Jump to content

B-24J 'Kentucky Belle' modifications


Recommended Posts

Because there were so many modifications done on B-24's on the assembly line as well as in the field I would like to share my findings on B-24J-155-CO, 44-40268, 'Kentucky Belle' markings of which can be found on Xtradecal sheet X72082.

Several colour photos of the nose art (both sides) can be found on the internet.

Two points missed on the decal instructions are:

a) the serial number should be near the top of both sides of the interior vertical tail.

B)/> the cowling should have a white portion indicating the 706th BS.

There are also various modifications/additions on the fuselage:

c) applique armour plating under both sides of the canopy.

d) the sliding windows on the canopy have a raised frame (armoured clear sliding portions?)

e) there should be a large oval bulged nav obs window behind the nose turret (separate pieces provided by Hasegawa). The small observation window behind and slightly below the cockpit should also be bulged.

f) there should be a bombardier scanning window behind the lower portion of the glass under the nose turret. This might have been a field modification as this window has a raised metal lip around it.

g) photos indicate 3 antennas on the top of the fuselage, a football shaped one, followed by a raised V-shaped one (both provided in the Hasegawa kit) followed by a blade antenna.

h) there appears to be a whip antenna behind the navigators dome in front of the cockpit.

If anyone has found other issues, I would enjoy hearing about them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Get yourself a copy of the new Mushroom Model Publications book "Consolidated Mess" by Alan Griffith. I thought I knew a little about gun nosed B-24s, but after reading that, I don't. If you were confused before, Alan has found out about things that I don't think anybody since the end of WWII has known about. I don't think there were any two B-24s that were exactly alike!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Because there were so many modifications done on B-24's on the assembly line as well as in the field I would like to share my findings on B-24J-155-CO, 44-40268, 'Kentucky Belle' markings of which can be found on Xtradecal sheet X72082.

If anyone has found other issues, I would enjoy hearing about them.

The bullet resistant glass was also fitted to the front of the canopy, a common modification. There is a published photo of this aircraft showing the modification to retrofit enclosed waist gun positions. "Kentucky Belle" enclosed waist guns

Are you planning to fix any of the kit errors?

Don

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good catch, Don! I missed the bullet resistant glass on the front section of the windscreen. Also, the change in shape of the side panel of the windscreen. I have a sheet of thin clear plastic that I hope to be able to use to replicate that thicker glass in front. Making it look realistic in 1/72 may be difficult. Sanding and polishing the rest of the windscreen should solve the rest. In photos it doesn't look like that section had reinforced glass.

Thin plastic card should replicate the applique armour.

I'm thinking about sanding the edge of that small window behind the cockpit and re-polishing it to give it the affect of being bulged and gluing it so it sticks out more.

Your reference to the retrofitted enclosed waist gun positions gave me pause. The inflight photo from a lower port angle (found on page 112 of 'Liberator Album by M. Bailey and T. North) suggest this aircraft had the original open waist gun positions as found on the Hasegawa kit. The inflight photo you referred to is interesting in that it is unlike anything I have seen before. Is it just the shadow produced by the angle of the sunlight that makes it appear different? Are there any detailed photos available that show some kind of retrofit to this area?

One more comment for the time being. That inflight photo I referred to earlier shows that this aircraft had the wing tip navigation lights.

It appears that others have taken an interest in this topic. Hopefully they can contribute to this discussion before I apply paint to plastic!

P.S. I forgot to include the addition of a thin wedge of plastic (or paper?)to the engine nacelle 'cheek' intakes.

Edited by Brian J.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Your reference to the retrofitted enclosed waist gun positions gave me pause. The inflight photo from a lower port angle (found on page 112 of 'Liberator Album by M. Bailey and T. North) suggest this aircraft had the original open waist gun positions as found on the Hasegawa kit. The inflight photo you referred to is interesting in that it is unlike anything I have seen before. Is it just the shadow produced by the angle of the sunlight that makes it appear different? Are there any detailed photos available that show some kind of retrofit to this area?

At least five different configurations of the rectangular shaped enclosed waist gun installation appeared on ETO B-24's. These can be described as:

- three panel type (named "bay window" type by Al Blue to the St. Paul Mod Center installation) with gun mounted in the center panel

- bay window with guns offset

- bay window with no K-6 mount (coffee can shape)

- high sill factory installation

- low sill factory installation

Here's some examples:

bay window, gun in center panel (B-24J-155-CO):

b24j155theshackbaywindowk6_zpsaa5a5003.jpg

bay window, gun staggered (B-24J-155-CO):

b24j155howlingbanshee_zps293fd6f3.jpg

bay window, gun in center panel does not appear to have K-6 mount:

b24j145bto_zps8daf14bf.jpg

high sill:

b-24j_nat_metal_hardstand_zps3bd30518.jpg

low sill:

B-24FOAssemblyline_zpscb5f4cb5.jpg

Here's the image that you spoke of, Kentucky Belle with the open waist gun position:

b25j155kentuckybellesansnoart_zps01cdc037.jpg

Take note that the left aileron does not have a trim tab. This aircraft also had the post type wing tank vents on the upper surface of the wing. Also, Hasegawa molded the left and right fuselage sides as the mirror image of each other. Thus, there is a small window under the right horizontal stabilizer. The image above of the right side of the fuselage shows that there was no window. The fuselage fire extinguisher panels, painted red, were on the left nose and right fuselage aft of the bomb bay. The fuselage right image shows this panel under the stars and bars. Easy to add with a decal. Note the shape and location of the aft lower fuselage tunnel windows.

Don

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, Don! Can I borrow your magnifying glass? Well done!

Hoping you can clarify two points. Would you agree that the waist gun windows on both sides would look like that supplied in the Hasegawa kit as shown in your last posted photo? Also, can you explain what you mean by, "the post type wing tank vents on the upper surface of the wing" as to location and shape? A photo would be ideal.

Many thanks for taking the time to point out the inaccuracies of the subject aircraft.

Edited by Brian J.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Would you agree that the waist gun windows on both sides would look like that supplied in the Hasegawa kit as shown in your last posted photo? Also, can you explain what you mean by, "the post type wing tank vents on the upper surface of the wing" as to location and shape? A photo would be ideal.

The Hasegawa kit provides the hatches for the open waist gun positions. I don't know if the waist gun installation was modified before or after the addition of the nose cartoon and name.

Here's the post type fuel vent, courtesy of Karl Hauffe:

Fuelcellventposttype_zps9c4c48fc.jpg

The image below shows the location of vents on the upper wing aft of teh inboard engines:

01_120_cc_zpse615dbe6.jpg

Don

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm gonna beat this horse 'til it's black and blue! Going through my B-24 references, (again) I came upon two profiles of 'Kentucky Belle' that got me to wondering about the photo that Don included in his first response on December 8th. A very nice colour profile can be found on page 180 of 'Liberator Album' by M. Bailey and T. North. The other one can be found on page 75 of Koku Fan FAOTW No. 54, Nov 1995. They both are illustrated with the waist gun windows as shown in the photo showing the starboard side of J4-L, provided by Don in his December 10 response. It makes me wonder what reference did these two artists use? What are they basing their drawings on?

I am inclined to use the Hasegawa kit windows as they are clear in the inflight photo showing the port side. Can anyone offer any sight? Don...can you hear me?

Edited by Brian J.
Link to post
Share on other sites

The image on the upper starboard wing is a black circle with a white letter H inside which denotes the 446th BG known as the 'Bungay Buckeroos' as they operated out of Bungay, Suffolk.

Link to post
Share on other sites

....A very nice colour profile can be found on page 180 of 'Liberator Album' by M. Bailey and T. North. The other one can be found on page 75 of Koku Fan FAOTW No. 54, Nov 1995. They both are illustrated with the waist gun windows as shown in the photo showing the starboard side of J4-L, provided by Don in his December 10 response. It makes me wonder what reference did these two artists use? What are they basing their drawings on?...

A photograph of an aircraft represents the configuration and markings of that aircraft at that moment in time. Any ETO B-24, if it survived long enough, could have been subject to modifications of markings, and internal and external configuration. Kentucky Belle appears to have been modified during her service life. Here's a close-up of the bay window modification on another B-24J. This appears to be the version without the K-6 gun mount. However, the image does reveal the method used to install the bay window. You have the images showing different waist window configurations. You decide.

b24j60consolidatedmessbaywindow_zps7559fbe6.jpg

Don

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 years later...

I think I have all my ducks in a row to finally start that Hasegawa B-24J, and I'm thinkiing of using clear sheet styrene to create those 'bay waist windows.  So hopefully I only have one more question.  If a B-24 had the three pane 'bay window' in the waist area would the guns be staggered?  I mean if the starboard gun was in the front 'pane' would the port gun be in the rear 'panel'?

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep referring back to my references hoping a definitive answer to my latest question will pop up.  No luck yet on the three pane 'bay window' as found on a late photo of Kentucky Belle.  I did find a comment that I'd like to share with those who may be interested.  It can be found on page 54 of the B-24 Liberator in Detail by Bert Kinzey where he discusses staggered waist gun positions.  "It should be noted that the gun windows were not staggered as they were on later B-17Gs.  On Liberators, it was the guns and their mounts that were staggered rather than the windows themselves.  The left waist gun was mounted at the lower aft corner of the window, and the right waist gun was mounted at lower front window."  I may be wrong but I interpret this to mean the full window as seen in the colour photo that Don included in his above comments.  The one with the red tail.  I guess then that there was a good chance that the guns would be mounted the same way when the three pane 'bay window' was installed.  

 

Sure would enjoy hearing opinions on the subject.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

Thanks for asking  but no, nothing definitive.  I've kind of put the whole thing on a back burner (along with about 15 or 16 others) waiting for a definite response.  I really should get back to it as it is a very nice kit.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...