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All right let's do this thing... PB4Y-2 Privateer conversion


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I find myself pretty excited to try this so here we go.  To set the scope, I'm looking at doing a largely external conversion for the upcoming Hobbyboss B-24D kit.  I'm not planning (yet) on attempting many of the interior changes like the re-arrangement of the flight deck.  That said, the following is my initial list of things that need to happen to convert a model of a B-24D into a model of a PB4Y-2 Privateer.  Note that this list is what I consider to be relevant to a modeler, not necessarily an exhaustive list of airframe changes.  Most of this is from the Ginter book which has been an invaluable resource.  


In rough order of importance to visual impact:


1. New tail unit  -  15%

2. ERCO spherical nose turret - 45%

3. ERCO waist blisters

4. Second Martin top turret

5. New engine nacelles (not just a simple 90 degree rotation) - 10%

6. Forward fuselage extension

7. Retractable search radar under fwd fuselage

8. Large number of antennas all over the airframe

9. Astrodome moved

10. Air-scoop on upper fuselage

11. Needle blade props

12. A large number of panel line changes especially escape hatches and the whole rear fuselage
13. New aileron tabs

14. New instrument panel


The ultimate goal here is a comprehensive, external, and marketable conversion set for the Hobbyboss B-24D kit (yes the D kit though the J might also work) using 3D printed parts.  I like going the 3D printed route because I can be very precise, detailed, and accurate without having to be very skilled at actually crafting anything.


Now, the great disclaimer: I work very slowly and am easily distracted.  I need some level of accountability here.  I'll try to post something here weekly but I'm not great at this.  Don't let me get away with it if I'm not keeping this moving.  I've only got 14 things to do.  Shouldn't be that difficult to stay on task.


First update is due tonight.  Should have the ERCO nose turret exterior ready to go.

Edited by titan
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Just now, Out2gtcha said:

Wow, ambitious! I'm all about this......I'd love to have a 32nd Privateer.


Do you have to wait to get your hands on the HB B-24 kit for certain aspects of the conversion?



Some parts yes, but most of it I can get much of the design done now.  The forward fuselage extension will be the big one but even that I should be able to get largely ready before I have the kit in hand.  

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Awesome! I attempted the old Combat Models 1/48 conversion for the Monogram B-24J in about 1981. It was my only attempt at anything vac-formed. The nacelles defeated me, but I had the rest completed. Can't wait to see what you do with this! 

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So this is not going to be a normal "In Progress" thread.  But here's what I've got.  I'm still working on the front turret.  I chose this to work first because a) it's hard, b) when it's done I've effectively got a PB4Y-1 conversion ready to go.


The ERCO turret is 54" in diameter.  Easy enough to do a 54" sphere (I thought) but the issue is the side fairings and their compound curves.  After a lot of false starts I finally figured out a plan to model those curves.  The start is really very messy.



Great stuff.  

There are two significant compound curves blending the turret fairing sides with the lower front of the turret fairing.  This face outlined in blue is framed by those curves.  It was a pain but I finally got it.


You know that feeling when something on a model comes out just right even though you were really weren't sure it wasn't going to work?  That face was that feeling.  I'm very pleased. 

After much more drawing and some cleanup I've got a decent outline of the turret forward exterior.


You may notice that this is only half a turret.  In fact you should definitely have noticed that.  If you didn't, what's wrong with you? 

The reason is to simplify the work.  For symmetrical objects Sketchup includes a mirror tool which is very handy.  Without it I'd have to do everything at least twice.  In fact the spherical section was generated by modeling only 1/8th of the actual sphere and then using the mirror several times.  Applying the mirror to what I've got now and...


Starting to look like a turret.  This is just a check and I actually undid it immediately.  I've still got to do the aft turret details, then overall surface details.  Then I've got to turn the whole thing into a manifold before it's ready for printing.  This will in fact end up being three separate pieces, the turret fairing and two halves for the center section.  Still, pretty happy with how it's shaping up.

One more view:



Hope to have more progress this coming week.

Edited by titan
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Always liked the PB4Y-2 - could’ve been Matchbox’s evocative rendition of “Red Wing” that baited the hook.


Nice work so far, enjoying watching how you tackle the Privateer’s more distictive features. 

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