess, Vol. I"
  4. Noted aircraft color expert Dana Bell's new color monograph on OD41- Aircraft Painting Guide Number 1; Dark Olive Drab and Neutral Gray - will be released sometime this late this month or in May, 2018 by Classic Warships Publishing. I've seen the galleys and this thing is definitely both highly informative and very drool-worthy. The monograph is 72 pages long and about 99% full-page original color photos taken from breathtaking original color slides and transparencies in government archives. In addition to showing a depressingly wide range of OD41 shades, it also shows a wide variety of color schemes on various aircraft - a number of which will come as a surprise, all with informative explanatory captions. Naturally, you'll see quite a few variations on Neutral Gray, too. Yummy. This book will not only tell you a lot about OD41, but it will give you plenty of ammunition to counter the "OD41 Nazis" that insist it was only one color or that there is a magic formula that was used or that is only matched by a single Munsell formula. Not even close... I believe the price is going to be $20-$25 U.S. and will be available from Amazon.com, directly from Classic Warships Publishing (http://www.classicwarships.com/warship_pictorial/warship_pictorial.html), and probably directly from Dana. Please note, I have absolutely no financial involvement with either the book or with Classic Warships. If you are like me and trying to match OD41 has driven you nuts for years, this monograph will enable you to once more enter polite society with dignity. Enjoy! AlanG
  5. Tim, It is always my pleasure to share what I've learned about the B-24. I've been researching this aircraft literally for years and continue to receive new information almost daily. As you might imagine, with an aircraft produced in the numbers, number of locations, modifications and eventual usage like the B-24, the amount of information to gather and sort is almost crushing in its volume and complexity. And the vast majority of that information is "just" on the AAF-used versions. To expand into the PB4Y-1 or British/Commonwealth aircraft would necessitate world-wide travel and the ability to remain healthy and sane until I reach about 150 years of age. Nor does this take into account the roughly 11 more books to which I've committed myself, including two more volumes on the B-24. At any rate, sometime in the next few weeks I hope to have an announcement that will more than satisfy your desire to figure out the panoply of variants and mods in the Pacific and CBI - and all the other nose-turreted variants. Well...not quite all. The F-7's are going to be covered in Volume 3, as will the C-87's, C-109's, etc. Once again, please feel free to post any questions you might have about the B-24. Lord knows there are plenty of things to ask about! Regards, Alan Griffith
  6. Okay....another opportunity to set the record straight. First, the aircraft tail gun pictured above is NOT accurate for standard 5AF tail guns. It is a very early B-24, possibly even an LB-30 or a C-87 and in the U.S. This is immediately evident by the fact that it is a single .50 caliber. The 5AF retained the tail turret but had the ball turret removed. This is quickly recognized by the windows above the ball turret position as shown by the photos in the ww2 aircraft link. Those aircraft do NOT have ball turrets, but have been fitted with the twin hand-held .50 caliber guns. Any slight curvature you might see on the bottom of the aircraft was due to a plexiglas cover that was put over the opening, They are also J-COs. The immediate recognition feature of the Consolidated nose-turreted aircraft is the square-ish upper rear corner on the bombardier position side glass. The 7AF retained the ball turret but replaced the tail turret with a series of TWIN .50 caliber tail guns. Some were hydraulically-assisted, many were hand-powered. I have no record whatsoever of any single .50 caliber guns in 7AF B-24 tails, although I do have a photo that smacks of a 20mm field mount. You will on rare occasion find a Hawaii Air Depot mod (HAD Mod) B-24 that has received BOTH the 5AF AND the 7AF mods. I'm pretty sure this was a screw-up at the mod center. I have several photos of one such aircraft in "Mess 1". I would be extremely careful about using that ww2 link and its "information". A great deal of it is wrong. I went into a detailed explanation of all these theater/AF armament variations in "Consolidated Mess, Vol. 1", with many photos and drawings. I will do the same with the glassnoses in Vol. 2. In the process of my researching Vol. 2 I have been going through pretty much every B-24 file and folder at the National Archives and have gathered a huge amount of data both for Vol. 2 and an eventual update of Vol. 1. I'm still not quite sure how to present the new information on the seemingly-endless armament experiments and suggested projects - up to and including mounting 75mm guns and larger in various positions. Research is a "*****" if done correctly, but it is exquisitely revealing. The first part of that statement is probably why so few authors really ever bother to do serious research. If there are any questions about B-24 armament or configurations, please post them and I'll do my best to answer. I can't quite make out the serial number or the nose art for the box art on the upcoming "J" kit, so I'm not sure if it is configured correctly or not. If they had a copy of my book it SHOULD be right, but..... Respectfully submitted, Alan Griffith PS It is entirely conceivable that there were field mods early on initial B-24s in the Pacific featuring single .50 cal guns, but I've never seen a photo or read a report on one. I retain my serious doubts.
  7. As with all things B-24, the question of the "high-hat" turret and the A-3D turret just keeps getting more complicated. And now to the facts. The A-3D has long been labeled such due to the "high hat". In researching "Consolidated Mess" (see Chapter 2) I found that some 800 A-3Ds were produced with the older dome turret. It is only recently that I've found documents explaining that. It turns out the A-3D designation was the result of a change in the oxygen system, NOT because of the new high hat. The high hat was developed to get rid of the distortion caused by the blown plexiglas of the earlier turret configuration. It was a fortuitous accident that it also happened to offer the perfect setup for the new lead-computing sight that came along a bit later. So, you have a confluence of changes that resulted in what most have labeled - incorrectly - the A-3D top turret as shown above. When I get around to adding all the new information to what will be an eventual "reprint" of "Mess, Vol. 1", all this and more will be revealed. I hope to have a surprise announcement regarding "1" in the next couple of weeks. Respectfully submitted, Alan Griffith
  8. To TonyT with regard to the ASW light color. With the exception of some experiments in colors, AAF B-24 ASW schemes all used a color called "egg-shell" white, not gray. I believe the same is true of the PB4Y-1's as well. You will find a number of different camouflage patterns on AAF ASW B-24s. I'm pretty sure the "droop snoot" Middleton mod aircraft were repainted after the mod, providing the high, wavy pattern of the white seen on these aircraft. My posit is also based on the fact that each of these modified aircraft seems to have a slightly different pattern. I hope to be taking a very detailed look at the all the AAF ASW camo schemes sometime in the not-to-distant future. As for the aircraft depicted in the old Revell kit, I suspect it was repainted by the Navy, moving the white farther up the fuselage and overpainting what I believe was originally OD41 with the Deck Blue color. However, I want to make it clear that that is only an educated guess at this point. Dana and I both hope to find out more. Respectfully submitted, Alan Griffith
  9. Good day, all! I've been following this discussion of the upcoming 1/32 B-24's with a great deal of glee and interest. I thought perhaps I should share some information here in anticipation of the kits' releases. First, thank you to those who spoke so kindly of my book, "Consolidated Mess, Vol. I". While I've found additional materials to go into a future reprint, the book remains true to its original purpose of providing a one-volume detailed overview of the nose-turreted B-24's in USAAF service. I am still working on Volume II on the Glassnoses, as well as gathering materials for Vol. III. \ In regard to the old Revell PB4Y-1 kit and its artwork, this aircraft's paint scheme remains a mystery. However, in some discussions with Navy color expert Dana Bell he believes it may be "Deck Blue". The Navy determined that their rather light bluegray made the aircraft on carrier decks stand out too much. They ordered that a new, darker blue be used but was still called bluegray. You can see this color change beginning in later 1941, and I have a color shot of the tail of a PBM that is in a much darker blue but NOT the sea blue later adopted. The underside is still clearly light gray, so I believe this is one of the "smoking guns" of color identification. Dana is planning a book a Navy colors that will go into a lot of detail on the many changes in that took place in aircraft camouflage. He does not have a date for its completion, however. In the meantime, however, Dana is expecting his monograph on OD and Neutral Gray to be published sometime in the next 4-6 weeks. It is chock full of wonderful color photos with lots of info on OD and various camouflage patterns. Ginter's book on the PB4Y-1/1P is a very nicely-illustrated book on these versions of the B-24. There is one error on Page 5 that needs to be addressed, however. Ginter states that the "droop snoot" ASW aircraft were produced with the Oklahoma nose. This is incorrect. They were provided with the Middleton Air Depot nose which had the side lower nose windows at an angle. The OKCD's aircraft had similar windows but they were horizontal in nature. All this is covered in Vol. I of "Mess". Earlier in this thread someone stated that the B-24 could fly higher, faster, longer range, etc. This is only partially correct. In the ETO the B-24 could never reach the same altitude as the B-17s, and used a lot of fuel maintaining the altitudes it could reach. This is due to two interrelated factors. The wing was designed for a MUCH MUCH MUCH lighter aircraft than that which went into combat. So the wing design and the literally tons of additional weight added to the B-24 to make it combat-worthy made it very sluggish at high altitudes. In theaters where high altitude formation flying was was not an issue - CBI, all the Pacific theaters, the Aleutians and ASW work, this did not matter much. Thus the B-24's ability to carry more weight farther truly came into play. In the Pacific especially this enabled them to use additional fuel tanks for extended range in one of the bomb bays and carry a fairly standard load (2000lbs and maybe more) in the other. It is also important to know that in the Pacific a great number of raids were flown by single aircraft, or 5-10 at most on a "big raid". It wasn't until the B-29s were able to hit Japan from Guam, Tinian, etc. that large raids started to take place on a regular basis. The size and concentration of targets on the Japanese mainland made these practical, but just hitting an island here and there did not warrant such raids. If there are any questions that I might answer please feel free to post them here and I'll periodically check in and see about answering them. Respectfully submitted, Alan Griffith, author "Consolidated Mess, Vol. I"
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