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Hobby Boss B-24J (26 Jan 2023: Ferry missions to Lyon France)


easixpedro

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Progress on the ball turret. I think the key to any kit this size is to approach it like you’re building a bunch of mini kits. The ball turret is a case in point.


Before I started working on it, I wanted to know if this plane even had a ball turret. At some point in the middle of the B-24L production run they stopped installing ‘em. They were completely gone by the time the B-24M came along.  I’ve searched high and low, and found nothing conclusive for this plane. From what I’ve seen of others in the BW at the same time, they all had ‘em, so I’ll keep it. I also had to dig to ensure that they had the ammo cans on the outside, which they did. B-17s and early model B-24s didn’t - the ammo was all kept internal to the turret. The kit gives you ammo cans above, so I’m good there. Here’s a great link to a period manual: https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ref/AirGunnery/TURRETS5.html 

You can also follow this link for Hangar Thirteen’s manual. https://hangarthirteen.org/library/ and the manual itself: http://hangarthirteen.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/11-45G-1-Handbook-for-Sperry-Lower-Ball-Turrets-A-2-A-2A-A-13.pdf
They’re a tremendous resource for sure.


So onto the turret. Not a bad OOB. A little plain, but won’t be seen as it’s raised in the fuselage if you build it with the gear down. I’m not doing that, so of course I put a figure in there. Not much else, as it won’t be seen. I had to make some shell ejector chutes as the kit’s were wonky. They didn’t even line up with the ports, which I also had to open up…

20230121_153440

 

20230121_153540

 

It all clicks together and is a really nice fit!  You can see I dirtied up the gunner’s boots like he’d been tramping around a muddy Italian airfield…

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Masking it was a bit of a pain and took the better part of an hour. Here it is after a quick shot of Tamiya AS-12.

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20230122_102844

 

And here’s the turret mechanism before painting (it’s painted now, but no pics). I’ll swap out the suspension arm so that it hangs down outside the fuselage (and why I’m doing this now, before I button the fuselage up).

20230121_153505

 

Here’s the Right Waist Gunner. Needs the O2 line to his mask and add the ammo chute to his gun and he’s done.

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And a view from outside. Once the fuselage is closed you definitely can’t see this much…!

20230122_133151

 

That’s it for now. Thanks for following along, and I appreciate everyone’s comments.

-Peter

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  • easixpedro changed the title to Hobby Boss B-24J (22 Jan 2023: Ball Turret)
14 hours ago, JayW said:

To steal an aviator's term - this is Sierra Hotel!!!   Those manuals are amazing.  I am about 5' 5"  - I would have fit in there beautifully.  What an educational build Peter.  Nice work.  Can't believe you got a person in that ball....    

 

14 hours ago, themongoose said:

Your work on the ball turret is stellar. And huge props for fitting the figure in there AND muddying up his boots - brilliant, buy yourself a Guinness!

 

Thanks guys.  I was rather shocked that I managed to pull it off.  The figure is a mashup from the spares bin, mostly a Tamiya figure from their early M113 offering.  He was the smallest though--and I checked him compared to all the other figures.  So makes sense seeing as how the shortest guys in the crew became ball gunners.

 

I'm gathering folks like the background detail I'm providing, so will hopefully have a few more updates in that regard.  Frankly the build has been a bit of a struggle in that, I want to go to town on things, but have to constantly pull myself back from the edge. Case in point--I just put little black dots for the eyes of the gunner. Am I capable of more? Yes. Is it visible? No.  The dots actually look better once everything is closed up as it gives the impression, and your mind fills in the details.  But it's driving me a bit batty as I look at the pics and see sloppy painting etc.  Looks like it was painted by the teenage version of myself. But once closed up it looks good, so I'll keep forging ahead.

 

And a fella did wrap this up with a cold snack!

-Peter

 

 

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You know what?  Yer ball turret looks just like a pod out of any number of sci-if movies - 2001, Star Wars, Oblivion and probably several others I don’t recall.   Hmmmm.  I wonder if maybe a prop department somewhere happened to have a ball turret laying around and the rest is history.

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18 hours ago, Oldbaldguy said:

You know what?  Yer ball turret looks just like a pod out of any number of sci-if movies - 2001, Star Wars, Oblivion and probably several others I don’t recall.   Hmmmm.  I wonder if maybe a prop department somewhere happened to have a ball turret laying around and the rest is history.

You are 100% correct.   Look at the Star Wars' "Tie Fighter".  Lucas admitted that it's cockpit was based on a WW2 ball turret. 

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Just found this pic in ye' old personal archives.  It's a doozy. SOOOO many details to study and soak up.  It's a B-24L. No ball turret that I can tell (though the shadows don't help). It's got the stinger guns instead of the tail turret. She's coming in for a landing with #1 feathered and I'm guessing #2 isn't providing much power based off the amount of oil thrown on the vertical stab.  And look at the rudder. It's a replacement from the 484th BG. It's OD with the bowtie that mismatches the rectangle of the 461st.  Might have a go at replicating that when the time comes :) 

 

b-24L

 

Have no clue about time or date, but a fascinating photo nonetheless! 

-Peter

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When I was a kid, I met a friend of my dad's.   Somehow the subject of WW2 bombers came up and he casually mentioned that he flew B-24's out of England during the war.    I jumped in with "Wow, you flew Liberators?".   He seems genuinely shocked that a 1980's teen would know this.   I asked him what it was like (as a kid, the thought that I was possibly prying never occurred).    He just said "It was pretty damned cold up there" and changed the subject.     

 

Keep up the good work, this build is something special Pete. 

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Right there with you John.  My uncle never really talked about it, other than I remember him telling me about not having a waist window. That, and a story about the first time he'd ever had too much to drink and had a hangover.  Background that I've uncovered is this.

 

In August 1944, the Allies landed in southern France (Operation Dragoon). In September 1944, the 15th began ferrying supplies to forward fighter strips to help supply the fight.  The 49th Bomb Wing flew roughly 7 missions from 10-22 September.  On their very first one, one of the APUs (otherwise known as a put-put) caught fire, as they tended to do. The resulting fire destroyed one of the B-24s, and crews scrambled to get the rest out of the way.  There's some pretty famous pictures of the event that are in a lot of WW2 books. 100 Octane AVGAS and fire, plus oil, bombs and bullets isn't a good combo...

Here they are, courtesy of the 461st website:

Lyon_France.jpg

 

Lyons_France_2-large.jpg

 

My Uncle flew three of these supply missions, and during one, they essentially found some good french wine and got plastered. He said the flight the next day was rough and only felt better after sucking on the pure O2 from the plane.  My guess is that mission was on 17 September, as the entire wing had to divert due to weather and deliver supplies the next day.  (and not that I EVER used O2 to cure a hangover before going flying... :) something about aviators and live fast, die young mentalities!)

 

-Peter

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  • easixpedro changed the title to Hobby Boss B-24J (26 Jan 2023: Ferry missions to Lyon France)
3 hours ago, Oldbaldguy said:

Anybody besides me note in one of the photos above that the nosewheel is turned but the rudders are not, meaning the nosewheel is not steered by the rudder pedals, something I did not know.

Yes, that I recall they were free-castering, meaning it swiveled like the front wheel of a shopping cart. Pilots would steer with differential braking and perhaps a bit of thrust in extremis. Still easier than taxiing a tail dragger though. I can’t imagine having to taxi the Corsair or the Thunderbolt (and why you see pics of ground crew sitting on wings to help them clear). There’s certainly an art to taxiing a plane from this generation.

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